Earlswood ASB and Traffic Issues Working Party

Published: 22 July 2021

We did not submit a report last month as there was no PC meeting.

The format of this report is different to those presented in previous months, for reasons that will become clear.

Report: By comparison to this time last summer, things are still relatively quiet around the Lakes. Parish Councillor Burgess and I visited SDC’s CCTV Camera Control Centre and spent an informative afternoon being shown the operation by Sam Slemensek and Stuart Danskin, which helps us understand how the system works and how reactions to incidents are diagnosed and resources allocated. It was very beneficial and we thank all SDC staff involved for their time and effort. The PC and WP has been informed by Police Sgt Dave Ebbs that the police have instigated the setting up of a new group – Earlswood Community Impact Assessment Group (ECIA). The new Group consists of members from: • The Office of the Warks Police and Crime commissioner; • Warwickshire County Council (Highways); • Canal and River Trust; • Stratford-on-Avon District Council Community Safety Partnership; • County Councillor John Horner; • District Councillor, Tony Dixon; • Warwickshire Police. We were unhappy that this was done without any consultation with either the PC or the WP, on the basis that we had been working on this project for 15 months by this time and could possibly help or give guidance. We had an online meeting with Dave Ebbs to discuss this. We explained our disappointment and concerns that Dave Ebbs and his Inspector, Ben Hembry, didn’t appear to have a clear understanding of the larger picture. We then sent Dave Ebbs all the periodic WP updates and issues matrix that we had created to give him a better appreciation of the issues. Subsequent to that online meeting, Parish Clerk, Julie White, and I had an in-person meeting with Inspector Ben Embry and Sgt Dave Ebbs and we discussed all the relevant issues. We handed over files of our work to date to each police officer to assist them with this project. We also explained that there was a meeting of a group, about a year ago, of the same organisations and nothing meaningful appeared to have come out of that, which caused us consternation. We further explained that, as Earlswood covered two districts, we had co-opted the Chair of Tidbury Green PC, Mark Reohorn, onto the WP and this was very helpful in ascertaining their issues and also in forming a line of communication with Solihull MBC. Ben Embry said that his police were already talking to SMBC re these issues, which is helpful. Ben Embry explained that his view is that, having instigated the setting up of this Group, the ECIA Gp can then take ownership of these issues. He believes that the police can persuade the other pertinent organisations to dedicate more resources to resolving these issues than either the WP or the PC can. We remain to be convinced but we do know that some of the bodies that are now signed up to the ECIA Gp are of the opinion that, due to the reduction in ASB, drugs and traffic issues around the Lakes, primarily as a consequence of the closures of roads and footpaths caused by the CRT Major Works Project, they are actually dedicating more effort into sorting Earlswood’s issues out than the problem currently demands of them and they have made this clear. If this level of support continues to be the case, we will gladly support them too. The ECIA Gp met (online) on the 14th July 2021 and both the PC and the E&FHRA were invited to attend as “guests”. Both this meeting and the previous one were held under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs – along the lines of Chatham House Rules), so we can’t talk too much about what was said. However, it now looks very much as though the WP has little to contribute to the new Group going forward as it will be making its own decisions. That being the case, I believe that WP and PC needs now to consider changing tack and becoming an overseer/invigilator with regard to giving detailed scrutiny to the actions that the ECIA Gp is proposing to take going forward as we still possess a lot of extant background research information. Councillors will now be aware of CRT’s published Lakes Major Works update for July 2021. There is an article in it about the formation of the ECIA Gp: “Earlswood Community Impact Assessment Group A new multi-agency partnership has been formed to look at solutions for key public concerns in Earlswood. Public agencies, including Warwickshire Police and local councils, as well as the Canal & River Trust and community representatives, will meet monthly to develop a range of options for tackling anti-social behaviour in the area. These options will be presented to the local residents and businesses of Earlswood for consultation before being taken forward. The first public meeting, which will be advertised locally, is planned to take place in early August.” We await future developments with interest and, hopefully, full support.

Ewen Cunningham Chair, Earlswood ASB and Traffic Issues Working Party 21 July 2021