Ashton Park becomes hub for 'antisocial behaviour'
A bench on Ashton Park, situated behind the houses on Blackpool Road, has reportedly become a catalyst for anti-social behaviour at night.
The bench at Ashton Park is situated behind the houses on Blackpool Road and is the only one along that particular stretch of path.
In recent weeks, residents have reported that it has become a hub for anti-social behaviour, particularly at night, with the locals being intimidated by large groups of youths.
One resident said: "They are shouting, swearing and littering. This not only happens during the day but also during the night.
"Intimidating large groups of youths are gather here at all times of the day shouting and screaming as well as littering causing distress for both residents and park users. Added with no lighting along this stretch it also encourages drugs and alcohol abuse at dark."
Sean Jackson, who lives locally said: "I think it's down to the times, kids hanging around is always going to happen and yes that is what parks are for, but I believe they are there into the early hours of the morning drinking and smoking, which it isn't intended for.
"Theres is definitely the need for further resources for teens in the area."
Some residents fear that the lack of local outlets for young people in the area results in antisocial behaviour. Groups and clubs are available nearby however, including the Larches Boxing Club, Preston City Trampoline Club and the Kidz 4 Kidz theatre group.
Another local resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "Anti-social behaviour is a nuisance and should be highlighted if it is indeed that and not just children playing on a park.
"I think the majority are just kids hanging around as they have no other outlets, of course some may cause a nuisance."
Others complained about litter and large groups 'intimidating families or elderly people', with some suggesting that the parks should be shut from 11pm or that the police should have more of a presence at the park
The Ashton and Riversway PACT group are now calling on the council to consider requests for the bench to be removed to an alternative or more suitable place away from the houses.
However, Councillor Robert Boswell, Cabinet member for environment and community safety, said that there are no current plans to remove the bench and that all reports of anti-social behaviour should be reported to the police.
He said: “During the school summer holidays and good weather, our parks and green spaces have become meeting places for local young people and we are continuing our messages of meeting safely and keeping your distance from those who are not members of your household.
“The bench in this instance isn’t in a state of disrepair so there is no current plan to remove it from the park. The bench is extensively used and removing it would negatively affect the experience of people visiting the park - especially those with mobility problems.
“Any incident of anti-social behaviour witnessed in the area should be reported to the Police for action.”