Labour Church Street Councillors are supporting calls from local businesses for CCTV cameras to be returned to the Church Street Market area.
The Church Street Antiques Dealers Group have written to Councillors to express their concerns about the removal of the cameras on Church Street which were originally located there partly as a result of crime including violent street muggings of customers of antique dealers’ shops. Leon Young of the Antique Dealers Group says:
“The placement of the cameras at the junctions of Ashbridge Street, Gateforth Street and Lisson Grove gave coverage of the street encompassing over 20 galleries and Alfie’s was considered one of the safest antiques locations to visit. It is a concern for the antiques dealers on Church Street that the cameras have been withdrawn. Their removal is against the interests of safety and security for both members of our group, the customers who visit and their goodwill. The removal of the cameras has had the following effects;
• Increase in begging, particularly on Saturdays
• Criminal damage. A window was smashed in a commercial premises on the junction of Gateforth Street and Church street.
• A marked increase in the frequency congregating of groups of boisterous youngsters who have been seen to drop food litter on the street, can be foul-mouthed and are intimidating to some.
The net effect is to offer visitors to the location a poor impression at the least. At worst, if they feel it is unsafe, unwelcoming or unattractive, we lose their custom. The loss of the cameras works against the ethos, investment, goodwill and revenues that our group creates.”
Church Street Labour Councillor Vincenzo Rampulla said:
“The Church Street Antique Dealers Group have our full support. We’ve raised the removal of CCTV cameras across Church Street with the Chief Executive when he did a Ward walk with us. There are real concerns about the impression this gives to shoppers and residents who worry about safety and the impact given the ongoing reduction in police/council officers involved in public protection. “
“We are still waiting for a response from the Council. They need to show that it is taking these concerns seriously and talk with us about what can be done to ensure Church Street feels and is safe.”