Chesterfield beauty spot to reopen shortly after crime fears

A Chesterfield beauty spot is to reopen shortly after it was closed amid reports of yobbish behaviour.

Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 8:41 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 12:53 pm
Members of the public are no longer able to enter the Garden of Fragrance after it was closed amid alleged yobbish behaviour. Picture by Brian Eyre.

Earlier this month, Chesterfield Borough Council revealed it had shut the Garden of Fragrance on Rose Hill, near the town hall, after it apparently became a hotspot for anti-social behaviour and drug abuse.

Sergeant Dave Nicholls, the man in charge of the team which polices the town centre, has met with the council to discuss the issue.

He said: "After some discussion it has been agreed that the garden will be reopened shortly.

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"It will have some new signage encouraging people to report any issues should they occur. I promise it will be part of our patrol strategy ensuring it is visited by police regularly.

"It's important that members of the public are able to use all the facilities available in the town centre and I will do all I can to ensure this area remains open.

"Again I would like to encourage people to report matters to the police by calling 101."

When the garden's closure was announced, Councillor Chris Ludlow, the council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Unfortunately it had become a hotspot for anti-social behaviour – we believe due to illegal drug taking.

"The decision was not taken lightly – we do not enjoy closing off our green spaces – but the garden was suffering repeated damage which we had to put right using money raised in council tax.

"We will reopen the garden when we are satisfied it will be safe to do so."

However, Sgt Nicolls said police had not received any reports of problems at the Garden of Fragrance.

Chesterfield resident Matthew David said: "I think anti-social behaviour is out of control in Chesterfield town centre.

"I know someone who works near the Garden of Fragrance and they said young people were drinking, smoking cannabis, using legal highs, listening to really loud music and generally acting in an anti-social way and intimidating people.

"Now it’s closed and apparently they’re gathering in the car park next to it.

"I think police should be moving them out of the town."