Christmas campaign to address antisocial behaviour in the town
by William Mata | 20th November 2018
KENT Police and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC] are joining forces to stop antisocial behaviour in the run-up to Christmas.
Calverley Grounds is to be a key area of focus for the operation, which will seek to deter drink and drug related issues that have been described by one councillor as ‘chronic’.
Park ward’s ‘lack of policing’ was flagged by a resident who wrote to councillors saying the situation has spiralled from ‘bad to worse’.
“We now find ourselves in a position where walking our family dog in the park involves dodging alcoholics and people abusing drugs,” said Hayden Hughes, 43, who lives nearby.
He identified four problem spots for antisocial behaviour as: The trees on the mound behind Mountfield Gardens, the trees behind the new play park, the mound and bench above the bowling green and the benches by the tennis courts.
He added: “I am hopeful that something serious and meaningful can be done to resolve the issue before a dog or child is hurt.”
Cllr Tracy Moore told the Times yesterday [Tuesday] she had raised the issue with the council’s Community Safety Partnership – which sees the police and council look into measures that affect quality of life. A recent example is introducing the Public Space Protection Orders.
The Cabinet Member for Economic Development said this would involve increased patrols and greater liaison with PCSOs [community support officers].
Cllr Moore, who represents Park ward, said the council’s Safe Town Partnership – where they join together with emergency services – will be running a Christmas operation in December to deter shoplifting and antisocial behaviour.
“There have been ongoing problems with drink and drugs for years behind the public toilet block in Calverley Grounds,” she said.
“I have even been told this area is referred to as ‘Stoner Hill’, and apparently has been for years.
“In addition one of our partners, the Kenward Trust, who work with us to address youth antisocial behaviour, will also be asked to patrol and monitor Stoner Hill when they are in the area.”
The Conservative has been leading the campaign for the £90million Calverley Square civic complex and theatre to be built on land next to the Grounds.
She said the controversial project ‘will help address the chronic antisocial behaviour problem by creating a publically accessible roof terrace and paths leading to it’.
“Having more day and evening pro-social activity will help too, with office workers and people attending the theatre,” she added.
In response Mr Hughes said: “I am hopeful that this doesn’t become a political issue relating to the Calverley Square, although the action taken is greatly appreciated.”
Park ward councillor Nick Pope has also been taking forward the issue.
Kent Police has also been approached for comment.