Church Street residents hit out over ‘ridiculous’ new railings

Refurbished Broadley Street Gardens overrun by noisy youths at night

ROGUE railings are creating a storm in Church Street where residents have launched a petition against inadequate barriers surrounding a newly refurbished park.

Broadley Street Gardens officially reopened two weeks ago after years of redevelopment work but residents say a wall running beneath railings around the park is allowing youths to get climb over and cause trouble at night.

Eileen Crawford, who has lived in the Church Street area for 68 years, gained more than 100 signatures in support of her petition against the new railings which she says do nothing to deter youths from creating an “intimidating” atmosphere around the park.

Despite residents calling for high barriers around the park, Westminster Council has installed railings on top of a stone wall which Ms Crawford claims make it easy for people to jump over.

“I’m very disappointed with what has happened,” she said.

“We all brought up the issue of the railings in consultations before the park was redone because youths were getting in at night and causing a problem with anti-social behaviour.

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“We all said the same thing. We were under the impression there were going to be high railings as a deterrent to getting over.

“Now people wanting to get in have a foothold and they can just get over.

“They may as well leave the gate open at night because it’s ridiculous.”

She says teenagers that get in after the park closes at night meet together in large groups and keep residents awake with shouting and anti-social behaviour.

“It’s quite scary and pitch black. It is quite intimidating,” she said.

“Last Saturday there were 30 people and they had their bikes in there as well.

“The noise is unbelievable.

“The park may look pretty but that’s not the point. It’s alright for the people who use the park and go away at night but what about the people who have to stay and listen to the youths who get in there?”

Jeanette Buckley, chairwoman of Church Street neighbourhood management board, says the residents feel let down after voicing their concerns over the park railings before they were built.

“They are obviously not fit for purpose,” she said.

“One of the biggest things in discussions about the park was the height of the railings to make sure that the residents around the area wouldn’t suffer nuisance at night time.

“One of the things I repeatedly said was there should be no wall to be used as a step up. It looks lovely but the railings are just too low.

“Where the gates are, the wall also has an upper incline which makes it even easier for the smallest children to get up.

“We have got the complete opposite to what we wanted.

“Are people going to bother with consultations anymore if they think it’s just a box ticking exercise that the council doesn’t listen to?”

Church Street Neighbourhood Centre manager Marco Torquarti said: “The petition is about being listened to. The council did a lot of consultation about Broadley Gardens and the one thing the residents said was make sure you reduce anti-social behaviour at night time. It’s either incompetence or them not listening to the residents.”

A Westminster council spokesperson said: “The park boundary has been designed to maintain the character of the area as a welcoming community space while also aiming to keep people out at night. However, we are aware that there have been reports of teenagers using the park after dark and creating noise and we are working with the neighbourhood Crime Reduction Service to look at what options are available to us to prevent any further anti-social behaviour.”