Firms in Elland fed up with ‘lack of action’ over anti-social behaviour
Businesses on the Lowfields Industrial Estate in Elland say they are sick and tired of anti-social behaviour outside their premises.
Alisdair Couper, managing director of Terberg, says that Lowfields has become “a playground for the young, the obsolete and everything else in between”.
“Where do you start? Speeding, vehicle hijacking, theft, breaking and entering, racing, the list goes on,” he said.
“We’ve offered funding to the police and the local council, but nothing’s been done about it.
“The weekend before last, we had a big gang of 50 or 60 youths in cars which resulted in a collision about midnight on the Saturday, and the police and ambulances being tied up dealing with it all.”
Mr Couper says the behaviour has been going on for around 10 years but is getting worse.
“It’s not B&Q’s car park, it’s out of sight, out of mind.
“Half the time, because it’s not in the town centre, the police won’t turn up.
“When they are phoned, they don’t turn up.
“We’ve had damage to fencing that’s been hit by cars, we’ve got staff that are scared to go out at night because they’re being threatened, we’ve had a total lack of interest from the police which then leads to myself and staff thinking they don’t care.
“We’ve had a number of near misses, it’s a race track even during the day.”We’ve had three break-ins during the last three years and not once did the police turn up.
“They’re not interested and neither is the council.
“The council want us to come here but they leave us to it when it all goes wrong.
“I’m just about to spend six million pounds extending our facility here, creating more jobs, but if this is the kind of support we’re going to get from the council and the police force, it’s a poor reaction.”
There are about 64 businesses operating on the park and Mr Couper says other business owners there share his concerns.
“When we’re trying to help, take the help,” he said when asked what message he would send to Calderdale Council and West Yorkshire Police.
“We appreciate financially things are difficult, but when companies are trying to help fill the gap and we’re just being ignored, what does it take to get a reaction out of them?”
Calderdale NPT Inspector Ben Doughty said: “West Yorkshire Police are aware of the proposed issues of anti-social behaviour in the area of Lowfield Business Park, Elland and along with local community partnerships continue to implement strategies and address concerns of local residents.
“It is of note that the reported anti-social behaviour figures do not present higher than other areas of the district. Reports that are received are promptly investigated and in the case of Lowfield Business Park, we are proactively working alongside Calderdale Council to improve matters.
“We have met with representatives of the business community and are working on a plan to work together to tackle issues.
“Our officers in Calderdale have also seen recent success in combatting anti- social behaviour and use of motor vehicles through Operation Hawmill. We hope to extend the operation through to 2022, to allow us to continue to tackle such crimes.
“It is key that we address concerns given and actively reassure business owners and staff who work in the area that we are listening, we understand.
“I continue to urge people to report anti-social behaviour and criminal activity within the district, so we can affectively provide support and bring perpetrators to justice. Any information we received we be acted on and community intelligence can be vital for any enquiries.
“Anyone with any information is urged to contact the NPT teams via 101 or online or alternatively, information can be passed to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Calderdale Council’s Assistant Director for Neighbourhoods, Andrew Pitts, said: “We understand the impact that anti-social behaviour can have on communities and we take all complaints very seriously. When issues are reported we step up our community patrols and work with colleagues across the Calderdale Community Safety Partnership to tackle problems, with appropriate enforcement.
“We received reports of problems at Lowfields Business Park in Elland last year and our community safety wardens regularly visited the site between June and November without observing any issues. However, if problems at this location are still occurring, we’re happy to continue with patrols to try and resolve the issue.
“To report instances of anti-social behaviour, please visit www.calderdale.gov.uk and search for ‘anti-social behaviour’. All information provided will be treated confidentially.”