Potton Town Council declares war on anti-social behaviour with plans for public meeting

Wingfield Drive. Credit: Google
Wingfield Drive. Credit: Google

Potton Town Council has declared war on anti-social behaviour which is blighting the lives of residents.

Incidents include smashed car windows, the removal of number plates, rubbish , flytipping and noise nuisance – with the finger being pointed at travellers.

Complaints about problems in the Wingfield Drive and Common Road area were reported to the town council which called for a public meeting to be held on August 2 to tackle the issue.

However, the council is now considering moving the meeting to September in a bid to get senior council and police officers round the table with Alistair Burt, MP for North East Beds.

Beds Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway, Chief Superintendent David Boyle, and Central Beds Council leader James Jamieson were due to attend but could not make the August date.

Town clerk, Jonathan Whitehurst, said: “We have been having a bit of anti-social behaviour in the town, which was brought to our attention around the end of May and 
discussed at our last town council meeting. It’s just continuing.

“The residents in particular are not feeling as though they are getting answers from the other authorities, particularly due to GDPR and confidentiality.

“They want to know what’s going on. They keep raising concerns, but they never seem to find out what’s happening or what’s progressing with these issues.

“We are struggling, because do we put the meeting on hold or do we host it when some of the public will be on holiday?

“But waiting until September is another month’s time. It’s a Catch 22.

“We have the MP coming [if the meeting is held on August 2], as if we want him to come we have to say ‘this is when we’d like it, are you available?’, so that we fit it round him.

“PCC Kathryn Holloway’s office said it’s an ongoing operational policing matter and were going to send an officer on her behalf.”

Alistair Burt MP, said: “Earlier this summer constituents brought my attention to the traveller site in Potton, and alleged anti-social behaviour incidents.

“Also some reporting of unsafe situations regarding cars, and safeguarding issues.

“I have been liaising with the Town Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedfordshire Police to try and firstly ensure safety for everyone involved, and secondly to try and get to the bottom of the allegations being presented and work to find resolutions.”

Acting Chief Inspector, Nick Masters, said: “We take all reports of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity very seriously, and we are always keen to meet with our communities to talk about the work we are doing to address such issues.

“We are aware of issues in Wingfield Drive and we are working closely with our partners to tackle these problems. We attended a partnership meeting with Central Bedfordshire Council last week and we have also been talking with their traveller liaison officer.

“On top of this our PCSOs have also been carrying out additional patrols in the town.

“We are aware of the planned public meeting and we will be sending a police representative to answer any questions concerned residents may have.”

A spokesman for Mrs Holloway said: “The PCC does her utmost to attend public meetings but with some 132 parish councils and wards and additional town councils in Bedfordshire, she is clearly not able to attend every one.

CBC told the Chronicle that the council’s anti-social behaviour team had not received any enquiries or comments about the issues raised in Wingfield Drive and Common Road.

Responding to how the council deals with such behaviour and whether Cllr Jamieson could attend a September meeting, a CBC spokeswoman said: “We are always interested in helping to resolve this type of behaviour, and would be willing to send a senior representative to attend a public meeting to help find a resolution.”