Police say new estate needs tighter security

Police call for more safety measures at a borough estate
Police call for more safety measures at a borough estate

Police have urged the developers of a new borough estate to take measures to protect hundreds of future residents against soaring crime rates.

A reserved matters application has been submitted on behalf of MCI Developments for the already approved plan for 218 homes in the northern park of Bridgewater Business Park in Leigh.

As part of the plans, which are pending final approval by Wigan Council, Greater Manchester Police is advising that 1.8m fencing be erected at the north part of the site – as well as secure off-road parking to protect residents in an area which has seen increasing crime rates of late.

That said, the report author did say it was felt that the building of the estate would itself help to improve security in the area.

The police statement, which comes after the approval of an outline application, has revealed that the rate of some crimes are up to 236 per cent higher than the national average.

A report produced by the GMP Design for Security team has said that the proposal will only be considered acceptable if certain measures are taken to protect residents.

They wrote: “The level of crime recorded in the local area over the past 36 months has been high and has generally been rising.

“However these rises are mostly early on in the reporting period with many types of crime (including domestic burglary and criminal damage) beginning to fall more

recently.

“The most prevalent types of crime in the local area have been less serious wounding, criminal damage, theft and non-domestic burglary.

“The local rates of domestic burglary, violence, criminal damage and vehicle crime are higher than both the averages for Wigan and Greater Manchester as a whole.”

Shocking figures revealed that the rate of certain crimes are much higher than the local, regional and national

average.

In this part of Leigh, the rate of woundings per 1,000 dwellings is 184 per cent higher than Wigan, 105 per cent higher than Greater Manchester and 236 per cent higher than England and Wales.

Similarly, the rate of criminal damage in the area is 113 per cent higher than Wigan, 98 per cent higher than Greater Manchester and 200 per cent higher than England and Wales.

Police have identified the nearby canal as a potential route for offenders and have suggested a 1.8m fence along the northern boundary of the estate to protect the residents there.

The report states: “The presence of the canal towpath along the northern boundary of the site could provide an easy access/escape route for criminals to utilise unseen and could leave the immediately adjacent dwellings vulnerable to unauthorised access and damage – particularly given the high rates of criminal damage and domestic burglary in the area.

“It is therefore essential that the definition along the northern edge of the scheme is as robust/secure as possible.”

However, despite the concerns raised, Design for Security consultants felt that the development would itself help to lower instances of crime in the area.

They wrote: “The proposed development will bring a currently vacant site into use and provide additional activity, surveillance and overlooking to the area at all times of the day and night.”

The consultants have said that they will support the development, as long as the recommendations are followed.

A construction start date is yet to be confirmed.

The reserved matters, which also include details about the size and shape of the dwellings as well as construction hours, among other details, will be decided upon in May by council planners.