Meadow magic as blooms curb louts

August 04 2014

IT was referred to by residents as once being like a "mini version of Glastonbury". But since the installation of flower meadows, in a bid to deter anti-social behaviour, locals to St Andrews Park have noticed a drastic change in atmosphere.

IT was referred to by residents as once being like a "mini version of Glastonbury".
But since the installation of flower meadows, in a bid to deter anti-social behaviour, locals to St Andrews Park have noticed a drastic change in atmosphere.
John Mayne, from Friends of St Andrews Park (FOSAP), said: "The effect of the floral meadows has been even better than hoped. The residents of Leopold Road in particular have noticed the difference in noise levels.
"On warm evenings at the weekends, there has been a noticeable shift in the way that people base themselves, often some way away from the floral beds."
It is thought to be the first time that flora has been used to combat crime in Britain.
The idea to plant flower meadows was coined by former Redland and Bishopston beat manager, Kevin Parsons, who had seen a "drastic increase" over the years of anti-social behaviour in the area.
Alongside FOSAP, £5,000 funding was secured last winter from the Police and Crime Commissioner's community action fund, which has paid for the installation, and the seeding and maintenance of the flowers over the next three years.
The meadows have been planted in a variety of shapes where Leopold Road and Maurice Road meet - the most problematic area for residents.
Mr Parsons said: "I think the outcome has been fantastic. It was such a major problem for the beat before, especially during the summer. It was getting a bit too festival-like.
"It was a long, drawn-out process, but it's been worth it since anti-social behaviour has gone down drastically in the area. If it wasn't for the grant, it might not have been possible."
Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, visited the park to see how and where the money from her fund had been spent.
She said: “I am delighted that the money has made such a difference in tackling anti-social behaviour in St Andrews Park.
"I believe the garden has instilled a real sense of pride in the local community and given local people a place to look after, care for and be proud of.
“I am pleased to of been invited to see the results of the funding first-hand and hear how this innovative scheme is combating anti-social behaviour and low-level crime.”
FOSAP said that residents were experiencing problems such as excessive noise, drinking and drug taking. People were also found urinating in gardens on Leopold Road and on trees opposite residents' houses.
Lynn Maddern, a resident living on Leopold Road, said: "It's been phenomenal the difference planting flower meadows has made - I didn't realise it would change as much as this.
"It's been particularly lovely to see parents and toddlers enjoying the flower meadows."
She added: "It was very loud before, and at times we didn't even want to walk through the park.
My neighbours, who have young children, were scared, and often had park users peeing in their front garden.
"Littering was also horrendous. One time, it took seven hours to clean up. It was desperate times - something needed to be done."

Sue Mountstevens with FOSAP
Sue Mountstevens with Friends of St Andrew's Park