Updated on Wednesday, April 19: Ridgewood residents were upset and intimidated by comments on social media yesterday following publication of a story on Uckfield News about a rise of anti-social behaviour in the village, Uckfield town councillors were told last night.
Mr Peter Selby told members of the council’s environment and leisure committee that he understood a report of a meeting between residents and councillors was being taken off the agenda because of “abuse passed through one of, as I term, the anti-social media sites”.
He continued: “Certain numbers of residents are very upset and have been quite intimidated by this and it has got to stop.
“I am used to this type of thing so I can take it but it is not very good and it is not something, I am sure, that Uckfield Town Council would want for some of the residents who have lived in Uckfield for many years.
“We are not NIMBYs, we have not opposed the play area, we were very much in favour of it.”
He added residents had made comments about certain items and there were discussions taking place between councillors and residents and the report was “prejudicial” when residents had not seen a reply.
When the item, with report, came up for discussion on the agenda committee chairman Cllr Mick Dean confirmed the council was investigating “a form of camera” at Ridgewood. He added the council would continue to monitor any emails that came in.
“All I can says is, if anybody sees anything suspicious here, anything out of the ordinary, then contact the police.”
Anti-social behaviour rises in Ridgewood
From our original story on Tuesday, April 18: Uckfield Town Council is investigating the possibility of installing CCTV in the Ridgewood Village Hall area to discourage anti-social behaviour.
New Road residents, who say noise levels and anti-social behaviour have increased since new play equipment was installed on the recreation ground met with members of Uckfield Town Council at the end of March to discuss their concerns.
A report on the meeting is due to go before members of the council’s environment and leisure committee tonight.
Residents said a wooden shelter, with roof, was being used by youths, often for anti-social purposes; youths were playing football inside the play area and the incidence of drug-dealing, particularly in the car park, had seemed to increase.
Calls had been made to 999 and Operation Crackdown at times of anti-social behaviour but there had been no police intervention and resident had lost faith with this way of dealing with the issue.
Residents who met with councillors said it seemed drainage in the area had been compromised with the re-positioning of the play area and there was a feeling of “great unease” in respect of the zip wire when its installation is completed because of fears of an increase in noise levels from users.
They also said whirligig equipment was not suited to the site. It caused an increase in screaming from children and adults alike.
Town councillors, Keith Everett, Spike Mayhew, and Ian Smith, suggested installation of ‘please respect local residents’ signage around the play area and turning off street lighting in the vicinity at, say 11pm, to discourage use of the shelter building by youths at anti-social hours.
They also suggested the possibility of the zip wire operation being disabled during hours of darkness.
The councillors say in their report: “Anti-social behaviour is a modern-day curse that society has to deal with. However, the town council is investigating the possibility of installing CCTV in the Ridgewood Village Hall area in an attempt to discourage this type of behaviour at the location.”
Residents re-stated their main aims which were for the zip wire to be moved to another location, possibly alongside the Multi-Use Games Area; and the removal of the covered shelter alongside the children’s play area.