Chapel St Leonards Parish Council has appointed a part-time Community Warden in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour within the village.
Local resident Trevor Reap was appointed by the parish following “an exhaustive selection process”, which included taking part in role-play scenarios.
“There is a small minority of residents in the village who don’t feel that the ‘rules’ of society apply to them,” commented the chairman of the council’s Environment and Amenities Committee, Cllr John Ward.
“We are lucky to share an excellent neighbourhood Police team with Ingoldmells, but the time they can afford to the village is limited.
“The council therefore decided to bite the bullet and appoint its own Community Warden to provide a more visible presence within our community.”
Although Trevor works only part-time, he does not have set hours, enabling him to vary his shifts to cover all periods of the day. As a result, the council says he has already stopped some anti-social behaviour.
“This is not the council trying to wield a big stick,” emphasised Cllr Ward. “But we get lots of complaints from residents concerned about the behaviour of a minority.
“Trevor is taking a softly-softly approach at present to try and make people think about the nuisance they are causing others through their actions, and to modify their behaviour accordingly.
“But if that approach doesn’t work, we are prepared to have Trevor trained and empowered to issue penalty notices.”
Amongst the issues that Trevor will deal with are the careless disposal of litter, failure to keep dogs under proper control and dog fouling.
“A key element of the community warden’s role is to support the community in making Chapel St Leonards an even more pleasant place in which to live or visit,” added Cllr Ward.
““This is a vital role that will become even more important when the summer holiday visitors arrive. But the residents need to play their part too. We can’t expect our visitors to abide by the rules if those living here disregard them.”
The community warden’s role has initially been put in place until the end of November, but will be made a permanent position subject to affordability and a review of its effectiveness, the council said.
Trevor is also working with the police team and other appropriate agencies.