Anti-Social Behaviour plummets following successful resident campaign
An area regarded as “no-go” for fearful residents has been reclaimed with road calming measures.
A petition from the Make High Beach Safe Campaign calling for action to combat noise, traffic and intimidating behaviour in the area attracted more than 7,000 signatures.
Residents reported problems around Paul’s Nursery Road, Queen’s Green, Manor Road and Pillow Mounds, with drug taking and dealing, loud car horns late at night, handbrake turns, smashed bottles on the road, fireworks being set off, high-speed car races, loud music, intimidation of other road users and litter.
It is thought the issues have been a cause for concern to residents for at least 15 years.
In response to the campaign, night-time road closures have been put in place.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) contributed £9,910 to Epping Forest District Community Safety Partnership in the form of a crime and disorder reduction grant from the 2019-2020 Community Safety Development Fund to cover the cost of highway gates.
Now, the Epping Forest Environment Department City of London Corporation uses the gates to close Manor Road each evening – resulting in just two reports of antisocial behaviour since their installation in April 2021. By contrast, there were 38 reports between April 2020 and October 2020.
Resident Robin Hopes, who has campaigned for several years for the problem to be tackled, said: “There has been a huge, unbelievable difference since the gates were installed. I would say 95 per cent of the issues have just disappeared.
“In the long-term, this will save money as the police and council will not have to keep being called out or cleaning the area up. This has been a worthwhile investment. The gates are wonderful.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex said: “Cracking down on anti-social behaviour is a priority which sits firmly at the heart of my Police and Crime Plan. We achieve this by investing in initiatives through Community Safety Partnerships, who tackle local problems at a local level. Being able to fund these gates, and so bring down anti-social behaviour levels in Epping Forest is a great example of how this kind of partnership working can truly make a difference and help keep our county safe and our communities strong and resilient.”
Caroline Wiggins, community safety partnership manager at Epping Forest District Council, said: “Historic antisocial behaviour around High Beach had been exacerbated by the pandemic restrictions in spring 2020, where there was significant displacement from entertainment venues to open unmanaged spaces. Residents had had enough, with people parking everywhere, boy racers causing noise and fear and people using the forest and leaving rubbish without consideration for others. It was horrific.
“The function of the gates was to deter and disrupt the antisocial behaviour and associated crime in High Beach.
“This solution would not have happened without the funding.”