A KIDDERMINSTER area plagued by antisocial behaviour is to have a CCTV camera installed following calls from fearful traders.
But the announcement has sparked political controversy after Comberton Hill’s two Worcestershire county councillors, who pledged £1,000 each from their community funding pot to help with installation costs, were accused of “politicising” the issue.
St Chad’s Liberal councillor Fran Oborski and St Mary’s Conservative councillor Nathan Desmond announced their contributions after shop owners campaigned for action last year following a spate of incidents, including two armed robberies.
St George’s and St Oswald’s county councillor Mumshad Ahmed, who pledged £625 of his community funding, however, said the issue had “become political rather than about safety”.
The councillor who owns Indian Style takeaway in Comberton Place, added: “The district council should be looking after businesses anyway and they shouldn’t have to rely on divisional [community] funding.”
Mrs Oborski said Wyre Forest District Council, which will meet annual running costs, required county councillors from the area to make an equal contribution and added: “If Mumshad wants to contribute that is fine. It has taken 18 months of extremely hard work and highlights the commitment to Comberton Hill as a major gateway to the town and it is typical of the Labour Party to try and wreck something in an area they are not represented in.”
The hill’s traders were also split on councillors’ motives.
Lydia Mares, of Vacarro’s, said: “We appreciate any help regarding this issue, however it came about, and was initiated by local businesses and we do not wish to see people make political capital from it.”
Carol Huntington, of Carol’s Florist, said: “We do get trouble on the hill and I do not think it is a political issue. I was very pleased councillors got involved. It has got to be a good thing.”
The camera is likely to be placed outside Tesco Express or Casper Stores and it is hoped the installation process, which includes getting planning permission, will start in April.
Wyre Forest Community Safety Partnership will also contribute towards costs.