Police investigate floodlight collapse at Brook Way Youth Club

Sawn-off floodlight column at the Brook Way Activity Centre, Bradley Stoke

Police in Bradley Stoke are appealing for information after a suspicious incident in which a 6m-high floodlight column at the town’s Brook Way Activity Centre was sawn through, causing it to fall onto the sports courts at the complex.

Felled floodlight at Brook Way Activity Centre, Bradley Stoke

The felling of the floodlight column late on Tuesday 17th May follows an earlier incident late last year in which a cable supplying power to the six floodlights surrounding the courts was “maliciously” severed.

The two incidents follow continued friction between the youth club based at the centre and residents of neighbouring properties, who claim they have been blighted with increased levels of noise, light pollution (from the floodlights around the sports courts) and anti-social behaviour since Bradley Stoke Town Council (BSTC) moved the youth club to the centre in 2009.

The toppling of the floodlight was followed by a further incident two nights later when a window of one nearby resident’s car was smashed with a brick.

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police told The Journal:

“Police investigating damage to a lighting stand at the Brook Way Activity Centre on 17th May ask anyone with any information to contact them.”

“Officers have carried out house-to-house enquiries and examined CCTV footage from both the centre and private property nearby in connection with this incident and the smashing of a car window the following night.”

Asked about the outcome of investigations into the previous cable cutting incident, the spokesperson added:

“Police have followed all available lines of enquiry in connection with an earlier incident when cabling for the lights was cut without obtaining sufficient evidence for an arrest.”

Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to contact the neighbourhood team at Filton police station on 0845 456 7000. Alternatively contact the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111 (they never ask your name or trace your call).

South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC) Anti-Social Behaviour Team has been collating residents’ complaints and Robert Walsh, Head of Safer and Stronger Communities, sent out a ‘personal message‘ [PDF, 254KB] to around 50 properties in the area surrounding the youth club at the end of March. In his letter, Mr Walsh outlined a number of changes that Southern Brooks Community Partnership (which operates the youth club) had agreed to make, including turning off the floodlights when the sports courts are not in use, ensuring that young people are always supervised when using the courts, banning use of the courts after 8:30pm and clamping down on the use of foul or abusive language by young people playing in the courts.

SGC also agreed to fit metal shields to the floodlights (to lessen their impact on neighbouring properties) – a proposal rejected by Bradley Stoke Town Councillors at a meeting in December 2010.

Ongoing problems at the youth club were apparent at the April meeting of BSTC’s Leisure, Youth & Amenities Committee, where the SBCP Youth Leader reported that “the constant complaining by local residents [had] taken its toll on the youth club and staff members”. One Councillor at the meeting expressed concern that local PCSOs had been discouraged from visiting the centre and the Youth Leader acknowledged that “relationships between the youth club and police are not good”.

The Youth Leader’s Quarterly Report, obtained from BSTC under a Freedom of Information request, includes a number of references to complaints and allegations coming from just one (unnamed) resident and claims that these led to “young people and staff feeling unsafe and unsupported at the youth centre and decreasing numbers [of young people attending]”.

The toppling of the floodlight was discussed at last week’s meeting of the BSTC Planning & Environment Committee, but only after newly-elected Chair Cllr John Ashe raised the matter, since it failed to appear on the quarterly Health & Safety Report presented to the meeting. Town Mayor Ben Walker seemed reluctant to discuss the incident but the Council’s Deputy Clerk and Facilities Manager John Rendell was more forthcoming, placing the blame with one (unnamed) “friendly resident” who was said to have been the source of “the majority of complaints”. Cllr Walker then interjected to clarify that there was “no direct connection between the criminal damage and the resident [referred to by Mr Rendell]”.

Other incidents of vandalism at Brook Way Activity Centre detailed in the quarterly Health & Safety Report include the pulling down of a section of fencing around the sports courts and the shattering of glass panes in patio doors at the centre after they were shot at by a “ball bearing weapon”.

Residents concerned about the impact of the youth club are known to have been in contact with local MP Jack Lopresti, who recently used a speech in the House of Commons to criticise the local police’s response to complaints about anti-social behaviour in an area of Filton.

