The Peterborough Telegraph is launching a reader survey on Central Park and what needs to be done to support the city’s ‘green jewel’.
In a recent edition of the paper we carried a special report about concerns over vandalism and drug use in the park.
Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson promised to take action to ensure the park does not become a ‘no-go’ area - concerns also raised with the PT by some readers.
However, although there have been issues in the park many have also said that the park is a safe haven in the city.
So this week the PT is launching an online survey to allow readers to have their say on Central Park, any issues and what can be done to protect it in the future. Tony Forster, the chair of the Friends of Central Park, outlined some of the issues facing the park in last week’s PT. But he has reacted angrily to suggestions the park is ‘not safe’.
He said this week: “Let’s be clear: the police, local councillors, the city council and everyone else who knows the park will confirm that it is entirely safe, and expressions like “no-go area” are completely unjustified. It is true that, following enforcement in other areas – including a hard-line from the regional college – some drug sellers moved to Central Park for a while. They also moved to the area opposite my house, outside a church. The police are aware and will focus on them, as they did in other areas before the dealers chose the park for their “business”.
“But to suggest this makes the park a “no-go area” is ridiculous. The park is a great deal safer than many areas of town on weekend evenings, and the number of reported crimes is tiny compared to other areas.
“My concern – reported in the PT article – is that the withdrawal of any staff based in the park for the autumn, winter and early spring is a short-sighted action which is damaging a wonderful asset for the city – as the PT Leader article said “an award-winning jewel in the centre of Peterborough”.
“The police report on which all this was based uses the phrase that Amey staff in the park are the “eyes and ears” of the police, and this would be true if staff were based there. Your readers need to see and feel for themselves how wonderful – and safe – Central Park is. We need as many legitimate users of the park as possible, and then the short-term problems with those who have temporarily chosen the park for illegal activities will be driven out.”
We also want to see readers’ images of Central Park – email your pics to PTEditor@Peterboroughtoday.co.uk