Skating ban no longer needed near Tesco car park

Joanne Atkinson, who owns Ice Dreams and Coffee Beans in the Leyland Cross area
Joanne Atkinson, who owns Ice Dreams and Coffee Beans in the Leyland Cross area
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Proposals to ban teenagers from skateboarding and playing football in an anti-social hotspot in Leyland have been thrown out.

Around 12 months after South Ribble Council agreed to introduce bylaws in the Tesco car park and Leyland Cross area, the scheme has been scrapped.

Leyland cross area, Tesco car park

Leyland cross area, Tesco car park

But the reason is simply because the measures are no longer needed, a councillor explains.

Coun Phil Hamman, who represents Leyland St Mary’s ward, called for change last year after numerous complaints from business owners and members of the public about damage being caused to shop fronts by footballs.

People were also ‘intimidated’ by the skaters in the area. But now, Coun Hamman says the problems have been resolved.

“There haven’t been many complaints, so I don’t think it’s worth pursuing anymore,” he said.

“Things have just died down, and people don’t think the bylaws would be necessary.

“I noticed myself during the summer that there weren’t as many [youths] spending time there, and from speaking with people in the community and the police at our local PACT (Police and Community Together) meetings, everyone is pleasantly surprised that there is no longer an issue.”

The proposed bylaws, which were set to cover other areas of Leyland including car parks at the leisure centre, railway station, the Civic Centre and the market, were voted through by South Ribble councillors in September last year, and were due to go before the Government for a final decision.

When the Guardian spoke to some of the youngsters in Tesco car park at the time, they said they were prepared to fight the plans, arguing that there was nowhere else for them to go.

Coun Hamman said: “When we put that forward last year, a lot of youngsters started coming to the Leyland My Neighbourhood Forum meetings, and we all had a good chat.

“I told them that the elderly people felt intimidated, and maybe that helped.

“Everyone has pulled together to work on this, such as Tesco, youth workers and the police, and I think it’s all helped to resolve the matter.”

He added: “The Warehouse skate park in Leyland had reduced opening hours and was closed for some time last year because of noise complaints, but that’s been sorted now as well, so I think a lot of the youngsters go there.”

Police increased patrols at the height of the concerns, and regular visits from street pastors, youth workers and the Tesco security team are being credited for the results.

Consideration is now being given to how CCTV could be improved in the area too.

Complaints plummeted from 45 in 2013 to 14 since the start of this year, and Joanne Atkinson, who owns Ice Dreams and Coffee Beans in the Leyland Cross area, agrees that the problems have settled down.

She said: “It has been really quiet this year. You get the odd ones hanging around but it’s nothing like it was last year.

“I don’t mind that the council has decided not to go ahead with the bylaws. They have dealt with it really well and kept us updated all the time.”