Campaign to get CCTV installed in Manston Park at Cross Gates gathers pace after serious assault and anti-social behaviour

More than 500 residents in Cross Gates have signed a petition within just a few days campaigning for increased safety measures in a local park.

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 6:00 am

Campaigners say they have got to the "end of their tether" after an increase in incidents of anti-social behaviour, intimidation of members of the public and motorbikes being ridden in Manston Park, which is a popular spot for families, children to play and dog-walkers.

It came to a head at the end of February where a man was left with serious injuries after being assaulted by a group of youths while he and his wife were walking their dog through the park.

The online petition is asking locals whether they would like CCTV to be installed in Manston Park.

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Dog walkers in Manston Park.

It was started by Sam Hamblett who said residents were becoming wary of using the park and CCTV has been mentioned many times by residents.

Leaving messages of support Stephen Goodall said: "Following a very serious assault it is clear that security measures are necessary." Julie Green said: "It is a public park and swiftly becoming a no go area" and Jennifer Coughlin added: "We should be able to walk around our neighbourhood without fear and I believe CCTV would help with the antisocial problems we've been putting up with for far too long."

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Mr Durgan offered to install the cameras for free if Leeds City Council paid for the power and said he is becoming frustrated at the delays in finding a solution.

Matthew Durgan, left and Coun Matthew Robinson.

He said: "I have made an offer as a local businessman to install CCTV in the park free of charge but this offer was met with some resistance by the local councillors with them sighting privacy and funding issues as the barriers to installing the equipment. It is frustrating that we seem to be getting non-committal answers.

"The general feeling is that there are plenty of cameras now that are council controlled - what difference will a couple more make? It is a public place, there is no issue about privacy and if we feel safer having them, let's have them.

"The problem is not going away, people are starting petitions. We will collate more information, go back to the council ask more questions and present the public view. If we are still being fobbed off we will take it further. It is not something that should be allowed to be brushed under the carpet. I don't want it to become a bad area if we can do something to prevent it now."

Coun Peter Gruen, ward member for Cross Gates said: "It is not that we are unsympathetic, we are very sympathetic, but we have to go through the proper processes, analysis and consultation. There are strict legislations regarding privacy and we have to talk to the neighbours, they might not want it and the police position.

"It's not as easy as putting it on a list but there is general concern about the anti-social behaviour and I know the police are in the middle of their enquiries. What happened is unacceptable and we need to do the right things."

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