Stowmarket pushes ahead with wardens
STOWMARKET is pushing ahead with moves to appoint neighbourhood wardens, despite missing out on a government cash windfall.A £21million investment programme has been announced to secure current schemes, meaning wardens will remain a prominent feature on the streets of Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft until at least 2005.
STOWMARKET is pushing ahead with moves to appoint neighbourhood wardens, despite missing out on a government cash windfall.
A £21million investment programme has been announced to secure current schemes, meaning wardens will remain a prominent feature on the streets of Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft until at least 2005.
However, money is not being made available for new ventures, which means Stowmarket will not benefit.
Malcolm Baker, town clerk of Stowmarket, said the council would explore other funding avenues but remained determined to bring wardens to the town.
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"Currently we're spending money on fighting vandalism and the idea is that the wardens would help reduce this dramatically and save us money, he said.
"There's certainly a lot of good will and help available and we would want to use that."
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Representatives of the council have already visited Bury St Edmunds to view the operation there and a meeting is planned with Suffolk County Council to draw on their experience.
The town council is hoping to attract other groups, including retailers and the police, to help fund the operation.
At present, it is not known how many wardens would be employed but it is hoped they could be patrolling Stowmarket's streets from early next year.
In Ipswich, a similar scheme has already been a major success. Wardens regularly patrol the town's housing estates and have cleaned up more than 600 communal areas, as well as providing advice to residents.
Reports of antisocial behaviour have been reduced by 30 per cent in areas patrolled by the wardens.
What do you think? Are the wardens effective? Would they help in Stowmarket? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or join the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk.