‘Youths need more than just a few swings’

Graffiti being cleared from the Poplar Road area in Great Cornard ANL-150519-105016001
Graffiti being cleared from the Poplar Road area in Great Cornard ANL-150519-105016001
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Police and council staff are working to put an end to anti social behaviour by youths near a shopping precinct in Great Cornard.

In March the Free Press reported on police efforts to combat anti-social behaviour outside the Applegate Centre in the village.

One business owner said the problems were causing his Chinese restaurant, The First Garden Chinese, to lose profits.

Pcso Andrea Campbell said much of the Sudbury and Great Cornard Safer Neighbourhood Team’s resources had been spent on sorting the issues in the Poplar Road area of the village.

She told members of Sudbury Town Council at the annual meeting that every call to the area had been responded to and regular patrols had been carried out, including using undercover officers.

Improvements have been made to the Raydon Way recreation area which teenagers had claimed they were avoiding because of safety fears.

Pcso Campbell said the problems had been reduced in recent weeks.

Sudbury town councillor Luke Cresswell said more needed to be provided for the young people of the area.

“We need local youth provisions, good transport links and a cinema to ensure our young people are neither forgotten nor ignored,” he said.

“The concern by residents of anti-social behaviour amongst young people is a concern that needs addressing properly, not merely a few flowery words to give off the impression of action.

“Police must not simply move young people on but deal with the root issues that create many problems.

“There seems to be this belief amongst the police and many councillors that you’re either a child or an adult but we need to understand teens are neither.

“Young people do not want swings and slides but are not yet ready for adulthood and we need to accept there has to be something for this frustrated and bored age group. A youth club would help give young people a sense of identity.”

On Tuesday Babergh communities team officers and The Landscape Group worked in partnership with Flagship Housing Association staff, the Safer Neighbourhood Team for Cornard, Great Cornard Parish Council, Suffolk County Council and Sudbury Town Council to clean up the Poplar Road area.

Alongside residents and shop owners the area was cleared while the problematic underpass was renovated.

Councillor Jennie Jenkins, leader of Babergh’s Conservative Party, said: “We know that people’s perception of crime is often more heightened than in reality.

“These small hotspots of crime and anti-social behaviour detract from residents’ sense of wellbeing. We hope by clearing the area more people will be encouraged to use it and any low-level anti-social behaviour that is happening can be brought to a stop.”