‘ASB cuts will bring back dark days’ warning
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