A community meeting was held at Coppice Library and Wellbeing Centre on Tuesday 26thMarch 2019 to discuss how to improve the woodland area at the back of the library next to the car park see plan below:
The woodland area measures 16.5 metres x 21 metres and is the responsibility of the library. It’s currently an eyesore with dog fowling, litter, rubbish burning and antisocial behaviour in the evening.
17 local residents attended together with the area Police Inspector, PCSO Jane Barrett, Cllr John Holden, friends of Coppice Library and Coppice library staff member.
Local residents reported that the antisocial behaviour was worse in an evening and in summer. The majority of it connected to activity in the woodland area and a “cut out” back wall area at the rear of Beanstalks next to the footpath where residents have seen drug dealing taking place.
Littering was discussed and a resident who stated she had previously volunteered her services to pick litter but was met with a lack of support was reassured that the library has black bags and pick up tools and would actively support any initiatives to improve the area. Cllr John Holdenalso offered to get involved and support any community litter picking activity.
A suggestion raised by the library was to fence off the woodland area and add access gates that could be unlocked in the day when the library was open and only locked at night this would continue to allow community access but also allow the woodland to be cleaned up without further decline and over the long term improve the look of the woodland space. Low growing shrubs could be planted against the fence to reduce attempts to climb over the fence.
The police supported this idea as it was an approach to reduce antisocial behaviour by denying access. They also suggested that any signs put up should have a personal aspect to it for example “Clean up after your dog our children play here” these have been proved to have more impact and areas looked after have less fly tipping and litter.
The Police also mentioned that there are grants to support improvement activities that reduce antisocial behaviour.
A series of community activities will take place over the next 12 months to improve the woodland and surrounding space and all local people are invited to help. Plans will be displayed in the library and on the website.
Residents who wish to get involved or who are keen to be kept informed of developments are encouraged to call in and leave their contact details.