Time for corporate Antisocial Behaviour Orders?
Oscar Wilde made the remark "youth is too good to be wasted on the young." I wonder if the same applies to ASBOs whose application round here seems to be restricted to rude and licentious youth. A couple of cases elsewhere make me wonder whether a wider range of antisocial activities could be dealt with in this way.
A farmer was in the news this week when he was hauled off by the police after his pigs escaped for what looked like the zillionth time in breach of an ASBO (on the farmer, not the pigs, in case you wondered). In another case a few months ago Camden obtained ASBOs against two large music companies for covering parts of the borough with flyposters advertising records on the grounds that the posters made the place look run down and depressed. The pig farmer's case looks a bit medieval and will surely cost him a groat or three, if not a ducking in his own pig slurry.
What is antisocial in Swanage and district? I am not getting into the perennial dog mess question but there are a few other matters. Every summer parts of the town are covered in discarded takeaway food wrappings. There is no doubt that this gives a highly adverse appearance to much of the seafront and as far as the pier. Takeaway food businesses should be held responsible for the litter their customers create. They have chosen to run their businesses in a way which results in a deterioration in the appearance of the area close to their premises. No doubt they would all claim that what happens to packaging after it leaves the premises is nothing to do with them is nothing to do with them. This is not acceptable. The line "am I my brothers keeper?" received its rebuttal quite some time ago.
All of us who do business in the town are responsible for running our businesses in a way which does not damage the place. Refusing to accept this is antisocial behaviour and should be so treated.
The matter of campervans parking on the ferry road is causing concern. I am all in favour of anyone being able to get a cheap holiday but there is a substantial fire risk from having so many so close together. Imagine the consequences if there was a heath fire there and a few camping gas cylinders exploded. Its our firefighters and other emergency workers who would be over there first and at risk and it doesn't seem right to expose them to this un-needed hazard.
The ferry company own the verge and if they permit the situation to continue its hard to see how they could escape liability if there was a disaster. Cynics may claim that they are tolerating a mess in the hope that they will be permitted to put their parking meters back into use on the ferry road. If so that sounds like antisocial behaviour to me.
That might lead us into a discussion of highly visible old buildings being allowed to deteriorate in the hope that this will pressurise the planning authority into permitting redevelopment. Theres a thought.
(Posted by K Roker 16 December 2004)