Residents 'condemned to lives of misery' by anti-social behaviour at tram stop

Date published: 09 October 2015

The failure of transport bosses to tackle anti-social behaviour at the Newbold Metrolink stop has “condemned local residents to lives of misery”, Simon Danczuk has argued.

This week, Mr Danczuk and Kingsway councillor Daalat Ali met with Transport for Greater Manchester to discuss the ongoing problems at the tram stop.

Homeowners living near the stop have raised concerns about vandals throwing the loose stones from the track bed at nearby houses.

But criminal damage is just the latest in a long line of problems that TfGM have caused the people of Newbold.

During expansion of the Metrolink line, significant structural damage was caused to houses along the route and a gap in the security fence left homes vulnerable to break-ins.

Despite this, both residents and councillors say that TfGM have been unresponsive and dismissive of all complaints.

Councillor Ali said: “These residents haven't had a proper response from TfGM for five years.

“They have stones piling up in their gardens, their greenhouses have been ruined and they’ve had their windows broken. Some of them are scared to go out in their back gardens.”

The site is equipped with CCTV but footage has been used to hand a caution to just two teenage culprits. TfGM argue it is powerless to act unless residents report all incidents via the 101 police non-emergency number.

Mr Danczuk said members of the public face lengthy waits when calling 101 and that it should not be the victim's responsibility to tackle the issue.

He said: “This is a bureaucratic nightmare, TfGM are procedurally condemning these people to lives of misery.

“They have had years to deal with this problem and what have they actually done? Just two people have been caught and been given a slap on the wrist.

“It’s a mystery to me why there has to be some many stones on the track in the first place. Surely there should be an engineering solution.”

At the meeting, a TfGM spokesman confirmed they hoped to work with Greater Manchester Police to boost security at the stop.

Metrolink Director Peter Cushing said: “Following correspondence with Simon Danczuk MP in relation to concerns about antisocial behaviour around the Newbold tram stop, a site visit was arranged and attended by the head of the TravelSafe Partnership.

“We take concerns such as this very seriously and want passengers to be and feel safe. The views of Mr Danczuk and Cllr Daalat Ali, shared at Thursday’s site visit, will inform TravelSafe’s future operations and activities.

“Following feedback from residents we have already taken steps to improve the safety features at Newbold tram stop while at the same time implementing measures to deter anti-social behaviour.

“Twelve additional CCTV cameras have been installed, a large section of ballast has been removed and spiky plants have been planted, restricting access to areas away from the platform.

“The area is patrolled by officers from the Travel Safe Unit and is frequently visited by the network’s Customer Service Representatives.

“Metrolink is also committed to engaging with the local community and has teamed up with digital agency ucreate to develop an innovative competition aimed at educating school pupils about the consequences of anti-social behaviour and fare evasion. Schools in and around Newbold tram stop are among those that have been invited to take part.

“These steps, already taken to improve Newbold tram stop, were outlined during the site visit and I am happy to meet Mr Danczuk and Cllr Daalat Ali to discuss these issues further.”

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