Bromsgrove District Council slammed over car park closure

BROMSGROVE District Council has been slammed for “giving in to vandalism” after closing a multi-storey car park. 

The Churchfields car park was temporarily shut down on August 24 following a spate of anti-social behaviour, including cases of arson and vandalism.

People were also seen throwing large objects off the top of the car park, including a glazed door, a bike, and a shopping trolley.

Councillor Peter Mcdonald has voiced criticism over the council’s decision. 

Councillor McDonald, the former leader of the Worcestershire County Council’s Labour Group, said: “It’s disgraceful that a local authority such as Bromsgrove Council gives in to vandalism.

“It is not just the car park they have failed to deal with vandalism, but our recreation grounds.

“Vandalism is rife in our local parks yet the Council sit back and do nothing. It’s common knowledge that the CCTV cameras that have cost tens of thousands of pounds are not being monitored.

“Many acts of vandalism are carried out under the nose of the cameras yet nothing ever happens and the culprits are not reprehended. 

“Vandalism is costing the council taxpayers thousands of pounds; not just denying our recreation grounds of valuable equipment, but now the closure of one of our main car parks.

“Just what will they close next because of their failure to deal with vandalism?”

Councillor Peter McDonald

A spokesperson for Bromsgrove District Council said: “We are aware of the antisocial behaviour in the area and have engaged with the police and worked together on Crime Risk Assessments for the car park, as a result of the assessment we have implemented all the crime prevention measures available for the site, unfortunately, due to the layout of the car park and the requirements for accessibility and emergency exits for health and safety reasons it is not possible to completely secure the site from unwanted intruders whilst the car park is in use”. 

The council has started ‘Youthwork outreach patrols’ and two new youth club evenings to divert the young people away from the car park.

Staff have been provided with information and guidance on reporting incidents to the police at the earliest opportunity and the Police also carry out additional patrols in the area to deter ASB.

CCTV at the car park has also been upgraded to digital capability and the Monitoring Centre have radio links to the Police SNT.

The spokesperson added: “The CCTV is being monitored 24/7 by a team of well trained and fully licensed operators. The multi-storey cameras have picked up a number of incidents in recent weeks/months. Footage has been shared with partner agencies and is being followed up. 

“However, often the vandalism has been carried out by children who are avoiding identification. The serious nature of some of these incidents witnessed has helped to make the informed decision to close the carpark”.

All valid permits for Churchfields Car Park will be honoured and permit holders will be able to park on Recreation Road South instead.

Shopmobility will still be operating from the usual location within the multi-storey.