By Kevin Unitt 30/05 Updated: 01/06 07:45
CCTV is finally set to be installed at St Nicholas Park in Warwick – more than two years after a council set aside the cash needed.
Neighbourhood Watch members in the area, along with the Friends of St Nicholas Park group, spoke out after becoming increasingly frustrated that £98,000 – ring-fenced back in 2010 by Warwick District Council for CCTV installations and improved lighting in and around the park – had still not been spent to carry out the work.
Friends members Neil Kenton said: “Whole Olympic stadiums and complexes have been planned, resourced and built in the time our council bungles its way into a state of complete inertia, over a simple CCTV installation project.
“Community safety is of paramount importance and the common sense approach was that CCTV installed would first deter and then massively enhance the 'solvability' of crime, such as theft and damage.
“What crime may have been deterred or detected, or property recovered, in the last two years?
“Crime cannot flourish in a community that cares and we have launched an e-petition to campaign in favour of CCTV in all of St Nicholas Park.”
Since making the comments, however, the district council has responded.
In a statement sent to the Observer, head of neighbourhood services Ian Coker said: “A plan for improved lighting and the introduction of CCTV at St Nicholas Park has now been drawn up and a meeting with ward councillors and the police to discuss that plan is being organised.”
This has not completely placated campaigners though, as they now fear most of the cash will be spent on lighting, when they believe cameras to be more important.
Mr Kenton added: “It appears only one CCTV camera is now proposed and only on the Emscote side of the river, which would exclude all benefit to areas such as Myton Fields, which had an unforgettable traveller intrusion that cost thousands of pounds of taxpayers money to put right and clean up the damage and environmental contamination.
“This proposed allocation of the ring-fenced money identifies heavy expenditure on lighting at the expense of most of the proposed CCTV.”
The Friends of St Nicholas Park is holding its AGM from 7pm on Thursday (May 31) at Pickard Street Community Centre in Warwick, where all are welcome to attend as the CCTV issue will be discussed.
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