Local Plan

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West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan


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View Comments (1) 18. Community Safety

18.1 Objectives

  • To create an environment which promotes a feeling of safety where the perception and incidence of crime is low, by ensuring new developments are designed so as to reduce the incidences of crime and fear of crime.
  • To see the traffic circulation and parking environment managed to minimise the chance of being the victim of a traffic-related accident.
  • To help protect vulnerable members of the community from harm in and around the home and from inclement weather.

18.2 Background & Intent

Crime and fear of crime and the perceptions of safety on the streets in the parish is a constant concern although in recent years the anti-social aspects have reduced somewhat. This is very much an area demanding a multi-agency approach involving the police, emergency services and emergency planning officials together with village organisations and residents. Such an approach is also needed for promoting safety in the home especially in an area that has an increasing number of elderly residents who may be at risk of burglary, deception-type crime and even risk of fire.

18.3 Evidence

18.3.1 Crime and Fear of Crime

Whilst crime levels and the fears of crime are low there are hot spots of such within the village. Evidence of the crimes committed in the last twelve months is though included in Appendix 2. There is a perception of a lack of police presence and as a result of neighbourhood policing changes there is no longer a regular mobile police presence where residents can seek advice or make their concerns known. The area has an emerging active Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the village.

West Bergholt is served by the Local Community Meetings initiative (LCM) and multi-agency problem solving groups, working alongside the local community to address crime, anti-social behaviour and quality of life issues.

A recent development which is being pursued is the recruiting of a Special Constable for the village who can deal with a variety of issues such as anti-social behaviour and traffic and parking offences.

18.3.2 Community Safety

An emergency plan for the village has been drawn up to support Colchester Borough and the emergency services. Snow clearance volunteer teams are in place and the Parish Council maintain equipment and salt supplies for use by volunteers.

18.3.3 Road Safety

Traffic and road safety related matters are the chief concern of residents as evidenced by the public engagement and consultation exercises that have been carried out both for the Parish Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan.

The issues are classified as follows:

  • Speeding in Chapel Road, Colchester Road and Lexden Road
  • Parking and traffic issues in New Church Road
  • Parking around the Co-op, New Church Road and School Lane
  • Safety of school children and pedestrians and cyclists in the vicinity of the school and the Co-op

A Traffic Safety Group has been set up to understand and help towards finding solutions to the above issues. The Group has drawn up a Traffic Safety Plan for the village and which has a special focus on the 400-place school which causes general issues of safety for young students traveling to school but also an ever-growing problem of illegal, anti-social and dangerous parking at school drop off and pick up times. The focus is on a programme of Engagement, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement and Engineering. There are many initiatives under way across all of these fronts including the introduction of new 20mph speed limits and waiting restrictions. The group has been active recruiting a team of volunteer parking monitors to occasionally patrol a few areas in the village to curtail poor parking. There have also been a series of articles on the Parish website and local Facebook page, such as the one below.

A "sign the pledge" stall was also manned at the annual Village Fete where residents promised to drive carefully and park considerately. Regular liaison with Heathlands School takes place to help understand problems better, to help promote the School Travel Plan and to find initiatives to improve safety further.

The village has a very active Community Speed Watch group (CSW) with resource and equipment being shared with Eight Ash Green. The CSW group is recorded as being in the top five most active groups in Essex.


18.4 Summary of SWOT

Strengths

Weaknesses

• Relatively low levels of crime.

• An existing traffic and safety group and strategy.

• Snow-clearing volunteers.

• Emergency Plan.

• Community Speed Watch.

• Parish Council able to respond to emergency with retained staff.

• Facebook Hub a good warning mechanism.

• Strong community spirit.

• Speeding and parking issues.

• Large primary school results in many younger students walking around the village at peak time.

• Oversubscribed school leads to increased parking pressures.

• Lack of street lights may lead to a perceived feeling of vulnerability.

• Lack of regular police presence.

• Elderly population vulnerable to bogus callers and from dangers around the home and at times of inclement weather.

• Trip hazards caused by poor footway condition.

Opportunities

Threats

  • Traffic safety plan/20 mph zones and streets.
  • Special Constable Scheme.
  • Safety in the Home Fire Service Initiative.
  • Local Community Meetings
  • Online reporting tool
  • Neighbourhood Watch and possibility of using existing Safeland app.
  • Escalating crime.
  • Traffic speed and volumes increasing due to expansion of village with attendant risk of serious accident.
  • Rural hinterland difficult to police.
  • Difficulty of recruiting volunteers.
  • Rural crime rapidly increasing.

18.5 The Plan's Approach

The Essex Neighbourhood Policing role is constantly changing. Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) roles have been cut. Dedicated PCSO's have to be 100% funded by the community. Alternate policing methods could be considered. Volunteer Special Constables are being recruited with full powers of arrest matching those of regular police officers. A further example of the volunteer sector meeting community needs of today and the future. Occasional antisocial behaviour occurs and local police presence would help control such behaviour. A Traffic Safety Plan (TSP) for the village which concentrates on the roads around the school and the junction of New Church Road and Chapel Road. Appropriate expansion of the TSP should be a consideration for all new building development sites.

As the objectives relate in part to the use and development of land and wider community aspirations both Planning and Community Ambitions have been developed.


18.6 Policies and Community Ambitions

Policy No.

Community Safety Planning Policies

PP31:

Designing Out Crime

All areas of new development are to be designed so as to reduce the incidences of crime and fear of crime.

PP32:

New Road Layouts

Design of new road layouts that discourages indiscriminate parking and promotes a safe pedestrian and cycling environment will be supported.

Ambition No.

Community Safety Community Ambitions

CA10

Neighbourhood Watch schemes including Speed Watch and Farm Watch will be encouraged and supported.

CA11

Road safety issues will be highlighted through regular monitoring of issues and plans of action developed with the relevant agencies. Particular attention will be paid to areas around the school, the Co-op and other areas of high pedestrian footfall.

CA12

Anti-social and other behavioural issues will be monitored and reported to the authorities and measures developed with the Police and the Community Safety Partnership to reduce their incidence.

CA13

Crime and fear of crime will be monitored, and remedial actions discussed and devised with the police and other community safety groups.

CA14

Where new streets are proposed, these should be 20 mph speed limit zones

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