August 21 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Traders in an area of Ipswich plagued by anti-social behaviour and street drinking say a multi-agency operation to tackle the problem is finally starting to bear fruit, but agencies behind the scheme say they are not finished yet.
The St Matthew’s Street Action Plan, led by the borough council, has included the removal of street benches, improved lighting and better CCTV, aimed at deterring drug use.
The part of the road on the junction with Berners Street has been the main focus for the project, which has also included some re-decorating to improve the look of the area and boost footfall.
Shop owners in the area say there has been a marked improvement since the initiative was launched at the end of last year.
Earle Gale, manager of Ming Ming’s Chinese supermarket, on the corner of St Matthew’s Street and Berners Street, said: “I think the police and council and other partners have done a really good job.
“They have done quite a lot of things that individually look like fairly small things but when you put them together, they make a huge difference.
“I think people were nervous about coming here. Now hopefully they should be a lot more confident.
“I talk to the other shopkeepers around here and everyone is saying the same thing – we are all quite happy.”
Musa Taskin, owner of the Sunrise Cafe, added: “It has improved, definitely.
“It is much better now.
Other measures which have been put in place to improve the street have been improvements to waste removal, pavements been cleaned and undergrowth cleared.
Neil MacDonald, Deputy Leader, Ipswich Borough Council, said: “We’re really pleased with the progress made in this area and the support given to the partners by retailers and the community. Anti-social behaviour cases have fallen significantly and the whole area has a new feel and a new look.”
Suffolk police has been one of the partner agencies involved in the project and officers have said they are pleased with the improvements seen so far, but they are keen to continue crime reduction work in the area.
Inspector Danny Cooper, from the Ipswich Central Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “I am pleased there has been a reduction in both street drinking and anti-social behaviour in St Matthew’s Street as a result of the on-going partnership work, however we are still addressing pockets of anti-social behaviour at specific locations.
“The initiative ties in well with the long-term street drinking project which incorporates the Reducing the Strength campaign in the town and officers will be targeting individuals committing offences in the area such as alcohol, substance misuse and begging.”