Whitley NAG 'not disbanded'By Mike Pyle
September 13, 2012
Fears a crime-busting neighbours’ group had been disbanded have been scotched by the council.
North Whitley Neighbourhood Action Group has not met since November 24.
The NAG helped neighbours drive down crime at shopping area in Northumberland Avenue.
In June 2011 more than 30 people attended its first meeting with the aim of combating anti-social behaviour outside the shops.
The meeting led to a dispersal order being made around the parade, which gave police the power to send people away from the area, and the trouble in the neighbourhood decreased.
Neighbours are now concerned about problems creeping back.
Northumberland Avenue man Lou Willicombe, who attended the meetings, said a neighbourhood officer was overheard saying the NAG might as well fold with such a low turnout.
He said: “There was a regular turnout of 10 or 12 of us that went to each meeting and there were people coming from the shops as well, which was good.
“It’s a real shame. Obviously the group takes a while to start up, it takes a while for people to get to know each other and find a good person for the chairman and things like that.
“I would have thought it would pick up but it needed more time. There was the first meeting, the public meeting about the troubles, and then I think there were only three or four after that.”
The problems around Northumberland Avenue in the past were associated with drunks gathering outside the shops, making the area into a no-go zone for much of the day by pestering shoppers, urinating in the streets and causing trouble for shopkeepers.
The NAG meetings brought neighbours, shopkeepers, the council and police together and led to police taking up powers to clear drunks from the area, shops agreeing not to sell individual bottles cans of beer to people and CCTV being installed.
Mr Willicombe said: “It did get an awful lot better. There is still a hardcore who come down and try their luck but they don’t stay for long.
“I personally think it would be good to still have the NAG and keep up the good work.
“We could have taken it from working on problems to working on the things that would make people’s lives better.”
Council spokesman Dalitso Njolinjo said: “There is currently no plan to disband any of the NAGs including the North Whitely NAG.
“Following a public consultation in November 2011, burglary was identified as the top priority for the area.
“The NAG has been working on this priority and a full problem profile for the areas has been produced.
“A NAG officers’ meeting is taking place on Tuesday, September 18 and this is being followed up at a public meeting.”
The public meeting will be on October 25 at 7pm at the Tyndale Church Hall, Cressingham Road.