The Wokingham Paper

At last! CCTV to catch vandals

Cartoon by Brian Hales

CCTV IS due to be installed across Wokingham town centre to help combat anti-social behaviour following from the vandalism of the Christmas Tree last year.

Wokingham Town Council plans to add five CCTV cameras to the Town Hall building, which would provide coverage across Market Place. 

This is currently being considered by the Local Planning Authority and the expected date of decision is Wednesday, December 18.

Jan Nowecki, Town Clerk for Wokingham Town Council said: “The Town Hall is a Grade II* Listed Building which sits at the heart of a conservation area and therefore the application necessitated a Heritage Impact Assessment report which took some time to obtain.

“In order to reach its determination the LPA has to seek the views of Historic England.

Dave Davies, former Town Council Leader said: “I’m very pleased to see that my lobbying the Town Council has resulted in action with the planning application for CCTV having finally been submitted. 

“I fully support the proposed locations and expect that, once installed, they will go a long way to curbing the recent anti social behaviour that have forced local businesses to employ security and allowed wanton vandalism to occur. 

“I remain disappointed that it has taken so long to get to this stage and given the vandalism of the Christmas Tree last year would urge the Council to do everything possible to complete the installation before the Christmas period. 

“I regret that I am not confident in this given their track record of inefficiency so far, and that the planning consultation runs to 21/11 meaning approval may not come in time due to these previous delays. I look forward to being proved wrong but fear it is now too late for this year but ask that the Council do everything possible, including look to install temporary camera if they are able, so we do not have a rerun of last years awful experience over Christmas.”

Deputy leader of the council, John Kaiser confirmed that CCTV has already arrived in Peach Place, and that it will be added to Elms Field as well.

Cllr Kaiser said: “CCTV is only one method with which the Council is working to tackle anti-social behaviour as we believe it is critical to address this at a root level, addressing it before it escalates to actual incidents.

“We do this in a range of ways such as working with schools and young people, working closely in local communities on a face to face basis, and also by taking an active role with groups such as the local Community Safety Partnership, which brings together key representatives from across a wide range of bodies, including the police, probation services and public health, to address priorities and improve multi-agency working.”

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