Banbury councillor responds to increasing park crime
A Cherwell District Councillor has slammed austerity measures that removed youth workers from Banbury streets and hopes the re-opening of a youth centre will give children a positive focal point.
Labour Cherwell District councillor Mark Cherry's has called for the reintroduction of detached youth workers who were axed in 2010 at the start of austerity measures.
His comments come after Banbury saw two serious assaults take place in its public parks within days of each other.
On Saturday, November 2, a man in his 30s was stabbed in Moorfield Park in Grimsbury which followed an attack on a 17-year old boy in Princess Diana Park on Hallowe'en by children as young as ten.
Cllr Cherry is the current chair of the Ruscote, Hanwell Fields, Hardwick and Neithrop Community Forum which brings together residents, police and other emergency services and councillors to discuss concerns within the area such as the antisocial behaviour within Princess Diana Park.
Cllr Cherry said: "This assault is very concerning and needs to be nipped in the bud. It is astonishing that children between ten and 14 could be involved.
"I have written to Thames Valley Police asking for an increase in patrols in Princess Diana Park. We're pressing all the buttons as we don't want this to escalate.
"People should feel free to come into Princess Diana Park at all times of day including young people using play equipment."
The area will soon welcome the re-opening of the Hill Youth Centre after a complete refurbishment that will provide a recreational outlet for younger people in the area.
"It will be great to have that open with all the activities for the young but there will always be young people out around the estate and it is detached youth workers who would be able to get to them.
"We Labour councillors proposed a budget amendment in February so provision for detached youth workers could be made but it was lost," he said.
The RHHN Community Forum will next meet with police on December 5 at 6,.30pm at the Sunshine Centre and residents are free to attend to air their concerns.
The Banbury Town and Grimsbury Forum, chaired by Labour Cllr Hannah Banfield will meet on December 2, at 6.30pm at Banbury Madni Masjid (Mosque) on Merton Street. Residents are also encouraged to attend the event to discuss issues in the area with police representatives.
Police are still appealing for information on both of the park assaults.
Anyone with information on the Moorfield Park stabbing should call 101 quoting reference 43190341926. Anyone with information about the Princess Diana Park assault should call 101, quoting reference number 43190339723.
If residents witness suspicious or antisocial behaviour in Princess Diana Park they can call police on 101 or email to email@example.com.