Longridge residents call for crackdown on youths' bad behaviour
Weary Longridge residents are calling for a crackdown on youth bad behaviour in the town's recently refurbished Towneley Gardens
They called a crisis meeting yesterday to highlight the ongoing problems there and on part of the neighbouring Old Station buildings.
They say the late night behaviour of a group of young people have spelt misery for the residents of nearby sheltered and residential housing throughout the summer.
Now the residents say they have named a covered area adjoining the station buildings “the drug den” and say the park is littered, music blares until the early hours, there is underage drinking and signs to stay off the bowling green are ignored.
Residents’ spokesman Eric Cookson said: “There has been antisocial behaviour for over a year. The kids are coming down in an evening. There are drugs, drinking, singing and dancing. The bluetooth speakers are on and there are bicycles all over the place.
“We can see 15-25 (young people) and 30 at weekends. It’s absolute bedlam."
He said residents believed the Town Council, owners of the nearby Station buildings, had some responsibility to sort out the problem as the young people often congregate under the building’s porched area.
They have also appealed to the park owners, Ribble Valley borough council, for help.
Last November some 60 signatures were collected for a protest letter sent to Longridge Town Council and Ribble Valley Council.
The letter asked for action on the problem and suggested CCTV cameras should be turned on. Towneley Gardens is located off the town’s Berry Lane main street.
Residents ask why youngsters do not use the nearby main park which is a short distance away.
Sgt David Simpson, of Ribble Valley’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are aware of issues in Longridge and are working with the community to address them.”
We have attended a number of meetings and are listening to the views of residents in the area to try and address their concerns.”
After Wednesday's meeting borough councillor Rupert Swarbrick said local community, health service and council representatives had attended the meeting: "The group recognised that the solutions didn't fall to any one particular party. There will be a partnership approach to a number of potential activities and the outcomes will hopefully produce the right results. We know it's not going to happen overnight."
An action list of suggestions had been drawn up and these will be assessed and the group will meet again soon.
Coun Swarbrick added: "If you do a lot of little things you can make a big difference."
• Ribble Valley Council said there were 140 reported incidents of anti-social behaviour in Longridge last year. In one incident a mounted police unit was mobilised following desperate pleas from residents and 12 youngsters were threatened with arrest. The council provided Â£4,500 in April to pay for weekly youth clubs for 13 - 16 year old and a weekly summer disco.
* Noone was available from the Town Council for comment as this article went to press.