Residents living around Ashton Park are calling for it to be included in a new drive to reduce anti-social behaviour in West Kirby.
Wirral Council and Merseyside Police are consulting on a proposal to introduce a two-year ‘public spaces protection order’ (PSPO) on the beach and at Cubbins Green following more than 120 complaints about disorder in the last four months.
The PSPO imposes conditions on the use of the area and failure to comply can lead to the issuing of a £100 fixed penalty notice or a fine of up to £1,000 if found guilty by a court.
But there are fears the PSPO will merely push the problem away from the beach and up the road in to the park.
Local resident Cath Waller is leading a bid to get people to lobby for the park to be included in the PSPO, and has leafleted houses in the area asking them to respond to the consultation.
She told West Kirby Today: “The problem is giving extra powers to the beach area means that the anti-social behaviour problems are just going to move 300m away to Ashton Park and the surrounding residential streets and to a lesser extent Caldy Hill.
“Consequently, more residents and park users will have to put up with more antisocial behaviour as the police and council will not have the powers to sort it out.
“If the park is included in the PSPO at least the legislation will be in place so if action is needed the police and council can act immediately.
“The park is an amazing part of this town and it should be a place where everyone young or old should be able to use to play or relax safely.”
The call is being echoed by the Friends of Ashton Park, with Martin Harrison from the group telling West Kirby Today: “Like all open spaces and parks across Wirral, we have our problems with anti-social behaviour and vandalism.
“Over recent years with police cuts, we have lost our community patrol visits and the police are remote and difficult to access when we, and local residents, have a problem.
“Increasingly, groups of teenagers roam West Kirby, often on bikes, out of control: the beach areas often their first port of call and large groups gather ignoring social distancing guidelines.
“To introduce a Public Space Protection Order on the beach and Cubbins Green without considering their displacement onto Ashton Park, Coronation Gardens, Victoria Gardens, Sandlea Park, is short-sighted and ignores the disturbance and risk to residents, other visitors, park users, park staff and volunteers who are left to suffer, clear up the mess, fix vandalism and do on line reports to our remote police force. We locals know this displacement happens.”
The consultation closes on Monday 10 August and can be found here.