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More police and community spaces high priorities for new East ward councillor

Well-used community spaces help push back rogue elements, the newly-elected councillor for Peterborough’s East ward Jackie Allen has said.
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Looking down on Central Park (Photo: archive.terry-harris.com)

Peterborough Matters caught up with Cllr Allen at Central Park. In part one of the interview, she highlighted what she said were some of the issues which needed tackling in the ward, including flytipping and parking. 

She also touched upon concerns such as anti-social behaviour, including drug dealing, that are prominent in parts of the ward and even Central Park. 

But she said well-used community spaces could be a way of tackling the problem. 

Cllr Allen, 56, said: “The park is entirely not in my ward. It’s on the side of it. Before this park café changed hands, it traded only during limited hours. But now since the new owners have started to keep it open for longer hours, it’s making the space more pleasant to the people.  

“If a community space is used, [the] rogue element of society is pushed back.  

“I have a four-year-old dog and when I first started walking with him in the park when he was a puppy, there was very visual evidence of people sleeping in the park in night and other elements of society you didn’t want to witness. It still exists but it’s not as prominent.  

“But in other part of East ward it's very prominent. Open drug dealing and drug taking is a real issue. I have had the police and crime commissioner down to have a look and see what can be done. You have cars pull up and you know what's happening.  

“And it could be because it has been pushed from this area. So they are finding somewhere else to go.  

“Therefore, community spaces have to be well used. They need to be well lit. If CCTV is required, if that’s an element that makes people feel safer, let’s do it. There are some really nice family homes and streets in the ward but they are witnessing drug dealing.  

“The promise has been more police on the beat in the area. But I can’t stress, it needs to be policed with the right power. 

“For example, the Covid marshals who walk around in the area. I don't know how if it really helps. If you don’t wear a badge that doesn't give you powers, I don't know if it’s useful - I am not sure how it works without a badge of authority. 

“Engagement in my view is also something they should always start with. Community centres should be well used. That's another issue that Covid has brought. The centres have had to shut.  

“The Burton Street Mosque is a great example - they have a pre-school community centre. I have spoken to couple of guys there who have great initiatives.  They bought an old building to turn into a sports hall. They recognise the youth needs to be engaged.  So where we have community engagement, if we can use them to benefit the area, let’s do it. 

“There’s a gentleman who is looking to resume the car boot sale in Wellington Street who speaks about six or seven languages, I am hoping to have a stall to speak to people, where we can educate people about litter management, flytipping, or do things that we can show younger people. If they are around there at the car boot, we hand out leaflets, use that time to engage with them in a positive conversation. Educate them to take pride in their area. 

“I think local businesses need to take some ownership as well. Around Eastfield Road- we are doing litter picks management and regular litter picks.  

“But we need to get engagement from businesses. Do they need bins? Is there anything else we can support them with? When they close at night, can we have an hour just to see what we can do to clean up? Just take pride in your space. If you do, others will do as well. 

“I do think some businesses are waking up to it. An older ward will have deterioration, but you need to have a plan to bring it back on track.  

“I also have to say, actions speak louder than words. You can't be a councillor for a ward like Eastfield and not be visible. Inner-city wards have not got that luxury to not be visible”.

 

jackieNewly-elected Conservative Cllr Jackie Allen shares her plans on how she hopes to tackle some of the concerns in East Ward, Peterborough . By Jackie Allen