Wisbech councillor and businessman asks fellow traders 'would you pay for tow centre security guard'?
A Wisbech businessman and local councillor has come up with the idea of a ‘not for profit’ company to employ a security guard for the town centre.
Andy Maul, who runs Bygones Cafe has sent out letters to traders across the town centre from Hill Street, Market Place, Falcon Road and High Street, to see any would be willing to put their hands in their pockets to fund a security guard.
He estimates that it could cost businesses around £60 a month to re-employ the former Horsefair Shopping Centre guard Roger Vanhinsberg and is hoping people will see the benefits of such a move.
Mr Maul, who represents the Waterless ward on the town council, said he has made the suggestion after listening to complaints about anti-social behaviour from fellow business people as well as the public.
He said: “I believe in action rather than words, people keep saying something needs to be done and there have been calls for Roger to be re-instated, but that is not going to happen without someone taking action.
“I have sent out the letters to all the businesses and I’m waiting to see what the response will be. The more who agree to help set up the ‘not for profit’ company the cheaper it will be for us all. The idea of a ‘not for profit’ company will also help us to source and obtain grants from outside parties which will help with funding.
“I would like to see Roger back patrolling the area he used to look after which went beyond the Horsefair to the Market Place, Hill Street, High Street and York Row. He is well known and he is respected, he also knows those who he needs to keep an eye on.
“Footfall has increased in the town since the opening of Heron Foods, but anti-social behaviour has increased since Roger left. People want to see something done, now I’m trying to gauge whether or not there is support among traders for taking action and employing Roger privately.
“The letters only went out on Tuesday and within a day I had received feedback from two businesses not interested in joining and one that was. If it turns out there is not the support, then I expect people to stop moaning about the situation.
“One word of caution, if people do support it then the public must understand it is not going to happen overnight. Things need to be done properly and it will take a while to set up. But once everything in place it will give us the visible presence everyone says is currently missing in the town centre which will hopefully help deter anti-social behaviour and prevent crime.
“I have done my bit by getting the ball rolling, it is now up to everyone else to take the next step.”
Police commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “There are similar schemes operating in Huntingdon and Cambridge, and they are very successful, so maybe it is time for Wisbech to catch-up with a scheme of their own like that running in Huntingdon”