Younghayes Centre security spend highest in district council’s £25,000 bill

PUBLISHED: 11:00 12 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:32 14 November 2018

Flowers around the Younghayes Centre in Cranbrook.  Ref mhc 4136-42-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Flowers around the Younghayes Centre in Cranbrook. Ref mhc 4136-42-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Archant

More than £7,000 a year is being spent on security at Cranbrook’s Younghayes Centre.

The figure was revealed at a full council meeting of East Devon District Council earlier this month, following a question from Councillor Cathy Gardner.

She asked the leader of the council to confirm whether the council uses private security firms to patrol or protect council owned property, and if so where and at what cost.

In response, Cllr Ian Thomas, leader of the council, said: “We use two different security firms which are employed across the corporate stock.”

Compared to three other district council-owned buildings, the £7,200 spent on security at the Younghayes Centre is the highest.

Cllr Thomas said the council spends £6,363.35 on security at The Knowle HQ in Sidmouth, £5,450.90 at Exmouth Town Hall and £4,200 at the East Devon Business Centre in Honiton.

It is common for groups of youths to hang around the Younghayes Centre on evenings, but a spokesman for EDDC said tackling anti-social behaviour wasn’t the sole cause for the spending.

They added: “A security arrangement was instigated at the Younghayes Centre because there was no other presence in the building out of hours and there was a need to ensure that user groups - such as Girlguides - were safe.

“The potential to counter anti-social behaviour was part of the reason, but wasn’t the sole motivation.”

Next week, town councillors will meet with the Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez and a number of senior officers from Devon and Cornwall, where the call for a neighbourhood beat officer for the town is likely to be raised.

Cllrs Kevin Blakey and Kim Bloxham previously met with Ms Hernandez to request the presence of the beat officer in the town.

A spokesman for Cranbrook Town Council said: “In order for Cranbrook to continue to be a pleasant and safe place for residents and visitors to enjoy life and in light of the growth the town is projected to undergo for the foreseeable future, having our own Neighbourhood Beat Officer is important.

“All efforts to tackle antisocial behaviour are high on the council’s list of priorities.”

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