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Prebend Gardens set for major revamp

Published on Thursday, April 19, 2018

A POCKET park in Leicester is to be revamped in a bid to tackle concerns about increasing incidents of serious anti-social behaviour.

Prebend Gardens, in the Stoneygate ward (Highfields), could see over £90,000 invested in a range of measures to improve natural surveillance, deter street drinking and encourage more use of the small (0.2hectare) community park by local residents.

Leicester City Council is working with the local policing unit on the project and work will be carried out in two stages.

Initially, trees and shrubbery will be thinned out or removed to improve sightlines into and around the park, benches will be temporarily taken away to deter street drinking and other anti-social behaviour and more CCTV cameras will be installed. This initial work will be funded by the city council and is likely to cost around £15,000.

In the coming weeks, a community workshop will be held and local residents will be asked what they would like to see in the longer term development of Prebend Gardens. This will be led by Cllr Kirk Master, assistant city mayor for neighbourhood services and local ward councillor.

Cllr Master said: “Prebend Gardens has been plagued by persistent anti-social behaviour and has become an area that local residents no longer feel safe to use.

“We want to turn that around and create an area that is welcoming for the people and families that live in the area. We are working closely with the police to tackle the problems around anti-social behaviour, but in the longer term we want to see Prebend Gardens transformed into something that the local community can be really proud of.

“That’s why it is so important that local residents have the chance to put forward their ideas for improvements at the forthcoming community workshop event.”

Cllr Adam Clarke, deputy city mayor and lead on environment and public health, said: “This scheme will make Prebend Gardens a more pleasant space, and will also ensure the area is safer and more accessible to residents. Leicestershire police have confirmed this.

“In the past, with all good intention, public spaces were designed in such a way that after years of tree and shrubbery growth, and despite effective management, law-biding residents can feel unsafe using them.

“In this specific case it has even led to cctv camera views being blocked and made antisocial behaviour and crime more likely. At this point it’s obviously right that the council intervenes.”

Over the last year, there have been 52 police incidents linked to the park. These range from alcohol and drug related incidents, fighting, intimidating behaviour, and people causing a nuisance and refusing to leave the park late at night.

Earlier this year, a body was discovered in the park. The death was found to be drug and alcohol related.

The area is regularly patrolled by the police and city council wardens.

Sgt Jamie Reeve of the Stoneygate Local Policing Unit said: “Local officers have been continually working with partner agencies, including the city council, to tackle reports of anti-social behaviour in the Prebend Gardens area which has been a concern for residents.

“We fully welcome this investment which supports our work to reduce crime in the area and look forward to seeing the project develop and the positive results we hope it will bring.”

Details of the forthcoming community workshop to plan for the future of Prebend Gardens will be posted to local residents later this month.