Community issue difficult to resolve

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RESIDENTS living near Stowmarket recreation ground have said that antisocial behaviour and criminal activity has worsened their quality of life.

At a public meeting held at Stowmarket Middle School last Thursday, 76 per cent of residents said they had experienced problems including vandalism, criminal damage, noise, and littering.

Stowmarket Town Council organised the meeting following growing concerns and mounting complaints from residents living near the recreation ground.

Chairing the meeting, David Blackburn, Stowmarket town clerk, said: “It [the recreation ground] is obviously a great asset to the town. We have some excellent facilities there and it is well used, but with that comes a series of problems.”

One resident said he had been unable to sell his house because of ongoing problems with criminal damage and vandalism.

Another resident said: “As a neighbourhood I do love it but it becomes stressful in the evenings. Quality of life here has worsened.”

Many local people blamed the council for the siting of the new £200,000 facilities and said officials had failed to manage the site properly as it was regularly misused by teenagers. They also complained there were too few police officers in Stowmarket.

Results from a vote at the meeting showed enforcement as the most popular solution, with 32 per cent believing increased police patrols would help.

A high number also believed that education would help to improve the situation and 22 per cent said a community solution such as street watch could be the answer.

Mr Blackburn said: “This meeting was a starting point but we intend to take measures during the summer in line with the priorities identified by the local community.”