Wisbech shop loses appeal to install shutters to protect against crime

A Wisbech shop has lost an appeal to install roller shutters to protect against anti-social behaviou

A Wisbech shop has lost an appeal to install roller shutters to protect against anti-social behaviour. Picture: GOOGLE IMAGES - Credit: Archant

A Wisbech shop has lost an appeal to install roller shutters to protect against anti-social behaviour after more than 200 crimes in the area in two years.

But Cambridgeshire Police say they can find “nothing to support the premises being vulnerable” - despite police data showing an increase in crime.

The fishing tackle shop in Orange Grove supplied figures to show that 475 crimes had been reported in the area since February 2015.

More than half have taken place since January 2017, according to police.gov.uk.

Crime officer, Dave Griffin, said he would not support the fitting of shutters after “researching crimes and incidents reported to the police over the last 18 months at the address”.

Fenland District Council refused the application on January 22 2018, with planning inspector M Seaton refusing the appeal on January 24 this year.

Mr Seaton sided with councillors saying the shutters could increase public “fear of crime.

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“Fenland Council expressed the concern that the provision of solid shutters would create a dead frontage as well as providing a potential focus for certain types of anti-social behaviour such as fly posting or graffiti.”

Mr Seaton added: “The installation of the shutters has the potential to have an adverse effect on the wider public perception and fear of crime in the area by creating an environment where crime and anti-social behaviour are seemingly accepted and expected.

“The shutters would be visually harsh and obtrusive appearance to the shop front of the property.”

Wisbech Town Council said they would have preferred to see designs of the shutters and for them to be installed internally.

“The application is supported in principle – the town council understands the need, from a security aspect, to install the shutters,” the town council told Fenland planners.

“But because of the significance of the location of the premises in terms of visitors arriving in the town, the town council would prefer the shutters to be installed internally and be of a ‘see through’ design.”

The application was first made by Mr J Neave in November 2017.

Around the same time, the Boots store in the town was allowed to install three internal shutters to protect it from burglars after proposals for external shutters were criticised.

“The building is at risk and vulnerable to security breaches due to the high value of goods and drugs sold,” said a planning officer’s assessment, accepted by Fenland Council. The shutters were opposed by police.

But Fenland Council refused railings to protect against anti-social behaviour at The Retreat hair salon in Exchange Square.