Police concern over car park plan

PUBLISHED: 12:21 27 September 2013

Grove Park tennis courts.

Grove Park tennis courts.

Archant

TURNING tennis courts in Grove Park into a car park would add to 'significant' problems concerning antisocial behaviour in an area where alcohol and drugs are rife, according to police.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has concerns that car park users will not feel safe if North Somerset Council goes ahead with its plans to convert the dilapidated courts.

The authority has wanted to turn the tennis courts into a car park for nearly two years but has been met by opposition.

Katy Waterman, crime prevention design advisor for the police in North Somerset, has misgivings about safety around Grove Park.

She said: “Grove Park is an area which has a significant demand for police resources.

“Antisocial behaviour is a problem for visitors to the area and residents nearby with alcohol and drug-related problems, nuisance caused by groups gathering and suspicious activity all occurring in the park and surrounding areas.

“Increasing the number of vehicles in this area will increase the footfall in the area but also increase the opportunity for crime to occur. Valuable items are often left in vehicles and are a target of criminals.”

Ms Waterman queried whether the car park will be locked at night and if lighting will be sufficient for people to feel safe.

A petition against the council’s plans has attracted 265 signatures so far, with many unhappy at losing one of Weston’s few recreational sites when a neighbouring car park is rarely full.

A decision whether to grant planning permission will be made by councillors in the coming months although no date for the south area committee meeting has been announced.

Even if councillors back the plans, there is no guarantee that the change will happen.

A historic covenant means the Diocese of Bath and Wells must agree to any change of use and a spokesman told the Mercury last week it has not yet given the council the green light.

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