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Gates are left open at park used as drug den
5:00pm Wednesday 4th September 2013 in Echo News
A COUNCIL doesn’t lock gates to a park used as a drug den because it can’t afford to pay staff to do it.
Residents have discovered land behind their homes in Hockley Green has become a magnet for drug taking and dealing. The area is frequently littered with needles, wrappers and other paraphernalia.
Drug users climb into an overgrown area at all times of the day, even going through residents’ gardens to get there.
The council has not locked gates to the park since 2011 and residents feel it is now up to them to secure the area.
A resident, who didn’t want to be identified, now goes to lock the park up in the evenings, which councillor Phil Rackley thinks is unacceptable.
He went to see the area for himself yesterday and said: “I am not happy that a resident has to shut the gates.
“If there are those activities going on it is a safety issue.
“What do people pay their council tax for?
“When I went there I saw packaging from needles, it is clear what is going on.
“I will insist the council gets a move on to clear the overgrown hedges to at least remove the temptation and opportunity to leave needles there. It is a health and safety issue.”
Kevin Blake, Basildon councillor responsible for leisure and arts, said: “Parks staff have been down to look at the area in question and will be cutting back some of the vegetation and opening up the area slightly to try to discourage the antisocial behaviour taking place.
“We stopped using a security company to lock local park gates following a trial in summer 2011. This was part of our efficiency programme in response to central government cuts.
“We have not had any major issues or rises in antisocial behaviour since this decision was made.”
The council stopped employing a security company to lock its park gates since 2011 to save £60,000 a year.
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