Crime relief looms in Rec handout

MAJOR improvements to a troubled area of Ipswich could help steer youngsters away from crime is one community's hope. Around £150,000 could be spent on revamping St.

MAJOR improvements to a troubled area of Ipswich could help steer youngsters away from crime is one community's hope.

Around £150,000 could be spent on revamping St. Augustine's Recreation Ground in Cobham Road in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour and to make the park a nicer place to be.

At the moment the equipment in place at the park is only meant for under fives and has been badly vandalised.

Teenagers only have a kickabout wall and football posts to keep themselves occupied.

But it is hoped that provision of a kickabout and basketball area and a teen shelter might go someway to alleviate the troubles in the area.

The South-East Ipswich Partnership Forum requested the upgrade in a bid to reduce the potential for crime and anti-social behaviour.

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In the last eight months crimes in the Cobham Road area have included an assault, indecent exposure, theft, criminal damage, arson on a car, excess alcohol and a disqualified driver.

Nearby in Bantoft Terrace there has been two arson attacks on cars and in Rydal Walk there has been a theft from a car as well as a controlled drugs prosecution.

Thousands of pounds is being allocated to fund the project from the All Hallows Housing Forum, Rydal Walk garages community improvements fund, St. Augustine's Rec community improvements fund and the Ravenswood community fund.

Ipswich Borough Council's community improvement steering group was due to discuss the proposals today . It has been recommended that they will give £40,000 to the venture.

A minimum of £53,000 is also available from the Countryside Agency who have recognised the area of one of their 18 doorstep green projects across East Anglia.

Other improvements to the park would include planting more trees, shrubs and bulbs and also providing disabled access to the ground which is owned by Ipswich Borough Council.

At the moment the recreation ground is surrounded by steep grassed banks and can only be accessed by three sets of steps which makes it difficult for the elderly, disabled or people with pushchairs to get there.

Nick Burden from the South East Partnership said that consultations were to be carried out with people living in the area to see what they thought was needed there.

People from community groups in the area are also going to be getting involved in the maintenance of the park such as picking up litter.

Mr Burden said: "Its about transforming St. Augustine's Recreation ground into a good amenity with top of the range play equipment which is vandal resistant."

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