Anti-social behaviour is a blight that affects far too many people’s lives.
Which is why it is cheering to see that the recently-formed Fratton Road Traders’ Association is working to counter the problem on its collective doorstep.
The days when you could go to the local shopping area and find your independent butcher, greengrocer and so on are gone for many.
The rise of the out-of-town supermarkets and online shopping have contributed to that as people’s shopping habits have changed, transforming once-bustling high streets in the process.
Restoring a sense of community, and the sense of pride that goes with it, is key to helping reduce anti-social behaviour.
It is well-established that when people feel they have a stake in something, then they will value it more.
And while it is good to see Southsea’s Castle Road, with its street markets and fun days, being held up as a positive example of what can be done when the business community pulls together, the two don’t really bear close comparison.
Castle Road is a relatively quiet road that features mostly independent traders, away from the main shopping areas. Fratton Road is part of one of the main arteries through the city and serves as a shopping hub for locals.
When the Castle Road fun day takes place, part of the street is closed off without major impact on the surrounding roads.
We only need to cast our minds back to the last Love Albert Road Day, when that road was closed off, to see something comparable to Fratton Road – and recall the problems that ensued.
Fratton Big Local is a laudable scheme, but one has to question how far £1m can actually go over the course of a decade?
Wider community engagement on how best to spend this money will be needed, and the meeting on January 13 is a step towards this.
Its website talks of making ‘a real, lasting difference to the area’ and The News will support that every step of the way.