Work has begun on tackling graffiti and other ‘environmental crime' in North Down.
North Down Borough Council's Environmental and Amenities Committee was told at a meeting last Tuesday that a number of schemes are to commence across the borough in an attempt to tackle the problem.
In the Clandeboye Road area of the town, the Cleaner Neighbourhood Programme has already commenced in improving the look of alleyways, litter problems, overgrown hedgeways, and fly tipping, among other matters of concern.
Bangor Amateurs Football Club has suffered particularly badly in recent times with graffiti being dubbed extensively on the outside of their ground on the Clandeboye Road. However, thanks to equipment supplied from the council, the club will begin a clean up operation this week.
Andrew Montgomery, chairman of Bangor Amateurs, said: “Graffiti has been a constant problem at our ground but we hope this new Clandeboye initiative will help tackle the problem.
“We have been speaking with council officials about our particular problem and they agreed to supply the equipment if we supplied the manpower. So players and staff alike will hopefully start before the end of this week.”
The council, meanwhile, has confirmed that the PSNI, along with Housing Executive officers, will take part in monthly walkabouts to ensure the area remains graffiti-free and ensure that any anti-social elements stay away. Council officers have also been liaising with local schools to spread the environmental message to local children.
The council spokesman said it had already received positive feedback from residents.
“This is a three-year programme which is now in its second year. Already we have had a reduction in the number of complaints concerning anti-social behaviour and environmental crime in the Clandeboye area,” he said.
“There is now plans to extend this initiative into other parts of Bangor including the town centre.”
Geraldine Kelly, from Clandeboye Village Community Association, said it was “great” that Clandeboye Road had been chosen by the council as a pilot area.
“Work has already begun in the area and it is making a difference,” Geraldine said. “However, there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Geraldine said her association was observing the initiative at present but hoped to get involved with local schools and youth groups in the near future.
Councillor Ian Henry, chairman of the Community Safety Partnership at the council, which helped fund the initiative, said: “This new, innovative programme seeks to re-ignite a collective responsibility for local people to deal with this problem.
“We want to increase the reporting of these incidents to the council, police or community representatives. If we can do that then it will benefit the local community as a whole.”