Town council makes U-turn on Oakham CCTV mast

The new CCTV pole in Princess Avenue, near Royce Recreation Ground, Oakham. EMN-160118-152237001

The new CCTV pole in Princess Avenue, near Royce Recreation Ground, Oakham. EMN-160118-152237001

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Councillors have gone back on their opposition to a new CCTV mast, instead deciding it is necessary to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.

Oakham Town Council voted in November to request Rutland County Council remove the 12m mast that it put up in Princess Avenue, next to Royce Recreation Ground.

But after the county was invited to give a presentation at a meeting on Wednesday last week, town councillors reversed their decision and decided the mast should remain, with a vote of five in favour and three against.

The decision has annoyed some residents who say they were not consulted and the mast intrudes on their privacy.

Deputy mayor Adam Lowe, speaking on behalf of the town council, said the county council had not presented enough information about the mast in November, but returned last week with full facts and figures.

He added: “Additional information regarding incidents were highlighted and evidence was presented that helped clarify the capabilities of the cameras during a short presentation by the county council prior to the main meeting, and during the meeting members of the public were also given an opportunity with additional time to further challenge the installation.

“As a result of this more accurate and up-to-date information the town council proposal was that the pole should remain and used for CCTV.”

The mast is part of a county-wide upgrade of CCTV equipment. A series of upgrades to cameras in Uppingham have been completed and the county council says they are already making a “significant” contribution to community safety.

Di Smith, of Westfield Avenue, was at last Wednesday’s meeting and said she was “deflated” by the decision.

“Even though a petition was handed in from local residents, letters written to councillors and newspapers and even an interview with BBC Radio Leicester, Oakham Town Council sided with Rutland County Council, ignoring the local people who actually put them there.

Mrs Smith said she was unconvinced there was enough antisocial behaviour in the area to warrant the 12m mast.

A county council spokesman said there had been “a number of recent incidents, including theft and criminal damage,” which underlined the need for CCTV in the area.