Parents form action group to tackle neighbourhood problems

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Local parents have formed an action group to clean up their neighbourhood in a bid to make it safer for their children.

Parents in the Garrison Road and Annat Road area were up in arms after several used hypodermic needles were found in the street, gardens and children’s playpark in the space of a month and hit out at the authorities’ apparent lack of response to a catalogue of problems stretching back over several years.

They have petitioned the council to get the area cleared up, claiming the needles come from one particular housing block.

Some even claimed they had seen drug dealing going on openly in the Garrison Road park and another needle was found lying in the street recently.

Group spokeswoman Kerrie Fryer said this week that since they brought the matter to light last month, the response and support from the police and sections of the council has been “quite positive”.

The parents now intend to form a Neighbourhood Watch scheme as well as fundraise to replace the playpark in Garrison Road to create a safer environment for local children.

Ms Fryer said: “Another needle was found about two weeks ago and the police came down to recover it. The response from the police and council has been positive and we’ve been put in touch with someone in Brechin to help us organise the fundraising for the playpark.

“We’re also trying to organise a street walk with our local MP and MSP to show them how bad the problem is, what we want to do and what we’re doing ourselves and we’re setting up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

“Everyone around here is totally up for it and are impressed how far we’re getting with it.”

At the time local Inspector Gordon Cryle said a number of reports regarding drugs paraphernalia and needles had been received and that the area is subject to high visibility patrols.

He also said, however, that the local community officer would work more closely with parents. Ms Fryer said that she was “more than happy” with the response and that support had also been given by the community warden service.

She said: “Community safety put us in touch with the local warden who is working side by side with us and if we have any problems we can get in touch and he comes down to get it sorted.

“We’re waiting to get the fundraising started for the park and are planning a fete for when the weather gets better. Basically we want to rip out the old one, as there’s really nothing there for kids to play with, and we want to put in a new slide, roundabout and swing set as well as put down the proper safety surface for it.

“It’s us who are funding it and we’ll make sure the kids take care of it.”

Ms Fryer also said that parents will be out in force in the near future to carry out their own litter-pick to clean up the streets and nearby gardens.

She said: “We just want to clean up our area and make it look presentable, and we’ll be getting all the right equipment from community safety.

“We’re all upbeat and good to go.”

Angus Council has warned anyone finding needles not to touch them and contact the local authority for their safe disposal.

Anyone who comes across discarded needles, or who is encountering anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhood, should call the council’s ACCESSLine 0845 2777778 or e-mail accessline@angus.gov.uk for advice and help.