To receive the results of the Council-owned Neighbourhood Parades Survey and note the comments made by respondents, and decide what action, if any, the Panel would like to take.
The responses received from the public are attached as appendix B.
The Panel heard that the Council-owned Neighbourhood Parades Survey (public section), which ran between 13 May and 11 June 2021, had received 364 completed responses in total.
The Chair considered each question in turn and summarised the responses received. Panel members raised the following points:
· The responses received regarding community safety (Q1, Q2) were deemed notable due to the high number of respondents answering that the parades felt unsafe in the evening, and that they would be unlikely to report crime or anti-social behaviour due to a belief that no action would be taken. Panel members encouraged residents to report crime, and noted that many of the reasons given for feeling unsafe were matters for the Police.
· The responses to Q3 suggested that the work carried out daily by the Neighbourhood Services team was improving the public’s view of the parades’ appearances. Panel members discussed the balance between improving the tidiness of the parades and the permanent streetscene.
· Concern about the Council’s authority to influence the make-up of trades on the parades. Panel members recognised the responses to Q4 and Q7, and it was agreed that a delicate balance needed to be sought to encourage a range of businesses in Crawley while not placing restrictions on potential shop tenants.
· Panel members noted that the parades had been valuable community assets over the past year (Q6).
Invited witnesses Karen Rham, Neighbourhood Services Manager, and Karl Garnham, Neighbourhood Patch Leader (West), were invited to speak on the item. The officers shared information from the Neighbourhood Services team (Patch Managers, Community Wardens, and the Community Safety team) in light of the Panel’s discussions regarding community safety at, and maintenance of, the parades. The officers identified the following issues at the parades:
- Street drinking and related litter
- Outdated infrastructure e.g. loose paving, old seating and bins, outdated shrub beds/tree grates
- Fly tipping at clothing donation banks and at the rear of the parades
- Cigarette butts and drug paraphernalia
- Queries over the extent of CCTV coverage
- Flats above shops look outdated
- Anti-social behaviour in the evenings and overnight.
The Panel noted that tackling these issues could improve public safety and encourage trade for the parade shops, but would involve significant costs. The Neighbourhood Services team were currently limited by staffing and resource pressures.
It was heard that Community Wardens were contracted to finish at 21:00 so were limited in tackling anti-social behaviour; out-of-hours enforcement could therefore be improved. The Panel agreed that, as the basis of a future recommendation, it could seek to influence the relevant authorities on the implementation of a zero tolerance policy on alcohol consumption at the parades.
Officers highlighted that a county-wide fly tipping campaign was imminent and it was hoped that this would provide successful results.
A suggestion was made that the CCTV provision at the parades be improved. It was agreed that the Panel could seek to influence a review of the CCTV coverage and assess any blind spots; this could form the basis of a future recommendation.
· That officers investigate the opening hours of the public toilets at the parades and report back to Panel members.
· That the Neighbourhood Services Manager provide the Panel with a scaled estimate of the additional resources required by the team, along with details of what these resources might achieve.
· That the Neighbourhood Services team provide the Panel with photographs of the issues they come across at the parades.