Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Anti-social behaviour still a problem at school site

Residents say they are being tormented at the old Bangor Academy site
Residents say they are being tormented at the old Bangor Academy site

Anti-social behaviour is continuing to cause anguish for residents living close to the former site of Bangor Academy.

Vacant for several years, residents say the land is being used by youths to drink alcohol and cause general annoyance.

The school suffered severe vandalism shortly after its close several years ago but while the grounds to the building were fenced off, the surrounding playing fields were not. It is here that the majority of anti-social behaviour is occuring.

One local resident, who did not want to be named, said she had suffered for years with excess noise, fires being lit and youths drinking at the weekend.

Despite a relatively quiet winter, she said things were beginning to get worse again as the nights got brighter.

“I live in Navar Drive and our back garden is backing onto the old Bangor Campus school grounds,” she said.

“We have been tortured for years by underage drinkers, young people setting fires, scramblers and dog walkers. The police have been trying to help but say that when they approach the SEELB for prosecutions, they don’t want to know.

“A local councillor has also been trying to help and was promised by the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) to put up trespassing signs, which they did, and to completely enclose the grounds, which they didn’t.

“Last week was a prime example as we were woken up at 8am by a scrambler going past our back garden.

“We really need help to solve this problem and for someone to make the SEELB see that the grounds need to be enclosed properly so no one can get in and so that we in Navar Drive can get some peace and quiet in our own back gardens.”

A spokesman for SEELB said: “The Clanmorris site of Bangor Academy has been vacant for several years. Most of the site is to be sold to the Trustees of Bangor Grammar School for a replacement school. Funding is awaited from the Department of Education for this purpose.

“In the meantime the SEELB has been trying to alleviate any nuisance caused to neighbours, in particular by the demolition of the former school building.

“As the site is in excess of 14 acres, it is difficult to make it vandal-proof and secure from trespassing.

“In light of very limited funding, the board anticipates using its scarce resources on the maintenance of existing school buildings.”

A spokesman for the PSNI said: “There was a complaint from a resident in the area on April 3 of someone on a scrambler causing annoyance in the grounds of an old school but when police went to investigate the scrambler had gone.

“Police in North Down are working closely with partner agencies and residents in order to tackle the ongoing problem of anti-social behaviour.

“Police rely upon our community and groups within the community to assist them in tackling this activity. It is imperative that everyone plays their part and recognises the negative impact that anti-social behaviour has upon neighbourhoods and residents who experience it.”

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