‘ASB cuts will bring back dark days’ warn­ing

Macclesfield Express - - REMEMBRANCE - STU­ART GREER

AN ex-po­lice­man has warned cut­ting ef­forts to fight anti-so­cial be­hav­iour (ASB) would re­turn the town to ‘the dark days’ of 15 years ago.

Coun­cil­lor Mick War­ren has ex­pressed con­cern over the plans by so­cial land­lord Peaks and Plains Hous­ing Trust to axe its en­tire neigh­bour­hood team which tack­les ASB on hous­ing es­tates such as the We­ston, Hurds­field or the Moss.

The re­tired Mac­cles­field po­lice sergeant fears that fail­ure to plug the gap left by cuts could re­sult in fa­tal tragedies such as that of Fiona Pilk­ing­ton, a mother from Le­ices­ter who killed her­self and her daugh­ter af­ter be­ing tar­geted by yobs.

Coun War­ren, who rep­re­sents the Mac­cles­field East Ward, has urged the coun­cil, the po­lice and Peaks and Plains to work to­gether in or­der to pro­tect the town’s most vul­ner­a­ble.

Speak­ing at a meet­ing of the coun­cil’s cabi­net last month, he said: “Anti so­cial be­hav­iour isn’t just about kids in hood­ies kick­ing bot­tles down the street.

“It’s the route of crime against the most vul­ner­a­ble of our so­ci­ety who live in iso­la­tion and fear.

“With­out pro­tec­tive ac­tions from the likes of hous­ing providers we are go­ing back to the dark days at the turn of the cen­tury when I was a po­lice of­fi­cer in Mac­cles­field and ex­pe­ri­enced the sever­ity of anti so­cial be­hav­iour on hous­ing es­tates.”

Coun­cil Leader Michael Jones pledged to meet with Tim Pin­der, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Peaks and Plains, to dis­cuss the ‘im­por­tant is­sue’, while Coun Ains­ley Arnold, cabi­net mem­ber for com­mu­ni­ties, con­firmed the coun­cil was work­ing on a so­lu­tion.

Speak­ing af­ter the meet­ing Coun War­ren said: “15 years ago the es­tates all had prob­lems with in­tim­i­dat­ing gang of youths.

“We were able to turn that around us­ing a part­ner­ship and in­ter­ven­tion early on with prob­lems so they didn’t es­ca­late.

“My fear is with no in­ter­ven­tion any prob­lems will get worse very quickly.”

Tim Pin­der, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive at Peaks and Plains, said: “Due to sig­nif­i­cant cuts fac­ing so­cial hous­ing providers across England Peaks and Plains needs to find £9 mil­lion worth of sav­ings over the next four years.

“Last month we took the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to re­view 24 po­si­tions within our or­gan­i­sa­tion, with staff in those posts at risk of re­dun­dancy.

“Peaks and Plains re­mains com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing lives in our com­mu­ni­ties and will work closely with our cus­tomers, staff, the Coun­cil and our part­ners to ad­vise them of any changes to our ser­vices.”

●● MP David Rut­ley meets Jerry Hawker, chief of­fi­cer East­ern Cheshire CCG; Katya Smirnova, CWP young ad­vi­sor; Ta­nia Stan­way, CWP lo­cal­ity clin­i­cal di­rec­tor; Anna Wil­son, CWP young ad­vi­sor and Claire Evans, CWP par­tic­i­pa­tion and en­gage­ment lead

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