[Ed: The Journal has asked SGC to provide data about the numbers of complaints and complainants relating to anti-social behaviour at the Brook Way Activity Centre since the youth club moved in. The Council’s press office was unable to provide an answer before the publication of this article.]

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  1. Typical of the mindless thugs that seem to pervade Bradley Stoke these days…No doubt all the repairs will have to come from taxpayers’ pockets again.

  2. How did the Town Council get away with putting a Youth club there anyway, its a community centre and tennis courts, bad move Town Council. Let the Tennis club have it back- didnt get anti social behaviour from them.

  3. I refuse to let my child attend Brookway Youth Club as it is badly run, smoking is acceptable in front of youth leaders. I feel my child was not supervised to a suitable level, It is a place they can go and do all the things theyre not allowed to do at home. Parents go and check it out!

  4. i have lived near to the Common for many years and we have never had so much noise and bad language as we have now since the youth club has been there. The children seem to be in and out of the building all the time not being supervised , i understand the children need a place to go to let of steam and be with their peers but i really do think the youth club should be moved to a more suitable location away from residents properties and a doctors surgery.

  5. It is about time that elected council staff and elected officials started to work FOR the people that elect them rather than fight them. The quicker Bradley Stoke Town Council realise that they have made a Very Bad Decision siting The “So Called” Youth club at this site the better. Rather than wasting large amounts of tax payers money annoying and aggrivating the people who pay the bills why not actually do a good job for the residents rather than wasting money on a few anti social children and providing facilities that are needed wasting £60K and wages on a few children is criminal in these financial conditions. This amount could be used to locate a Youth Club at the HUB which was the councils original plan… What changed apart from a lack of commitment or was it because of complaints from residents???? Please be aware it is not “ONE” local resident complaining the most, he is just not a scared of reprisals as most of the residents affected are in the 70 to 90 age group and are scared of the abusive language, drinking and inappropriate sexual behaviour… and as for the light I would suggest they look a little closer at malicious persons within your group and be very careful who they name or implicate as it reaks of an unprofessional attitude………

  6. My daughter has been going to Brookway Youth Club for over a year and my son has been going for only the last 3 months and they love going, i have always found it well supervised, they do a good range of positive activities with the children. I have NEVER EVER seen smoking, drinking or anti-social behaviour, i have sat in the car park with friends having a catch up many a time. SO IF THIS IS HAPPING SURLEY WE WOULD SEE THE POLICE UP THERE AND OUR CHILDRENS NAMES WOULD BE TAKEN. US PARENTS WOULD ALSO BE ADVISED. I belive that this youth club is well run and well managed.

  7. I am an 11 year old girl, I go to Brookway Youth club on the Tuesday and I thoroughly enjoy it. The staff well supervise the children. This youth club is also a good way to meet new friends, i serteinly did. However if you close this youth club then you are basicly separating social gatherings of children as we are not allowed to hang out in the streets. During my time in youth club i have been away on trips, learnt to cook and made: photo frames, mothers day cards, fathers day cards, pottery, jewlery and many more. Put your-self in our possitions. How Would You Feel If The Only Fun Place Were You Could Hang Out Was Taken Away?! I know that there is no Smoking or drinking going on because we all bettween the age of 10 and 12!

  8. We have struggled with ASB from the youth club during and after it closes for too long now, the Anti Social Behaviour Team and Police are involved with good reason.
    Last summer drunk children were found in residents gardens, young children, drink given to them by older ones, where was the supervision then?  For those of you who won’t believe it – that’s factual, it happened and worse! Would it be the same this summer if residents had not objected?  I note comments posted around smoking, of course some kids smoke!  Parents don’t send their children to Youth Clubs not knowing it can expose them to such experiences, do they?  The ‘personal message’ from Robert Walsh SSC in his leaflet about Brookway states “It is accepted that some young people do smoke and this is tolerated outside of the buildings. Youth workers will continue to discourage young people from smoking as part of the programmed work of the youth centre”.  So that’s alright then! Smoking is banned in all public places and workplaces, whatever your age. It is illegal for some age groups to smoke, but it’s OK at Brookway as long as you go outside to do it.  Why is there no zero tolerance to smoking in place?
    Perhaps Councillors who moved the Youth Club to Brookway and parents of children that attend, might like it where they live?  It has already been moved from two previous locations, I wonder why?  The constant use of bad language and noise levels are impossible issues to address and live with no matter how hard you try.   Brookway Community Centre is too small to hold a Youth Club and allow the children any freedom without impacting on the community and inappropriate to be sited next to a Health Centre; it’s very unpleasant waiting outside the doctor’s surgery in the morning smelling urine where kids have peed against the shutters. Who has said close it? Only those people putting words in children’s mouths.   Please just find a proper place for it to go, purpose built with consultation, do it right otherwise you’re just moving the problem from one place to another.

