#City & Town Planning
TW Council, Kent Highways Department, Manor of Rusthall, Friends of the Common, Commons Conservators
United Kingdom

On behalf of the general public who have used and enjoyed Tunbridge Wells Common over many years:

We are concerned with the growing level of criminal activity in the Fir Tree Road area which we maintain is due in no small way to the closure of the Mount Ephraim junction. We wish to stress our belief that:

• the vandalism and crime which is now a weekly event in the area is directly linked to the cessation of passing traffic in the road;
• this factor combined with a neglectful policing policy, a lack of CCTV surveillance and the absence of an alcohol-free zone have resulted in a ‘crime hotspot’ as the local press have termed the area.

Linden Park Cricket Club, supported by the local community, would point out that one of the first instances of crime in the area was the arson which burnt down the Cricket Pavilion, and since then we have suffered (amongst other incidents) the following:

• our temporary facilities have been vandalised at night and regularly show signs of attempted forced entry;
• the external underground tap has regularly been broken off overnight and the Common flooded;
• boundary ropes have been taken down, piled up and burnt in the middle of the pitch;
• boundary staves removed and thrown in to the woods;
• a temporary generator vandalised by pouring sand and grit in to the mechanism;
• symbols believed to be satanic in origin have been burnt in to the cricket pitch; and
• theft from the temporary facilities has occured.

In addition the surrounding area has suffered (amongst other incidents) the following:

• regular instances of smashed glass from bottles of alcohol, used condoms and used syringes being found around the Car Park and Wellington Rocks;
• a deeply unpleasant reputation as a venue for sexual deviancy;
• a reputation as a centre for drug dealing;
• numerouse instances of parked cars being broken in to.

In our opinion the re-opening of the junction of Fir Tree Road is essential to reclaiming the Common for the local community who used to enjoy its status as a community centre and we will endeavour to raise local support and galvanise public opinion on this matter over the course of the coming weeks and months because we are utterly convinced that the brand new Pavilion we have fought so hard to raise from the ashes of the previous one will be in enormous danger should it be built while the current conditions continue.

We, the undersigned, call on the relevant bodies in Tunbridge Wells for the following:

• the re-opening of Fir Tree Road at the junction with Mount Ephraim Road;

• CCTV surveillance cameras to be installed on the Common;

• the alcohol-free zone to be extended to cover the Wellington Rocks and the immediate surrounding open area;

• increased attention from the local Police Service, to include increased foot patrols and efforts to clear away lawbreaking and antisocial groups.

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The LPCC - Give the Common back to the People petition to TW Council, Kent Highways Department, Manor of Rusthall, Friends of the Common, Commons Conservators was written by LPCC and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.