Oakham CCTV pole could be moved after demonstration

A new CCTV pole installed by Rutland County Council on Royce Recreation Ground in Oakham. EMN-150909-092657001
A new CCTV pole installed by Rutland County Council on Royce Recreation Ground in Oakham. EMN-150909-092657001

A controversial 12m CCTV pole could be moved if, after a demonstration of its capabilities, people do not feel they can support it.

Rutland County Council provoked anger when it put up the 12m pole in Princess Avenue, by Royce Recreation Ground in Oakham, in August.

Two more have since gone up, in Derwent Drive and South Street, prompting more questions from residents wondering why they weren’t consulted.

The new poles are part of a wider programme of upgrades but the council has apologised for the lack of clarity. Invitations to a private demonstration of the new system have been sent to residents..

Portfolio holder for community safety Roger Begy (Con) said: “We have distributed letters to people affected by the camera on Princess Avenue and the responses received to date have been varied. We are also arranging a demonstration of the system which will show how people’s privacy will be maintained.

“The major reason for this particular camera is to cover Royce Field, where there have been a number of reported incidents and complaints to the police. If residents do not feel they can support the new camera or we cannot find a suitable agreed location for the mast we will remove it.”

The council said 300 incidents of anti-social behaviour were reported in the county each year. The ongoing upgrades to Rutland’s CCTV network were agreed in March 2015 as a direct response to calls from residents and town councils to tackle the problem.

The programme of work includes upgrading existing cameras and installing eight new ones, the sites for which were identified in a review. In some cases, new poles or columns are required to support the upgrades. The standard height of the new poles is six metres but three columns – those in Princess Avenue, Derwent Drive and South Street – are 12 metres tall. According to the council, their height and position are necessary so images can be sent over the railway footbridge near Tesco and back to the recording hub at Oakham fire station. The previous site at the police station did not require these but that site is no longer available.

The pole in South Street is a relay mast and will not have a camera on it.

The pole in Princess Street is on land belonging to Oakham Town Council, which was not consulted prior to installation. Town councillors rejected a retrospective approach from the county for the pole and instead said residents should be consulted, which the county has now taken on board.