Issues raised at annual meeting

DROITWICH Spa Town Council held its annual town meeting on Monday, which was open for members of the community to voice their concerns, as well as for the council to spread the word about its own work.

Mayor Tom Noyes led the meeting, with updates on achievements and developments in the town over the last year including the new Charter Market being launched this Friday, the newly opened community hall, and the success of the food festival last summer.

Approximately 30 local residents attended, as well as representatives from Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council and West Mercia Police, in order to better respond to questions from the public.

Concerns were raised by two residents over activity outside the Westcroft Inn and the near to the bridge on Ombersley Street West.

One resident, Dave Davidson said: “It’s not nice in central Droitwich. Ombersley Street West is only cleaned once a week. There’s fast food detritus strewn across the streets and it’s almost as if there’s a Berlin Wall. You’re almost entering a third world neighbourhood when you go under the bridge.”

Other residents raised concerns over people drinking on benches outside the Westcroft Inn throughout the summer months, intimidating passers-by, and leaving glasses in residents’ gardens.

Sergeant Sarah Kent, from West Mercia Police, responded to the concerns. She said: “We don’t have the power to get them to remove the benches. We have to fall within our own remit. The district council are the licensing authority. If I can associate crime and disorder to them I can remove them.

“All I can urge you is this summer, if the problems start again, if there’s disorder outside the pub it needs to be reported. If it’s sufficient I can consider taking the pub to review.”

William Moy, chairman of the Save our Brine Baths organisation requested an update on progress on the campaign following the conference five months ago, and Coun Noyes informed the meeting that some private funding had been secured for investigation and reports into new brine baths for the town by Aidan Stevens from St Andrew’s Town Hotel.

He said: “I’m pleased to advise that the report that Aidan’s been slaving over is in its final stages and we can expect to see it by the middle of April.”

Finally, resident Ray Starr expressed his reservations over the influence wielded by Droitwich Spa Town Council in the planning process, pointing out that the new Sainsbury’s garage had received permission for its 24 hour lighting despite the town council voicing objections at the planning stage.

Talking about the Wychavon District Council planning committee, he said: “I’m expressing my disappointment on your lack of ability to impact on your bigger brother. If you have no control I think we have a problem.“

Wychavon councillor Ken Jennings, said: “I think you know the town council supports you. What I did last week is to meet with the planning officer handling this case. He’s agreed to meet a delegation from town council to discuss what went wrong what needs to happen in future and what needs to happen to alleviate the situation.”

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