The Echo had an editorial yesterday about Rayleigh Town Centre – and not in a good way:
REGULAR Friday and Saturday night street violence, which until recently disfigured most towns in Essex, is happily on the decline.
Yet flare-ups still occur, and one town that seems to be suffering in particular right now is Rayleigh.
Violence hit Rayleigh again this week, in the shape of a brawl involving around 20 people. The consequences were all too familiar ? hospitalisation, criminal damage, blood on the streets, intimidation of residents.
Yet, nasty though the episode was, it stands out because this sort of behaviour has become increasingly less familiar.
The night time scene is changing. Clubs are on the wane. So is binge drinking by young people.
This process is encapsulated at Basildon?s Festival leisure Park. Bas Vegas has been busy demolishing its nightclubs and replacing them with restaurants and an extended cinema facility.
However, while binge drinking may be on the decline, it is far from extinct.
Right now, Rayleigh seems to have become a favoured spot for it. The reasons are not entirely clear, but may have something to do with the higher than average proportion of pubs on its High Street.
Hopefully, it will not remain in this state for long. Methods that have worked in other towns can be brought to bear on Rayleigh.
They include a concentration of police resources, a ban on street drinking, and cooperation between pubs in banning offenders. This is one battle against anti-social behaviour that can, demonstrably, be won.
The Echo are right in what they say. A better police presence is needed. Though if there are problems at 4 am, that’s surely more of a nightclub problem than a pub problem!
Unfortunately this is the sort of thing that happens when you decide to move to a night time economy. Most of the pubs in the High St have been there for a good number of years without this sort of trouble happening. It is only since the advent of night club type establishments that trouble has been flaring. The owners of the really nice eating places that have come along lately must be very upset at this, as must the shop owners who are suffering damage to their windows. I know the council have taken the view that boarded up shops do the High St little good, and have allowed fast food late night places to proliferate, but quite honestly going into Rayleigh of a morning and seeing broken glass, police tape, boarded up windows and blood doesn’t do it much good either. The Police need to be out in force and the owners of the places the trouble makers are coming out of in the wee small hours need to take steps to avoid extreme drunkenness and violence as well.
I think we must separate the excellent night time economy of nice restaurant’s and nice places to have a drink which finishes around 12.00 mid night.
It is a different world between 2.45 and 3.30 Saturday and Sunday morning – full of feral youngster who have had far to much to drink. The council must have been mad to allow a night club in the middle of Rayleigh town centre.
Coming back from Wickford to Rayleigh on Saturday night we witnessed around 10 people coming in from the last train from Southminster to get on the Southend train to come to Rayleigh (not all men) – that was quite a surprise, so it is not just those from Basildon but others coming from the quieter villages. They had cans of larger with them and were loud walking up Crown Hill – this was around 11 pm although can’t be sure where they were going. Didn’t see any of them get a ticket unless they had one already. There were no station staff at Wickford. I did mention the next day when came back from Wickford in mid-afternoon when there were 9 railway staff checking tickets etc, that they need to put someone on the station for safety of passengers and make sure tickets are purchased.
Thanks for this , DM. Interesting. If they already had cans with them maybe they were going to a party?