Agenda item

CAC/19/19 Funding Request: Ipswich Community Church Security Fencing

Minutes:

64.1.     Mr Shammi Jalota and Mr Jamie Clarke, Trustees of the Ipswich Community Church, highlighted the challenges faced by the Church being located in a very deprived part of the town, but it had built a good relationship with its immediate neighbours and had operated as a night shelter and soup kitchen, in addition to providing free English classes to people for whom English was not their first language.

64.2.     Over the last 18 months, there has been considerable antisocial behaviour and drug issues outside the front of the church, which had been reported to the Police and other agencies, but it was still causing anxiety to the local community.  The proposed security measures would ease the tension of neighbours whilst still allowing the church to be opened up to enable community activities to be provided and in time raise the level of aspiration of young people in the area.

64.3.     A planning application had been submitted to the Council for the proposed works and funding had already been secured from the Police and Crime Commissioner and from SCC Locality Budgets, and funding was being requested to cover the shortfall of £2,440.

64.4.     Councillor Riley asked how high the proposed fencing would be. 
The fencing would be at head height, and whilst people could potentially climb over it, it would not be easy to do so and should provide a safe zone around the grounds of the church.  The fencing would be decorative and in keep with other fencing in the vicinity.  Inspector McParland reported that the designs had been drawn up in consultation with the Police’s Design Out Crime Officer to minimise opportunity for antisocial behaviour and the fencing would comply with the ‘Safer by Design’ principles.

64.5.     Councillor Rae commented that needles could still be deposited through the fencing and added that the fencing could merely displace problems elsewhere.
Whilst this was a possibility, further work would be done to provide diversionary activities at the Church.

64.6.     Councillor Rae asked whether this was more of a law enforcement issue and therefore a matter for the Police.
The antisocial behaviour issues required a multi-agency approach involving the Church, the Police and other agencies.

64.7.     Councillor Cook commented that the drug paraphernalia found outside the church was probably due to drug using taking place in the churchyard and added that the security fencing could act as a deterrent and would enhance the amenity of the area, subject to planning permission being granted.

64.8.     Councillor Jones commented that whilst the fencing might displace the drug-taking and antisocial behaviour elsewhere, it was important to protect this community space.

64.9.     Mr Rod Stone, Senior Church Leader, commented that the existing fencing had been erected as a last resort to deter the antisocial behaviour.  CCTV had been installed in the area in 2012, but had had minimal impact. The current HERAS fencing was not secure and was easy to get round, resulting in public nuisance on the premises. The proposed secure fencing would incorporate sliding gates at the front of the church to enable the premises to be used by the community.

64.10.  Councillor Cook proposed that the funding be approved subject to planning permission being granted and this was agreed.

Resolved:

 

that the Central Area Committee approve funding of £2,440 from the Central Area Committee budget to Ipswich Community Church as a contribution towards the installation of security fencing, subject to planning permission being granted for the proposed works.

 

Reason: To contribute towards the installation of increased security measures at Ipswich Community Church in an effort to deter anti-social behaviour and remove opportunities for criminal activity to occur.

Supporting documents: