Ipswich: Project will help tackle issues of anti-social behaviour, drug use and street drinking in busy area of Ipswich

Junction of St Matthew's Street and Berners Street, Ipswich

Junction of St Matthew's Street and Berners Street, Ipswich

It is an area plagued by drug use and street drinking that has led to it having a reputation for anti-social behaviour.

But a large-scale project has now been launched to tackle the problems which have blighted the lives of traders and homeowners in part of St Matthew’s Street in Ipswich.

The multi-agency initiative, led by the borough council, will focus on the area of the road near Berners Street and will include the removal of benches used by street drinkers and improved lighting to help stop drug offences.

Mike Grimwood, the council’s community protection operations manager, said: “There is a lot of anti-social behaviour around the back of some of the shops.

“That includes drug use and drug dealing and all sorts of horrible issues so we will be replacing lighting and put in mobile CCTV cameras.

“We will also be tackling irresponsible alcohol sales and disorder.

“It is going to make it a more pleasant place and a vibrant area.

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“Over all the reason we are doing this is to ensure people don’t have to put up with anti-social behaviour in Ipswich.”

The announcement of the St Matthew’s Street action plan has come as Suffolk police, one of the supporters of the project, hailed the success of the Reducing the Strength campaign.

But the project, also backed by the Anglia Care Trust, is not just confined to putting measures in place to tackle anti-social behaviour.

There are also plans to improve the look of the area with measures including redocorating some internal and external areas, improvements to waste removal, cleaning pavements and clearing undergrowth.

Borough council deputy leader and Safer Ipswich portfolio holder, Neil MacDonald, said: “We have put in place an action plan that will tackle the issues that the local community have raised and we are working closely with the police and others to improve the area for those who live, work and visit there.

“It is important that we work together on this and I want to thank everyone for raising their concerns and the support they are giving us in ensuring the action plan does deliver a better community.”

Work is due to begin in earnest soon and it is hoped all the improvements necessary to tackle anti-social behaviour will be completed by Christmas.

Sergeant Jo Garrard, of the Ipswich Central SNT, added: “The initiative ties in well with the on-going Reducing the Strength campaign in the town and officers will be targeting individuals committing offences in the area such as alcohol and substance misuse and begging.

“Ipswich Central SNT are working with partners so that vulnerable individuals can be provided with help and support so that they can move towards appropriate treatment.”