New anti-social behaviour probe launched at park

Michael Moulding
Michael Moulding
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A RESIDENTS’ group campaigning for action to tackle anti-social behaviour centred on a Wigan park has been told a policing review is under way.

Members of the Ashton Residents’ Association (ARA) have been dismayed at a recent outbreak of raucous behaviour including reports of schoolchildren engaging in lewd acts at Jubilee Park.

Chairman Michael Moulding has started a petition for a rethink on “policing strategy” and has received confirmation from the neighbourhood policing team that a “review of issues in Ashton” is taking place.

Mr Moulding said: “The people of Ashton say enough is enough, we want our community back. It comes to something when Wigan Council has to spend £80,000 to install CCTV to monitor a public park because it is never policed.

“Large area’s of the town is ungoverned and the victims are local residents and businesses who are having to live and trade on a daily basis with the detrimental effects of anti-social behaviour perpetrated by gangs of youths roaming the town at free will.

“Local residents are sending you a loud and clear message that this situation is totally unacceptable.

The ARA had earlier this month called for the CCTV cameras to be installed as a matter of urgency because of gangs causing trouble in the park. The council has said the equipment is scheduled to be up later in the summer.

Jubilee Park has been the site of numerous outbreaks of violent behaviour in recent years, prompting the establishment of the ARA to voice the concerns of nearby householders.

The group’s petition has reached almost 250 signatures.

A public meeting was called last year to address concerns about ASB at the park but residents hit out at it being organised at short notice.

Coun Don Hodgkinson, Bryn ward representative, said residents had been treated “with contempt” by Greater Manchester Police for sending two PCSOs to the meet.

Coun Hodgkinson is now chair of the Friends of Jubilee Park group and told the Evening Post the problems with ASB should not define the park.

He said: “There a lot of positive things happening at the park with classes and events on throughout the summer. Yes, there have been some problems, but they have been made out to be a lot worse, there’s not ASB there all the time.”

Michael Moulding is standing in the local elections in Ashton ward. The full list of candidates is Jenny Bullen (Labour), Alan Freeman (UKIP), Peter Merry (Independent), Michael Moulding (Community Action Party), Marie Winstanley (Conservative).