‘Shocking’ £33k spent after antisocial behaviour and traveller settlements by New Milton Town Council
SHOCKED New Milton councillors continued to call for more police action after hearing antisocial behaviour and traveller encampments cost it £33,000.
Town clerk Graham Flexman told an amenities committee meeting that £20,000 had been spent on dealing with ASB – including repairing damage and clearing graffiti – so far this financial year.
This was in addition to another £13,000 pumped into clearing up after travellers recently settled at Fawcett’s Field, Ashley Recreation Ground and on Barton clifftop.
Councillors previously called for police to “get off their backsides” to combat drunken violence and disorder plaguing the town.
As reported in the A&T, residents recounted serious incidents including a knife drawn during a fight and people being kicked and stamped on.
Responding to the criticism, Insp. Darren Ord had maintained officers were committed to “relentlessly pursuing criminals”.
Mayor Cllr David Hawkins said councillors were due to meet with police on Friday 27th October to discuss the ASB concerns.
“One of the knock-on effects of all of this is the money coming out of our budget,” he told members.
“This is not good and it’s why we’ve got to do something about it.
“At the moment, we’re not getting what we should be getting.”
Estates and facilities manager Mark Jeffries highlighted the significant time which repairs and clear-ups were taking up for his team.
“This is impacting quite massively on what we should be doing across the town,” he said.
Calling the costs “completely shocking”, Cllr Valya Schooling said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful. We need more support from police.
“What is not acceptable is this is money and time taken away from our wonderful maintenance teams.
“We need them doing what they should be doing. This is a diversion. It’s got to stop.”
Asked by Cllr Schooling if measures were being taken to keep travellers out of Fawcett’s Field, Cllr Hawkins confirmed they were but warned the most determined were “snapping chains and locks”.
Cllr Judith Baker questioned recent assurance from police that its coverage of New Milton was shared 50-50 with Lymington.
“New Milton’s population is higher than Lymington, so it seems an unfair division,” she said.
The town council has requested two new CCTV cameras for Ashley Recreation Ground from New Forest District Council.