Security barrier plans for Welwyn Garden City playing field rejected

PLANS to install an automatic security barrier at the entrance to an anti-social behaviour hotspot in WGC have been thrown out by councillors.

Residents had asked Welwyn Hatfield Council for funds from its Community Chest to install a �12,000 electronic barrier at the entrance to Moneyhole Lane Playing Fields in Panshanger.

This, residents say, would stop vehicles from entering the area after dark and consequently help reduce yobbish behaviour such as racing cars and playing loud music late at night.

But the council’s overview and scrutiny committee voted the proposal down and instead recommended CCTV cameras be introduced for a trial period of three months.

Depending on the results of the trial, road humps could then be introduced in the car park to deter boy racers.

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At the meeting, Panshanger councillor Sara Johnston described anti-social behaviour in the area as a “very real” problem.

She said: “It is having a very detrimental effect on the lives of people in Panshanger – particularly key workers such as doctors and nurses who need to be well rested to do their jobs properly.”

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But other councillors expressed concerns over the proposal.

Cllr Irene Dean said she would not like to see the park locked up at night as it could stop people from using the area to walk their dogs.

And Cllr Keith Pieri asked who would foot the bill for repairing the barrier should it be vandalised.

Following the meeting, Wyton resident TK Choo – who has led calls for the council to fund a security barrier – expressed disappointment at the outcome.

He said: “We think the decision falls short of providing a solution to the problem.”

Explaining the committee’s decision, finance and operations director Bob Jewell said the council was “not convinced” an automatic barrier would solve anti-social behaviour problems in the area.

He said: “The council feels that to spend so much money on a barrier would not provide value for money for all our residents and would be an irresponsible use of the public purse.”

He added: “Alongside the police, we will monitor the situation in the car park before making a decision to resurface the car park with road humps.

“We are committed to trying to find a solution to minimise anti-social behaviour in this area.”

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