IMPROVEMENTS are planned in order to tackle anti-social behaviour at a shopping precinct in Woolston.

As previously reported by the Warrington Guardian, the shops on Dam Lane have had repeated issues youths shouting, swearing, spitting, littering and causing criminal damage in recent months.

Tenants pointed to underinvestment by the site's owners as an underlying cause, even describing running a business in the area as 'hell'.

One business has directly cited the anti-social behaviour as the reason for its plans to leave the centre.

Warrington Guardian:

CCTV footage of youths congregated at the Dam Lane shops

But it now appears that progress is being made.

Woolston's three Labour candidates for the upcoming Warrington Borough Council elections have claimed a victory over the issue after the shopping centre's management company Aston Rose 'committed to working to resolve the problems'.

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In a joint statement, Chris Vobe, Andrew Hill and Pat Wright said: "We are absolutely delighted to have been able to work constructively with the landlords, the council and the police to deliver a programme of works which will vastly improve the upkeep and maintenance of the Dam Lane shopping precinct.

Warrington Guardian:

"This area has been blighted by a selfish minority for too long.

"Acts of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage are off-putting for members of the community, and impact significantly on local businesses.

"We were determined to get to the root of these issues and find a solution – by working with senior council officers, our police and crime commissioner David Keane and Aston Rose, we believe we have done that.

"The precinct should no longer be a blot on the landscape – we were especially pleased to have obtained the commitment from Aston Rose that they will work with us to install a gate at the bottom of the stairs to prevent anti-social youths accessing the first floor in the evenings.

"This had fast become the most significant problem, and it will be a huge relief to business owners to hear that plans are now in place to address it.

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“We were heartened that Aston Rose engaged with us and offered to work positively to tackle other health and safety-related issues on site – we believe this will include a programme of work to smarten up the appearance of the precinct and external redecoration.

“This has been a very positive piece of work by everyone involved, and we are very pleased to have taken the lead locally on delivering these much-needed solutions.”

Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols and Mr Keane also recently paid a visit to businesses based on Dam Lane.

Warrington Guardian:

John Parker, of Dermaclear Advanced Cosmetics, said: "As a group of tenants, we are very happy with the outcome of the meeting.

"The support from all who attended was extremely positive.

"Time will only show now, the local community is desperate for a solution."