Plungington SPAR demolishes anti-social grot spot outside shop to curb nuisance behaviour

A Spar shop in Preston has hired workmen to bulldoze a notorious grot spot outside its entrance in a bid to curb anti-social behaviour.

By Matthew Calderbank
Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 12:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 3:02 pm

The Lawrence Hunt-owned Spar in Plungington Road has brought in contractors to clear a wall and a raised garden outside its store, which had become a magnet for anti-social drinking and drug use in recent months.

The grot spot was reduced to rubble this morning (Wednesday, September 30) after a cordon was put in place and a digger began tearing the structure apart.

A spokesman for Lawrence Hunt said: "Work is underway to remove the raised garden that’s often a congregating area for drinking and anti-social behaviour outside our store."

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Plungington Coun Pav Akhtar has welcomed the demolition after campaigning for months for an end to anti-social behaviour that has plagued the shop, its staff and customers.

He said: "This has been a long time coming! Thank you to Lawrence Hunt for making this valuable contribution to help reduce anti-social behaviour in our community (caused by six hardened street drinkers).

"I’ve just met staff in store and shoppers outside. They’re over the moon.

"It's been a really horrendous situation they've had to put up with. They were relieved for themselves and customers. Let's hope this is the restart we need."

Workmen have made quick work of the demolition this morning (September 30)

In recent months, Coun Akhtar has drawn attention to the growing problem of anti-social behaviour in Plungington, which often takes place in the vicinity of the Spar shop.

The councillor and local residents have said they were fed up with daily reports of drinking and fighting among a known group of nuisance drinkers who often sit on the wall outside.

In recent months, staff at the store have repeatedly dealt with aggressive shoplifters, including a pair who spat at staff during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in April.

In August, the Spar shop was forced to put anti-theft security tags on some items, including meats and cheese, in a desperate bid to deter shoplifters. Some of the items requiring the security tags had been priced at just £2, but the shop said it was forced to take action after thieves began stealing food on a daily basis.

Plungington Coun Pav Akhtar has welcomed the removal of the wall and raised garden outside the Spar store in Plungington Road, which had become an anti-social hotspot in recent months. Pic: Pav Akhtar

Coun Akhtar said the group had made life miserable for people in the community, with residents often harassed when they walk past, visit the shop or use the cash machine.

He added: "It's been a complete nightmare for local residents, it's put off shoppers coming to the area, it's terrified staff who were being repeatedly abused. Just an awful situation.

"We've had fighting on the pavement and in the road, including pitch battles were they lob bottles at each other and leave smashed glass on the floor, often requiring police and ambulance services.

"I'm just massively relieved for the shop staff and for residents. I'm really grateful for the partnership working with the SPAR shop company (Lawrence Hunt) who have been brilliant throughout.

The raised garden outside the Spar store in Plungington Road has been demolished this morning (Wednesday, September 30)

"They've really listened and responded to residents' needs and have given time to hear my concerns as a local councillor.

"Together we have made a big difference for residents. We now see light at the end of the tunnel."

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The wall and raised garden outside the Spar store in Plungington Road had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour, including drunkenness, drug use, spitting and littering
The work has been paid for by Lawrence Hunt, who own and operate 26 Spar stores around Lancashire