  9. My child used to go to the youth club when it was based at Baileys court (this was about 6 years ago). The youth club was well run, the activities were good and fun for the children who attended. There were problems though, the club attracted older children who used to gather outside and cause trouble for those inside, by drinking, smoking being load and abusive and I am wondering if this is what is happening at brook way. This seems to happen any where where activities for children are run, whether they are supervised or not (one example being the skate park, kids go there to skate and have fun, others go there to drink, smoke etc and cause a nuisance). It is the children who go to these activities to do the activities who are always blamed for the trouble, when it is not them but ‘hangers on’ who usually disappear when the police are involved.

  10. Is it not time for the local MP to show what he’s made of, become involved and attempt to get this matter resolved?

    Or perhaps its something he could raise in The House of Commons? No need to deal with local agencies and people then! And good publicity too!

    This needs to be sorted before someone gets hurt and not necessarily the mindless individual(s) who has caused the damage.

  11. i am 11 year old girl which really enjoys go there to meet new friends and enjoy my self overtime i am there! every week i am exited and cant wait to go every saturday and tuesday and if you shut it down then people like us will be back on the street again and causing trouble! To be honest its a load of lies what has been happening and people have told the council because if you misbehave or is rude to the staff you are kicked out and don’t come again! Youth club have very strong rules about youth club that you must follow to be able to go to youth club! Through out youth club i have learnt loads and loads and been on many trips and adventures! encluding making things e.g cards pottery jewellery and much much more! You put yourself in my postion. Would you like to be bored all day? You want us not to make friends? the main point of this is we enjoy it and as i said before it is more harsh than you think. Just think. You want more people and young youths and teenagers to vandalise things and be trouble. That why I Poppy James think that Youth Club should stay open. Just think.

  12. I have lived in Bradley Stoke for the past 15 years so I am glad my council tax money is going towards something I can benefit from!!! Bradley Stoke has nothing for young people to become involved in apart form the youth club, and as a parent of a young baby also, baby groups in the area are now also being closed down! My daughter attends this youth club and it is well run and managed. The children have an opportunity to meet new people, take part in activities and go on trips and surely that is a good thing for young people rather than hang around the streets. The rules are strict and they know they have to stick by them while they are in club. Have you ever thought that maybe it isn’t the children at the club causing this so called trouble – but merely older children hanging around that area.

  13. Wouldn’t it be lovely to go back to bygone days when children could play outside all day with a jam sandwhich and a bottle of pop.Only going home when it got dark?
    Unfortunately we can’t…… so we have youth clubs .
    Where young people (juniors 10-12 yrs ) can meet their friends and take part in activities.They are dropped of by their parents and picked up by them.
    Brookway Youth club has had 2 open days where families, councillors, and members of the public have been given an open invitation to join the young people to see for themselves what they do at club.
    The centre is in an open space that many young people use without being youth club members.

  14. It is really nice to see that these “So Called 11 year old girls” that attend the youth club are so happy with the smoking, drinking, swaering and inappropriate sexual behaviour going on at the Youth Club… I suppose children seem to grow up quicker these days!!!!! Prehaps some of the parents and councillers should come round when the staff have not been warned in advance…. If the noise and destruction from last night fiasco is anything to go by criminal charges ought to be brought for the damage caused…. Wake up parents and smell the roses, get real this club is poorly sited and run no matter what the Southern Brooks group say the children that have signed in are still found over Aldi and the Fish and Chip shop without any Youth Workers being around!! Supervision my A**

  15. Calm down, Calm down,
    This club is the only facility for young people anywhere in the town and is really needed. Yes, there are problems but fewer thatn there would be if there was no club for them to go to.
    There is obviously the NIMBY attitude, but that is to be expected.

