Pensioners’ Shelter at Castle Hill Audley

The Parish Council resolved on 18th February 2016 to demolish the pensioners’ shelter for the following reasons:

  1. The shelter was erected jointly with the Audley Village Hall, and gifted to the Parish Council in 1959, for the purposes of providing a shelter primarily for all residents who were catching a bus, as the bus no longer accesses that part of the road (being closed off now) the shelter has not been used by anyone waiting for a bus for a number of years.
  2. The shelter is not a memorial to any war comrades, although there are plaques commemorating the service of an ex Parish Councillor who used to sit in there along with his other colleagues and friends.  Additionally there are some recent plaques commemorating the service of members of the former Friends of Audley group.  Both will be removed and relocated somewhere fitting.
  3. The shelter has been targeted for antisocial behaviour for many years and this is not a new problem, hence the decision to put grills on and lock it up several years ago by the Parish Council.   Attempts to open it at certain times of day and also under supervision to allow youths to use it have been tried on numerous occasions.  However each time for various reasons this has failed.
  4. The shelter has now been breached yet again, and the youths are using it as a reason to hang around there in large gangs, playing loud music, rowdy behaviour and leaving large amounts of litter.  This is occurring more and more frequently, in all seasons and at any time of the week – as opposed to just the summer months and nights of the weekends.  This is causing a very real concern to those who live in the immediate area.  The health and welfare of the neighbours and their small children is paramount, and it would be remiss of any Parish Council to ignore the concerns raised by the local police and neighbours to take action on this shelter.
  5. The Parish Council are aware that due to recent pressures placed on the police, there are now only PCSOs allocated to the Parish.  Therefore there is very little prospect of any real inroads from a policing point of view being made to address the poor behaviour of the individuals.  None the less, the Parish Council are working with the Police and other responsible agencies to address the causes of the ASB and to provide some alternatives for the youths that wish to engage.  However as has been found before, the situation repeats itself every year or so when new faces appear often from outside of the Parish.  The Police however on this occasion have reported a different trend in ASB with there being a very fluid group of individuals coming into the area, and it being difficult to engage being as they are constantly changing and moving around the areas.
  6. The shelter has now had steel shutters placed on it to stop any further access and we are already receiving comments about it being an eyesore at a gateway to the village.
  7. ASB is not a problem that the Parish Council has any power over, we have no more power than any other individual, as it is a police (crime) matter.  The Parish Council only has the power and authority to deal with the “symptoms” i.e. the state of the shelter as a result of the ASB and not the cause of the ASB itself.

It is for these reasons, that the Parish Council feel obligated to act and unfortunately look to demolish the redundant pensioners’ shelter.