Clampdown on anti-social behaviour and vandalism in Thornbury
A QUIET Thornbury path has grown into a hotbed of anti-social behaviour forcing town chiefs to take urgent action to clamp down on vandalism and protect distressed townspeople.
Since April, an increasing number of teenagers have been congregating on Streamside Walk, between Gloucester Road and Park Road, smoking cannabis, daubing the fences of nearby homes with graffiti, littering and keeping residents awake, shouting and swearing late at night.
At a loss to deal with this out-of-control situation, the close neighbourhood sought the help of their councillors through their local Safer Stronger Community Group in May.
Town councillors teamed up with police and the local authority and have now applied for a £1,100 grant from the district's Safer Stronger Community Groups (SSCG) fund to fence off part of the path and remove a paved area at the back of Severn Drive favoured by the troublemakers.
District Cllr for Thornbury North Clare Fardell, who has been liaising with residents, said the situation had been "awful" and stressful for those affected.
"It has been going on for some time but it only came to light recently," she told the Gazette. "People told me this was an awful problem. Someone's garden fence was always getting vandalised. When councillors went there it was an awful mess and you could see that a large number of people had been sitting there."
She added: "There is funding available from the Safer Strong Community Partnership to cut down on anti-social behaviour so the town council applied for some money. If we are succcesful, South Gloucestershire Council has agreed to do the work and hopefully young people won't be able to get there anymore."
In the meantime action has already been taken to force the offenders out of the area.
Police said a bench on the walk near St David Road had been removed after discussion with the council to stop groups gathering around it. It will be replaced further away and in a more visible stretch along the path.
Neighbourhood PC Natalie Draper said: "We have patrolled regularly and told young people it’s not an appropriate place for them to meet.
"One young man has been given a police warning after being caught with a small amount of cannabis. We are still monitoring the situation.
"Possibly it is the same group visiting different sections of the path."
The steps leading down to Streamside Walk however remain a problem, as groups continue to use them as a meeting place, smoking and causing a nuisance to nearby residents.
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said: "We received an application for funding from the SSCG initiative fund. Applications for funding closed on September 16 and we are currently analysing all the bids put forward.
"If the group is successful, we have agreed to carry out the work."
None of the residents living nearby wished to comment.
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