May 18 2011 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
WARDENS on patrol in Stirling have said they’ve come across human excrement in one of the historic city centre’s communal closes.
Community warden Tony Stickings revealed the stomach-churning find at last week’s meeting of Mercat Cross and City Centre Community Council.
He said: “There’s human faeces in the communal close between the Golden Crown restaurant and Smiling Jack’s on Barnton Street – you go up a wee alleyway and the close is behind them.
“It’s got to the stage now where we don’t go all the way into the close, for obvious reasons.
“We do still keep an eye on it and I’ve contacted the department you need to in order to have it cleared up.”
Mr Stickings stressed that the restaurants mentioned were in no way responsible and he was merely citing them to help those gathered visualise where the close at the centre of the trouble was located.
Community council member Helen Sherry said: “It seems as if when people are faced with living in a certain environment for long enough they just accept it as the norm, certainly that would appear to be the case in some parts of the town.
“Or, at least that would appear to be the way people’s opinions are going. It’s sad.”
Councillor Jim Thomson, the local authority’s environment spokesperson, said moves were afoot to clean up numerous closes throughout the city, involving agencies such as the police and region’s health officials.
He said: “We’ve already done what’s referred to as a ‘walkabout’ in the area with our heads of service to make sure the people at the highest level of the council, and the other agencies, are aware of the problems.
“One of the things we’re looking at is installing gates to make it more difficult for people to get in and out of the close, and we’ve approached the property owners who use the close in question.”
He added that an action plan is to be drawn up, although he stressed that projects combating complex issues can take time to come to fruition.
“All the services have to be involved, because of the issues that are thrown up if people have problems with drink or drugs,” he continued.
“We’re certainly making a concerted effort to clean-up that part of the town, but the action plan is not up-and-running yet.
“Like the police, we’re intelligence-led. I would ask people to let us know about the things that are going on.
“If we can raise the profile of the things that are going on at the Barnton Street end of the town then that can only help.
“We need to look after Stirling, not just because we are a tourist town, but for the local residents already here.”
Councillor Thomson’s comments were echoed by Central Scotland Police community cop Bob Hewison and Sergeant Anne-Marie Carter, who were also in attendance.
One member of the public concluded: “It’s obvious when you think about it: Intelligence from the public drives intelligent policing.”
PC Hewison said that, of 118 crimes reported in the community council area over the last month, 73 had been detected and the force were pursuing strong leads on many of the others.