A fresh new look will be taken at stamping out anti-social behaviour which has rocked a popular Market Harborough park over the last few weeks.
Cllr Peter James put forward an “emergency action plan” at last night’s (Monday) full Harborough council meeting to combat the growing problem at Little Bowden Recreation Ground on Northampton Road.
The local ward councillor is calling for an urgent rethink after seeing for himself one police officer forced to confront a massive crowd of about 300 revellers at the sprawling park one night.
But the council backed Cllr Simon Whelband’s amendment to put Cllr James’s motion to Harborough District Community Safety Partnership before reporting back to councillors.
Cllr James said he was pleased that the council and police had written to fed-up residents vowing to step up patrols after trouble flared three nights running in the run-up to the Easter weekend.
“I went there one night when there were about 300 people in the park.
“There was one police officer there,” the Liberal Democrat member told the virtual meeting.
“What on earth could they do faced with 300 people?
“We have to put in place an emergency plan for when we have a real emergency there.
“We should confiscate alcohol and drugs, have litter control, carry out on-the-spot fines and issue dispersal orders in extreme situations.”
But Cllr Whelband, chair of Harborough’s Community Safety Partnership, said they were already working alongside police to confront bad behaviour at Little Bowden rec and elsewhere head on.
Branding Cllr James’s motion “a bit of a mess”, he proposed an amendment to run it past the joint community safety team.
Cllr Michael Rickman said Harborough was a very large district with limited police resources – and officers couldn’t just focus on policing Little Bowden park.
Cllr Phil King, the council’s leader, swung his weight behind Cllr Whelband.
But he said he understood Cllr James’s “passion” and he fully shared his concern for angry residents forced to tolerate repeated late-night anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Mark Graves and Cllr Phil Knowles, the Liberal Democrat group leader, both took Cllr Whelband to task for labelling Cllr James’s plan a “bit of a mess”.
Cllr Whelband’s amendment to take Cllr James’s bold blueprint to be scrutinised and reviewed by the district’s Community Safety Partnership was overwhelmingly approved.