Saturday 24 September 2022

Rising Anti-Social Behaviour, Noise and Crime in our Area

Map of MEOTRA area highlighting areas experiencing ASB

This year has seen quite a rise in Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) and noise pollution within the MEOTRA area. We all need to do our bit to help reduce it. It is important to report incidents and make a note of any reference number (e.g. Crime Number).

Police and council resources are often allocated based on the number of reports made (so-called "trigger levels"). So if you see an issue that concerns you report it, don't assume someone else has.

This article is in two parts. This first part outlines some of the current problems.  In Part Two (tomorrow) we will detail how to report your concerns.

The Art Pavilion, Clinton Road

Photo of late-night car traffic in Clinton Road as a late Art Pavilion event finishes (after 1am)
1.10am Monday

The above video was taken at after 1am on Monday morning.

This venue has been used for weddings and other hire events for years now without any significant problems. However, of late attendees seem to have taken to arriving by car in large numbers. Events run until midnight with a 1AM lights off (even on a Sunday/Monday morning!). The noise from cars arriving and leaving late at night with accompanying hooting of car horns is unacceptable in a residential area.

Actions Taken:  Councillors and MEOTRA have met with the event management staff. Extra staff are going to be put on duty, in particular to manage parking, and greater due diligence exercised when booking groups. MEOTRA want to get the venue closed earlier of a Sunday night.

The Heritage and Art Centre (the HAC) & Epainos Church

Since March of this year MEOTRA have been receiving regular complaints about the use of this site. The parking of cars, vans and hearses on graves has concerned residents and indeed the gravestones and monuments do seem to have been damaged as a result. The historic walled steps on the south-west corner look to have been destroyed by a vehicle.

Vehicles parked on graves in the Epainos churchyard
Vehicles parked on graves

A covered hearst parked for days on a grave

[Vehicle] Damaged historic steps to Epainos Church
Vehicle Damage

The Old Holy Trinity Church is now being marketed as "The HAC" and is rented out as an event space. Whilst many residents have greatly enjoyed events such as "Light the HAC" and CJ Hendry's debut London show Epilogue, it is the late night bookings that have angered residents, with three in quick succession (6th August, 3rd September, 17th September). The HAC can be hired until midnight with lights out at 1AM; whilst the church hall on Lichfield Road is open until 11PM with lights off at midnight.

MEOTRA thinks these closing times are FAR TOO LATE. The Lichfield Road hall is seemingly quite well soundproofed and is helped by having a twin double-doors exit a long way from the street. Even so the noise of patrons coming and going with taxis and residents "finishing up" on the street is excessive. The situation at the HAC is even worse as it has large stain glass windows and a single set of doors that, when open for smokers etc, let the music blast out on to the streets like a giant out-of-tune trumpet. The sparse interior, whilst incredibly atmospheric, does not have any furnishings to absorb the sound.

Actions Taken: MEOTRA, key residents affected by the noise, and local councillors  met with the church minister and staff on Thursday 22nd September to report our concerns. Let's see if things improve.

Tredegar Square

For many, may years the Square was locked from dusk until dawn. During COVID this stopped and the council don't seem to want to start locking it up again. As a result the Square has become "a destination" for those wanting to drink, smoke dope and partake in the "Hippy Crack" phenomena. "Hippy Crack" is the street name for nitrous oxide/laughing gas and comes in those silver cannisters you see littering our streets (together with balloons which are the means of inhalation). See here to read more about the use of hippy crack  (aka nitrous oxide/laughing gas) as a recreational drug. 

This may sound pretty petty to moan about, but it isn't. Associated with this we now have cars pulling up and drug dealing at the garden gates, the place looks like a bombsite in the morning and residents are regularly being verbally abused, often with threatening sexual language. Police often have to visit 2-3 times a week.

Actions Taken: Our councillors inboxes have received emails about this for several months and one offer from the council is that residents take to locking up the site! MEOTRA are not in favour of this as it would be very problematic (residents have no liability cover or authority; it would lead to a "private square" mentality which isn't what we want). MEOTRA wants the council to start locking the gates again so residents can get some sleep. Let's free the police up to deal with more serious issues. We are also looking at designing out some of these issues.

Speeding Cars - Lichfield Road and Morgan Street

Some vehicles do, quite literally, use our area as a racetrack. This is a growing problem, though not exclusively limited to just Morgan St and Lichfield Road.

We have seen them race the College Terrace-Lichfield Road-Alloway Road-Morgan St loop against the clock. 

Actions Taken: Our hope was that the CCTV on Antill Road, and the previously scheduled one to be installed on Coborn Road, would have captured the number plates of the perpetrators. But this has now (seemingly?) been cancelled. MEOTRA will meet with our councillors and the local police to discuss what can be done. We've even been looking at putting in our own cameras that flash up with the cars number and speed  though we would need permission and they cost lots even to hire.

Photo of fly tipped goods at the end of Clinton Road

Clinton Road

Vehicles regularly drive alone to the cul de sac end of Clinton and dump their bulky waste. Cars also park up late at night and do the "hippy crack" nitrogen dioxide/balloon thing for hours at a time and leave the road littered with shell-like casings on an urban battlefield.

Actions Taken: MEOTRA have been speaking to the park team, who did put a camera up, but it seems to have been removed. The best thing is for residents to report using 101 and/or the LYN app.

Photo of large eurobins from Onyx House left habitually on the Aberavon Road pavement
2 x1280L commercial recycling + an 1100L refuse

Onyx House

We are now on our second generation of councillors dealing with this. Nathalie has been handed the baton by Val Whitehead.

All we want is for someone to put the bloody bins back.

The large refuse and recycling bins have homes within the garden area at the front of Onyx House. The development had specially constructed corals, an expensive drop kerb and a newly installed railing gate put in when the site was redeveloped by the council. But the bins never seem to make it home - they are just about always out on the pavement or the road. No big issue you might think? Well they are now used as urinals, are difficult for disability scooters to get 'round, have become seen as a valid place to fly tip black (fox-friendly) refuse and are becoming a home for rats.

Actions Taken: Councillors, Meotra and residents of Eaton Terrace have sent dozens and dozens of emails to the council. We will not give up and will keep hammering on the council doors until it is resolved. 

The above are just some of the issues on our streets that seem to be wearing residents down, but shouldn't be rocket science to resolve. The next article will go through how we can all help to resolve these and similar issues.

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