I have been contacted by residents regarding the removal of benches in Feltham Park.
Whilst I have not made requests for the bench – close to the Helen Avenue entrance – to be removed, I have been very aware that it has been the location where most of the drinking has been taking place.
However, in response to concerns from residents, I made an enquiry and received the following response:
“I’m replying to your recent enquiry concerning the removal of two benches in Feltham Park.
The bench near the entrance from Helen Avenue was removed at the request of the Client Manager for Grounds Maintenance. It has been kept in storage. It’s removal was prompted initially by the Neighbourhood Community Safety Co-ordinator, following complaint from several of the residents whose properties back onto that area of the park. The bench was a popular congregating point for people drinking in the park.
You’ve mentioned the removal of another bench nearer to the children’s play area – but we’ve not removed anything else since December last year.”
It was back in 2002/03 when I sent out questionnaires to residents about the benches at the Hounslow Road entrance (opposite the junction with Park Way). I recall a very strong desire from residents for these to be removed as the large amounts of people congregating in that area was deterring others from entering the park (or atleast making it a less pleasant experience). There was also a minority who did not want those benches removed because they believed – quite reasonably – that the benches served a legitimate purpose for the decent majority. My position – and that of the police at the time – was to support removal and I believe that the removal was a success in that the ASB problems at that location pretty much went away. As for the bench by Helen Avenue, I was never made aware of any of those drinking being abusive to others.
But I understand, and share, the discomfort with people drinking alcohol in the park. At the same time, I remain sympathetic to those who do not support its removal. I do not feel as strongly about this bench as I did with the other benches I have mentioned.
Interested in what others think!