Council holds secret talks over tackling rise in anti-social behaviour

The council talks on anti-social behaviour took place behind closed doors at the town hall

ACTION to tackle anti-social behaviour plaguing New Milton was the subject of secret talks by town councillors.


The discussion – listed under private session on the amenities committee meeting’s agenda – came two weeks after the town council’s youth services manager, Silma Ramsaywack, highlighted the rising issue of disorder.

As reported in the A&T, Mrs Ramsaywack attributed the lack of a permanent youth centre in New Milton to the crime surge.

This followed the sell-off by Hampshire County Council in 2017 of the Phoenix Centre, which had provided for the town’s youngsters for 30 years.

Bought by the Education Funding Agency, the building on Culver Road now hosts Arnewood School’s Eaglewood project for pupils who struggle to access mainstream education.

The agenda for the amenities meeting listed the private item as “Anti-social behaviour: To review options available to NFDC”.

Challenged by the A&T before the meeting about why the press and public were being excluded, town clerk Graham Flexman claimed this was because of ongoing discussions between the town council, the police and New Forest District Council.

However, Mr Flexman confirmed the talks related to incidents of anti-social behaviour on the War Memorial Recreation Ground and in the town centre. He added some issues had also been reported on Ashley Sports Ground.

The A&T has also previously reported concerns raised at meetings that youngsters were being targeted by drug dealers.

There had been reports of the powerful hallucinogenic ketamine being circulated in areas, including the War Memorial Recreation Ground and near Arnewood School.

Enforcing the press and public ban at the amenities meeting, chairman Cllr Geoffrey Blunden reiterated this was due to ongoing discussions between the council and police.

“It would not be appropriate to go into it at this stage in public,” he added.