Several residents have contacted me about groups of youths congregating in South Street and outside ASDA. In fact its not just ASDA, I have had similar comments about the same problems outside Tesco in the High Street and other shops in town. This in itself is not anti-social behaviour, but large crowds can be intimidating especially to older residents.
Its no surpise then that the police are looking for additional powers to disperse these crowds. But this doesn’t solve the problem it just moves it elsewhere and alienates the young in the process. While I fully support the police attempts to deal with crowds, on their own they cannot solve the problem. This is rooted in the lamentable lack of facilities for local youth in Andover especially in the older parts of town.
Cllr Ian Carr’s response that TVBC gave them the Depot shows how out of touch he and the local Tories are with the needs of the community. No-one wanted to go to Charlton. They want facilities near home and near shops where they can meet without annoying eveyone else. is that so difficult to understand?
What is needed is for the police to target the trouble makers (e.g. underage drinkers) who give all youth a bad name while encouraging the others to find other places to meet, but they can’t do that unless the councils (borough and county) are prepared to make other places available in and around town where they are needed.