Anti-social behaviour, littering, and heavy drinking and substance abuse in and around a public park has prompted residents to call on Croydon Council to impose a Public Space Protection Order on Norbury Hall Park.
The Friends of Norbury Hall Park are seeking signatories to a petition which seeks, they say, “to provide local police with greater powers to stop large groups gathering in the park to drink excessive amounts of alcohol”.
The idea that the police need “greater powers” may seem odd to some. PSPOs, however, do allow councils to hire private security contractors to patrol areas, with powers to impose on-the-spot fines of £100 or more for offences as seemingly trivial as dropping chewing gum or a cigarette butt.
According to the friends group, the main problems in Norbury Hall Park include “copious amounts of litter; in particular alcohol bottles and cans, as well as laughing gas canisters and excrement; noise and anti-social behaviour emanating from the park, particularly at night; groups of drinkers making people feel unsafe in the park; drugs being openly consumed and sold in the park”.
The complaints are similar to the concerns expressed by Wandle Park users and its friends group, as reported by Inside Croydon yesterday, where there are real fears that the park could become a no-go zone for families with small children.
In common with other Croydon parks, Norbury Hall Park lacks any dedicated, “named park keeper”, which was a Labour manifesto promise before the 2014 local elections.
Today, Ian Clarke, the chair of the Friends of Norbury Hall Park, told Inside Croydon: “We want everyone to be able to enjoy Norbury Hall Park but the actions of a few are now beginng to make the park seem unsafe and people are starting to avoid it, which is a terrible shame.
“Croydon Council needs to take action now. A PSPO will empower local police to tackle this growing problem and ensure the park is clean, open and safe for everyone.”
The petition will be presented to the council by the end of October. Anyone wishing to add their name to the petition can do so through this link.
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