Town council approves CCTV and skate park lighting for Keynsham Memorial Park

December 23 2018
Town council approves CCTV and skate park lighting for Keynsham Memorial Park

Measures aimed at tackling vandalism and antisocial behaviour in Keynsham Memorial Park have been given the green light.

Keynsham Town Council has agreed to fund CCTV that will cover the upper area of the park, around the café, tennis courts and the lane leading from the High Street.

Meanwhile, funding has also been agreed for lighting at the skate park after a long-running campaign by young residents, with the town council awaiting the final sign-off for the scheme from Bath and North East Somerset Council, which owns the land.

Last month Keynshamvoice reported on concerns among residents living on the edges of the park that vandalism and antisocial behaviour were escalating and their call for CCTV to be installed.

Members of Keynsham Bowling Club, which is based in the park, said in a letter to the town council they shared residents’ worries and would “strongly support” the installation of a camera, adding: “That area of the park is, we believe, rather unique as young people in the skateboard area and more mature members of our community (ourselves) enjoy their recreational activity alongside each other in a convivial manner. CCTV protection would help to enhance this cooperation.”

At their meeting in December, town councillors agreed to spend £14,500 from community infrastructure levy (CIL) funds – a charge paid by developers building new homes in the town – on a camera for the park and one for the Queens Road/Tintagel Close area.

Dr Cheryl Scott, the town clerk, said: “The town council’s youth service has been undertaking both outreach and detached work in areas of concern, including High Street, Memorial Park, Queens Road and in Tintagel Close. Although the power of the town council is limited in terms of dealing with this matter [antisocial behaviour], the town council has been working with the police, B&NES Council and community groups throughout the course of this year to explore ways of reducing the severity of the problem.

“The December town council meeting has provided a unique opportunity for the town council to take positive and cost-effective action within its limited powers to hopefully reduce antisocial behaviour by supporting other organisations and partners in addressing the problem.”

The cameras have been approved subject to B&NES Council’s agreement to include the cameras as part of their live monitoring system, which encompasses the rest of the town’s CCTV network.

The town clerk said the council was pleased to note CCTV was also being installed by B&NES near the bandstand, which has been the target of repeated attacks by vandals, who have burnt and slashed the structure’s roof.

In light of the new camera, at the same meeting in December, town councillors voted to spend £3,900 of insurance cash on repairing the bandstand’s roof, opting for the same material rather than reinforcing it with steel panels after the architect said it would affect its acoustics.

In another move aimed to make improvements for park users, councillors also approved a new design for skate park lighting and the cost of £4,677.

Youngsters who use the skate park began their campaign for lighting in 2012 but the proposal faced many obstacles over the years, including the lack of a power supply to the site and concerns raised over the impact of floodlighting on the park’s wildlife.

The scheme that has been given the green light by the town council is solar-powered, with three lower, four-metre light columns that will operate between dusk and 9pm and power down to 30 per cent between those hours if no movement is detected in the area.

Dr Scott added: “The town council has been mindful of the concerns expressed by some nearby residents that the installation of skate park lighting could potentially increase antisocial behaviour. It has also listened to Keynsham Now and other Keynsham young people, who assure the council and the residents that they would self-police their own activities.

“The town council feel that installing low-impact lighting at the skate park combined with both the assurances from the young people of Keynsham and the installation of CCTV to monitor the area will provide added benefits to concerned residents in reducing antisocial behaviour in the area.”

The lighting does not require planning permission but needs the go-ahead from B&NES Council as the landowner before work can start.