    SGC and BSTC were going to build a youth club by the secondary school, but I heard that BSTC refused to make any budget available and SGC couldn’t do it on its own. So it aint happening.

    I bet that cllr Brian Hopkinson, whose idea it was to close the 2 other clubs and move it all to Brook Way is now planning to extend the building to accommodate even more young people.

    BSTC boast of record spending on young people. Let’s hope they appreciate it.


  16. @cynical sid

    What like the other day when our local MP Jack Lopresti raised gang problems in Filton in Parliament and made a ludicrous comparison with the gang problems of New York City in the 1980s/90s.

    I’d prefer Mr Lopresti to keep his hyperbole to himself, if he gets involved house prices in Bradley Stoke will plummet.

  17. Mr Ritcher I suggest you come over one day and listen to the din that emits from this Youth Club…I would suggest they move it to your back yard then and you can put up with the damage abuse and foul language, you can also waste your time picking up litter bottle and cans….
    As regards Hopkinson he is one of the biggest wastes of time around trying to get residents to support wasting funds on these ungrateful nasty foul mouthed “children”
    It is about time BSTC stopped wasting money full stop and espescially on this facility because from the current track record these kids appreciate the fact they think they are untouchable…. Afraid not their are laws in this country and the quicker BSTC realise they have to abide by them as well as the rest of us…..
    As regards “john says” I am sure that if the police actually did something rather than sit in their cars we may not have the problems we do….. Unfortunately if this type of Youth Mob Rule continues I wouldn’t worry about your house price, I would worry about your safety….. Wake up and take a good look around you…..

  18. Its time for the truth on what’s going on at the youth club. The bradley stoke journal needs to print reports from the ASB team and the police over the last year as this info is availabe, throught the freedom of infomation act. Let the TRUTH talk. make your own mind up, not some one else for you. its not right to indecate a person or person’s without facts on any incedents
    The Butt must stop with someone. It’s time for Ben Walker and the trustees to do their Job.

  19. Annoyed …. I would suggest you get your eyes checked or change your camera as none of that happened on Tuesday night, as all us parents sat in the carpark from 18-00 to 20-30. So please stop making these ridiculous lies up and the only people smoking was myself and a other mum so thankyou for the compliment we didn’t realize we looked that young

  20. Annoyed …. I would suggest you get your eyes checked or change your camera as none of that happened on Tuesday night, as all us parents sat in the carpark from 18-00 to 20-30. So please stop making these ridiculous lies up and the only people smoking was myself and a other mum so thankyou for the compliment we didn’t realize we looked that young

  21. You were obviously not in the same carpark as me on Tuesday, i would say glasses and a hearing aid would be a good idea, as i was walking my dog at 7 35 ish the noise coming from the TENNIS COURTS was not good it sounded like thunder with the children riding scooters over ramps. I personally do not live that close to the Youth Centre but all i can say is if i did live close i would not be happy and im sure if the people saying it is not a problem being there they would if it was on their doorstep.

  22. Pitching…. sad… you were not in the car park because I was and there were no adults sat in the car park because I walked across it three times and saw no “mums” ans I wouldn’t compliment any one who thinks that that bunch of degenerates are human….. by the way I have no problems with my eyes or ears and know better than to have a camera operating near children so what are you on??? get a life and stop hallucinating.

  23. The Editor requests that contributors use a consistent name or alias when making more than one comment on the same story.

  24. Can I suggest we stick to the facts please, noise emanating from the tennis courts last Tuesday night was witnessed by a ‘professional witness’ the same incidents also occured Wed and Thurs evenings and were confirmed to have been a noise nuisance an apology has been given and this activity will not happen again within the tennis Courts. There is actually a purpose built facility at the Pavilions for this type of activity after all.

  25. The fact of the matter is that this youth club should not have been opened here.The surgery has suffered enormously over the years from anti social behaviour and then the Council exacerbate the problem for them and local residents.It does seem some named councillors try to spend, as we have seen in previous posts, a lot of public money on “Youth”. There are times when you would think the money was theirs! At one time Bradley Stoke Council spent more than South Glos! Who actually is the service provider for Youth I ask?
    The club needs a permanent base where youngsters cannot cause annoyance to residents and it needs an independent audit group -not councillors/council officers/employees to see that it provides value for money and is fit for purpose.

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