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Opinion : Can the problems of the Desborough Road area ever be solved?

| August 5, 2016

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When my good self was a young man the Desborough Road area of Wycombe was one of the best and most prestigious shopping areas in town.

There were shops selling sweets, clothing, clocks, toys, food, ironmongery, newspapers in fact everything one would need for daily life.

Sadly, over the years, the delicate mix of businesses changed and now there is a disproportionate number of fast food takeaways and barbers in the area.

Walk along the road now and even in broad daylight you can see men loitering on the pavement outside some shops in a most intimidating manner. At night hoodlums can be found walking around while wide boys and wannabe gangsters can be seen cruising along in their motors with a worrying disrespect for the highway code.

To put it bluntly even at midday is it the sort of road that a mother could feel safe pushing a baby in a pram?

Once an area goes down crime takes hold, indeed for many years that part of town has suffered from being infiltrated by prostitutes.

A few weeks ago my good self happened to drive along a road in that part of town after dark. I stopped at a junction to give way to another vehicle and during the short time my vehicle was stationery a provocatively dressed lady appeared from out of the shadows and made her way towards the passenger side window.

Naturally, the advances of the woman were ignored and once the road was clear yours truly pressed the accelerator and the air filled with the sound of the big V8 engine under my bonnet whisking me away into the distance as fast (and within the legal speed limit and highway code regulations) as possible.

Only a few days ago an article appeared in the news section of this site announcing that ‘Prostitution in Desborough Road [is] among [the] issues to be tackled by proposed Public Spaces Protection Orders‘.

It seems the powers that be are trying to tackle the issues of the Desborough Road area with new legislation recently brought in by the Government.

In my opinion it isn’t a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) that is required, instead a change in planning policy to stop the increasing number of fast food takeaways and barbers shops in the area would be more appropriate.

Let’s see the area restored to a general shopping area once again like it was years ago.

Or perhaps a quicker fix to the problems would be to install bright lighting, CCTV cameras and consider pedestrianising Desborough Road or at the very least closing the roads to vehicles after, say, 7.00pm at night.

Sadly I fear the use of a PSPO will simply move the problems to other parts of town. Indeed only the other day my good self was driving through a poorly lit road in Downley when the headlights on my vehicle caught the outline of several young women standing beside bushes next to the road. As my vehicle approached they made themselves apparent.

Even in Booker yours truly has heard reports of untoward goings on after dark at the end of the road leading to the common.

Sadly prostitution is a problem that is not solved, it is simply ‘moved’ to another area and a PSPO in the Desborough area will do just that.

Decent people should be able to walk along Desborough Road, or any road in the town for that matter, without fear of unwanted attention or a feeling of intimidation. The sooner something is done to restore that part of town to how it was in its heyday the better.

What do you think?

*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivor.wycombe or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ivor_Wycombe.

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