Gratitude over village’s funding

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Birstall Chamber of Trade’s chairwoman has expressed gratitude after the village received a major funding boost to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) and buy new Christmas lights.

Anne Thompson said she is “very grateful” that members of Kirklees Council’s Batley and Spen District Committee agreed to hand out more than £10,000 for the projects at a meeting last week.

The Birstall, Birkenshaw and East Bierley areas have recently suffered an increase in burgalries and thefts from cars, according to a report drafted for the meeting.

And there has been a rise in reported ASB incidents, in particular those about “nuisance bikes”. There were 81 reports of this between October 11 and December 29 last year.

Now £8,320 has been handed out to fund two police officers, each working an eight-hour shift at £26 per hour for 20 days. The officers will work in pairs.

Mrs Thompson, who co-runs Seaspray on Low Lane, said: “You need to nip these things in the bud.

“If people think a place is under-policed, it becomes an easy target.”

She added: “We’ve got a very large elderly population in Birstall and we don’t want these people being worried or frightened because young thugs are going around causing mischief.”

The committee also approved a request by the Chamber of Trade for £2,000 to buy and install Christmas lights on twelve trees in the Market Place.

A three-year community effort has raised thousands of pounds for new seasonal decorations, and Mrs Thompson said the grant completed their target amount.

She said: “We’re absolutely delighted. This is the final phase. Now the village will be completely lit up.”