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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Carlisle grot spot is being transformed

A city centre grot spot which had become a target for trouble is being transformed to promote the best of Carlisle.

Carlisle photo
Robert Ferguson School pupil Declan McArdle on the ball

Concerns have been growing about the number of incidents reported to police in and around Rosemary Lane.

Officers were alerted to 44 incidents there in just six months, with concerns in particular about antisocial behaviour.

They flagged it up as an area that needed urgent attention.

There were fears that the dark surroundings of the busy lane – between McDonald’s and Poundland – was at the heart of issues there.

So a scheme is underway to bring the covered area back into the light – and hopefully make it less attractive for troublemakers who may previously have thought about lurking in it.

Carlisle City Council is leading a scheme to tidy the area up, using money it secured from the office of Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes.

Decorators have been in Rosemary Lane this week, painting its ceiling and placing panels in the walls.

That’s on top of lighting improvements carried out last week.

And next week, images showing the finest areas of Carlisle – taken as part of the Carlisle Story campaign to promote the city – will be placed on those boards.

The council hopes the project will turn an area that was dark and dingy into one that will showcase the city.

Rosemary Lane is one of a number of areas where money’s being spent on schemes designed to stamp-out anti-social behaviour.

Jessica Riddle, the city councillor responsible for communities, said: “They will all provide a great benefit to the residents of Carlisle and will help design out crime. A wide range of improvements have been made to different areas including Rosemary Lane, Yewdale and St James Park. All will hopefully have a lasting legacy.”

The new look to St James Park in Denton Holme was unveiled yesterday.

Safety fears had led to its multi-use games area being closed, with a surrounding wall deemed unsafe.

But an alliance of agencies has clubbed together and raised £19,000 to remove the old breezeblock wall and fencing surrounding the games area, level off playing surfaces, install new high ball court double wire fencing around two sides, improve floodlights and clear debris.

Like in the city centre, it’s hoped that better lighting and a more open space will stop previous problems with antisocial behaviour flaring up again.

Developing and enhancing St James Park was flagged as one of residents’ priorities in a survey of those living in Denton Holme, the results of which were published last week.

Hugh McDevitt, who represents Denton Holme on the city council, said: “A lot has been done to make the park safer and more appealing to visit.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this scheme and the future ones planned.”

Elsie Martlew, councillor responsible for the environment, also congratulated those who’ve worked on the project.

“The park has benefited from improved maintenance of pathways and shrub work. The games area has also been enhanced to the delight of community groups and residents,” she added.

Money for the St James Park work came from the police and crime commissioner, Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council, Riverside Housing and Carlisle & Eden Community Safety Partnership.

They were supported by Denton Holme Community Association and Denton Holme Community Centre.

Mr Rhodes said: “It is good to see the improvements that have been made at St James Park.”

As part of the wider scheme to tackle trouble in Carlisle, the council is offering free home safety checks to anyone who’s been a victim of anti-social behaviour or is vulnerable to the threat of it.

That work is being carried out with Homelife Carlisle.

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