Drug dealing, tyres screeching, music blaring out – these are some of the problems experienced late at night, and in the early hours of the morning, by people living near Ridgewood Village Hall car park.
One resident who attended a town council meeting last night, in the hope that something would be done to help them, said afterwards that the problem had been going on for two to three years.
Mandy Elliott told Uckfield News: “It doesn’t sound as if anything is going to change.”
She said: “We know drugs are being sold and we have even given car numbers to the police but nothing has been done.
“There are wheels spinning in the car park, music blaring out and if we try to do something about it, all we get is abuse.
“The noise is so bad we have had to move from a bedroom at the front of the house to the back.”
Residents said there were also problems with youths gathering noisily and smoking drugs in a shelter on the recreation ground and shouting out as they use play equipment, into the early hours of the morning.
The matter was raised last night following a meeting between New Road residents police and town and district councillors.
The town council considered three things:
- Moving, or removing the shelter
- Installing CCTV
- Putting a gate at the entrance to the car park.
Another suggestion from Cllr James Edwards (Liberal Democrat, Ridgewood Ward) was for a “Mosquito alarm” which could be timed to set off a high pitched sound intolerable to people sitting in the hut – not people nearby – during specified hours.
He was the only person who voted for that idea.
Cllr Ben Cox (Labour and Co-operative) raised concern about the effect of the sound on animals, and possible vandalism of the device.
He also said people experiencing anti-social behaviour in other parts of town would want the alarms too. He asked: “What makes Ridgewood special compared to other areas?”
Cllr Duncan Bennett (Trust Independent, New Town) was concerned about the use of a Mosquito alarm discriminating against many – kids behaving themselves – because of a few.
He wanted to see police statistics showing the extent of problems in Ridgewood and agreed with Cllr Cox that many areas of town were deserving of a “duty of care” from the council.
Cllr Bennett asked: “Where do you draw the line?” He added this could turn out to be a very expensive exercise.
There was no proposal to move the shelter. Councillors argued it was valuable for use by parents and grandparents during the day.
Cllr Cox said it should be left there. “I know that’s not popular, especially on the part of residents, but it actually does serve a massive purpose.”
Cllr Karen Bedwell, (no party given, Ridgewood) who declared an interest in the discussion as chair of the village hall committee, was allowed to give her views but not vote. She said “only” 45 incidents of anti-social behaviour were reported in Ridgewood in the past year.
She said police needed to be told about every incident so they knew how serious a problem it was.
Councillors voted to produce leaflets to inform people of the different ways they could report anti-social behaviour to the police so that appropriate action could be taken.
They then discussed the provision of CCTV cameras and installing a gate at the entrance to the village hall car park and asked for a further investigation into the costs of both.
There’s more information about the costs gathered so far in an Uckfield News story carried before the meeting: Residents appeal for action to curb anti-social behaviour at Ridgewood.