Gate wanted to deter Heathfield drug users

Heathfield news
Heathfield news

A group of Heathfield residents are lobbying health chiefs and councils over what they say is an escalating problem of drug use and vandalism at a community centre.

Members of the Sheepsetting Lane Residents’ Association have been in touch with owners of the town’s Community Centre. The Centre is fronted by a large car park which opens onto the lane and they point out youngsters drive and rev vehicles in the car park late at night. When police arrive, they have fled.

Residents also find syringes and other drug impedimenta strewn across the narrow area between shrubs and the centre. They point out this is an ‘inappropriate use of a centre used by health workers and families’.

Residents are calling for a gate across the entranceway. Spokesman Colin Ironside says this would be an effective visual barrier. He has exchanged letters and emails with Health Authority owners who looked into the issue but said there was not enough money in the budget to cover the cost.

Ownership of the centre passed to NHS Property Services. A spokeswoman told the Express: “I am pleased to say there is some progress. Many organisations, including the Parish Council, use the Centre. We will hold a meeting for all users to debate the problem. If they agree to a gate and they would be happy to act as keyholders if it is to be locked at night, we will put in a request for capital funding.”

Pat Clark, deputy Parish Council chair, said: “I think this is a no-no. If we have a gate fixed, it would be very complex to organise locking it at night. Also the playing field is used as an air ambulance landing ground and they need open access.”