Walsall Council and West Midlands Police have been working closely together to tackle anti-social behaviour at site of derelict buildings in Walsall Town Centre.
After consideration of the evidence, Dudley Magistrates Court has granted a Closure Order which is now in place at the site, bordered by Marsh Street, Navigation Street and Marsh Lane, also known as Saddlers Quay. This area has over the years fallen into a state of disrepair and decay with the remaining buildings in a dangerous condition and the site itself easily accessible from the street.
Recently, this location has been used for drug and sex worker related activity, with discarded syringes and other drug related paraphernalia found inside its buildings. Young people from Walsall and the surrounding areas have also been gaining access to area, creating real concerns for their safety and wellbeing, both because of the dangerous structures and the criminality taking place on site and concerns about potential exploitation.
Although senior officers within the Council and WM Police have been working with the site owners in an attempt to remedy the above issues, it became clear that swift action was needed to protect young people and other vulnerable individuals who had been entering the site. Immediate action was needed to protect the local community from the criminality and anti-social behaviour taking place and this has resulted in the approval of a Closure Order.
The Closure Order makes it a criminal offence for any unauthorised persons to enter the site and anyone who breaches it can be arrested by police.
Councillor Garry Perry, Deputy Leader, Resilient Communities said "The safety and safeguarding concerns about this site were so great, we knew that we had to take swift action to protect the vulnerable and to stop the anti-social behaviour and criminality that was taking place at the Saddlers Quay.”
“This Closure Order is an excellent example of partnership working and clearly demonstrates that we will use all the powers available to us to protect our vulnerable residents and our communities. We will continue to work with landowners and hold them to account for sites that present a real danger in our borough.”
PC Jamie Hobday, Partnership Inspector, WM Police said, “Derelict buildings can be dangerous places with hidden dangers. Residents and workers face additional risks when going into these sites because of used needles and litter associated with criminal activity.
“The order gives us new powers to help keep everyone safe while longer-term plans are developed for the area.”
Notes to editor
· On 5 August 2021, a judge sitting at Dudley Magistrates Court granted a Closure Order for the site after considering the evidence placed before him. The order, makes it a criminal offence for any unauthorised persons to enter the site and anyone who breaches it can be arrested by police and is in place for a three month period.
· A Community Protection Notice (CPN) has also been served by the Council on the owners of part of the site in order to ensure it is made physically secure and to prevent unauthorised access.