09:51AM, Friday 11 September 2020
Chalvey and Farnham Road have been identified as key areas where the council is struggling to prevent social gatherings as the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 continues.
From Monday, indoor and outdoor meet-ups of more than six people will be banned in England as the Government attempts to avoid a second national lockdown.
Last week, members of the council’s Neighbourhoods and Community Services Scrutiny Panel met to discuss the challenges being faced in keeping public spaces safe.
Richard West, interim director of place and development, told the virtual meeting on Thursday, September 3: “Farnham Road has presented us with some challenges.
“We’ve got a very popular takeaway culture and there are some clashes with late-night activity, illegal and inconsiderate parking.
“There is an element that COVID-19 has been around for so long now that people have become a bit too relaxed about it, a little bit too cavalier about how they treat it.”
He said the borough’s COVID-19 map had seen a spike in cases earlier last month but this was related to ‘a couple of households’.
Cllr Christine Hulme (Lab, Central), who lives in Chalvey, said her area has faced long-term issues with large social gatherings of the Roma community and this has not changed since the arrival of COVID-19.
She added: “On Chalvey, because I live there, the main issue is they never seem to have taken much notice of COVID-19 to start with so we’re starting from quite a low base.
“There is a genuine issue with street drinking, people coming back from work and drinking cans in the street. We’ve got far too many off-licences.
“It’s about calming that area down a bit.”
Conservative councillor Wayne Strutton (Haymil and Lynch Hill) called on the council to increase its level of enforcement after work hours to prevent anti-social behaviour and parking enforcement.
He said: “I haven’t seen any evidence of people being able to call the anti-social behaviour team or parking enforcement because we’re closed for business basically, there is no staff to do that.”
Mr West said the council was flooding Farnham Road with ‘every available resource it has’ and said enforcement officers have been visiting takeaways which stay open after hours, leading to increased social gatherings in the area.
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