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Seven Kings Park being left open all night despite residents’ and councillors’ crime fears

PUBLISHED: 15:30 22 December 2012 | UPDATED: 09:55 04 January 2013

Residents and councillors with members of Seven Kings Park Users Group in the park

Residents and councillors with members of Seven Kings Park Users Group in the park

Archant

A park in Seven Kings is being left open overnight as part of a “trial” by council leisure operator Vision, sparking resident fears of burglary and anti-social behaviour.

Seven Kings Park, in Aldborough Road South, was locked at dusk until last month, when residents were surprised to notice it was being left open.

Nearby resident Khalid Noor, of Farnham Road, said he is kept awake at night by noise from the park.

He added: “There are girls and boys in the park sometimes until two or three in the morning screaming and shouting. I think leaving the gates open at night is completely unsafe and it’s not good for the local community.”

Philip Pearson, of Epsom Road, said anti-social behaviour is common in the summer and around Bonfire Night.

He added: “The two main concerns are security and anti-social behaviour.

“My house is right next to the entrance so people can get to it from the side and back.”

Cllr Bob Littlewood said the first he heard of the park being left open was when he was contacted by worried residents.

He added: “I guess the council’s point would be that if you publicise an experiment like this, it wouldn’t be a good experiment, but then you can’t assess anti-social behaviour in winter when people aren’t out because of the weather.

“It’s a monumentally stupid time for an experiment at this time of year.”

Vision did not notify residents or Seven Kings councillors about the change.

Redbridge Council did not respond to the Recorder’s request for information, but we have seen an email from Vision saying the “trial” was requested by the cabinet member for leisure and youth services, Cllr Robin Turbefield.

The park’s vehicle gates were apparently damaged and unable to close and Vision were asked to leave pedestrian gates open too.

The email said Vision is “monitoring the issues” and will feed back to the council.

Most Redbridge parks are locked overnight but one at the junction of Norman Road and Ilford Lane, Ilford, that was open all hours, is being fenced off because of noise, drug taking, drinking and prostitution.

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