Council bids for Somers Town spy cameras

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
Residents of Somers Town, the scene last month of the fatal stabbing of a white teenager, Richard Everitt, by a group of Asian youths, may help to police their neighbourhood.

Under plans to be submitted as part of a pounds 65m Government regeneration programme, closed circuit television cameras will be placed in public areas surrounding Euston and King's Cross stations, the site of the new Channel tunnel terminus, to try to cut crime.

Part of the plan is to place cameras on residential roads such as Ossulston Street, a few streets from where Richard was killed, and Agar Grove, to the rear of King's Cross.

The cameras would be linked to a control room operated by the police, Camden and Islington councils, and the rail terminus authorities. There will be up to 30 cameras in Euston Road and Pentonville Road.

The bid members, which include Camden and Islington councils in partnership with private and voluntary sectors, aim to have 20 estates covered by CCTV over the next two years. The cameras will be monitored by concierges in estate offices and these systems may also be linked to the main public area circuit. Camden council plans to involve residents in the surveillance.

In individual blocks, video entry systems that work via the occupiers' television sets will be installed, cutting the cost of installing a screen in each flat.

The bid will be handed in today and a final decision is expected by the New Year. The price of installing the system is estimated at pounds 350,000 and it will cost pounds 150,000 a year to maintain. If it is successful the partnership envisages the project being up and running by this time next year.

Another proposal is for a piazza in front of King's Cross station to replace the modern front terminal built in the Seventies.

Overall 41,000 people fall within the bid zone. In some pockets of Somers Town male unemployment is as high as 40 per cent. Part of the bid contains proposals for a business centre to help firms stay in the area and encourage new ones to move in. It also takes in the King's Cross Railway Lands, the largest inner-city redevelopment site in Europe.

Harvey Bass, Chairman of the King's Cross Estate Action Community Steering Group, said: 'Opertion Welwyn, set up a couple of years ago, cleared up the station area . . . but the problem has now shifted to the surrounding area, such as Cromer Street, where we live. People still loiter around the area at night and you still get pimps and prostitutes using the basements of flats there.

'At first the idea does sound a bit like Big Brother, but you do need security measures such as these in areas like King's Cross.'

Richard Arthur, leader of Camden council, said: 'The key is partnership, bringing together everyone in the area to ensure that King's Cross and Somers Town are, in the future, places where people are proud to live and work.'

(Photograph omitted)

Comments