Pilot scheme proving a hit in once-troubled Baden Street

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LEVELS of crime and anti-social behaviour in a once-troubled street have been slashed thanks to an innovative pilot scheme.

Two years ago Hartlepool Borough Council launched plans to tackle empty homes in Baden Street, off Elwick Road, which had become a target for thieves, vandals and arsonists, by working closely with private landlords and agents in a bid to turn the area around.

Empty homes in the street were targets for theft and vandalism and residents were “desperate” for the street to be turned around.

Since then there has been a 29 per cent reduction in the recorded crime and a 50 per cent reduction in incidents of recorded anti-social behaviour.

A report said the council and partners had made “significant progress” and the street is no longer classed as a ward priority by the local neighbourhood police team in terms of resources, but regular “high visibility” patrols are still carried out.

The council’s regeneration services committee is due to discuss the turn-around when it meets next week.

A report by Damien Wilson, assistant director of regeneration, said: “Between 2011-12 and 2012-13 there has been a 29 per cent reduction in the recorded crime and a 50 per cent reduction in incidents of recorded anti-social behaviour in Baden Street, which along with feedback from the police continues to reassure.”

The report said despite initial frustrations, residents are starting to see the street undergo “positive changes”.

Over the past two years, the CCTV has been improved, locks on the alley gates changed so only residents have access and the road has been resurfaced.

Residents are also being supported to apply to the Warm Homes Healthy Hartlepool Fund and landlords encouraged to carry out work on their homes.

When the original business case was prepared there were 22 empty properties in the street, but a quarter have been brought back into use, while four have been bought through the council’s Empty Property Purchasing Scheme and work on the refurbishment has started.

Mr Wilson said there is still work to go, but the “scheme has started to gain momentum”.

The regeneration services committee is due to meet on Thursday, June 20 at 9.30am at the Civic Centre.