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Calls to make Midsomer Norton skate park a safer place at night

By Somerset Guardian  |  Posted: September 28, 2012

The skate park at Midsomer Norton

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Calls have been made for a fresh crackdown on late-night antisocial behaviour around Midsomer Norton's skate park and adventure play area.

People living close to the park spoke out at Monday night's Partners and Communities Together (PACT) meeting about the problems they face each week with gangs of rowdy, intoxicated youths and drivers using Gullock Tyning and the Somer Centre car park as a race track.

One resident described himself as being at his "wits end" and said the road resembled a Grand Prix as modified cars screech around the roads.

He said as the evenings approach the responsible park users made up of young children and their families and skaters, BMX riders and young people on scooters leave the area to be replaced with groups of up to 50 youngsters and gangs of "boy racers".

The man accused Bath and North East Somerset Council and Avon and Somerset police of not doing enough to tackle the problem and said residents fear for their own safety and are often reluctant to leave their homes after dark or during the weekends.

Another resident said he had filmed tyre track marks left by antisocial drivers and said his concern is that something will only be done "when someone is run over or killed".

He also spoke of problems with young people lighting fires in and around the children's play area.

PC Tony Rogerson, the beat manager for the town, said police were aware of the problems and that frequent operations have been undertaken which have seen uniformed, plain clothed officers and CCTV operators working together to address the issue.

He said these will be on-going but said one of the problems faced by police was the use of mobile phones by young people who contact each other to let them know that police are in the area.

Councillor Michael Evans (Con, Midsomer Norton North) said he hoped that plans by Midsomer Norton Town Council and B&NES to fund two night-time marshals who would help deal with antisocial behaviour on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Mr Evans also encouraged people to pass on the details of problem motorists to police.

Concerns were also raised about the suitability of the speed bumps on the road.

B&NES officer Dave Dixon admitted that the speed bumps are "not suitable" and agreed that he would talk with highways officers to see if it was possible to have them replaced or upgraded – although he admitted that cost could be a stumbling block.

There were also discussions about the possibility of paying someone to lock and unlock the gate at the Somer Centre to stop motorists using the car park late at night.

People who attended the meeting also asked police and council officers to look at the possibility of creating a pavement on Silver Street to link Midsomer Norton Rugby Club with the town centre, and to see what can be done to make sure cyclists and walkers are aware of the dangers they pose to each other on the area's cycle paths, after a woman at the meeting said she was injured after being knocked to the ground by a man on a bike.

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