A historic hall in South Derbyshire is “plagued” by vandals, drug use, abusive “youth”, underage alcohol use and dog feces, claimed owners and tenants.
Problems are reported about the Gresley Old Hall in Church Gresley which is also considered one of the most haunted venues in the UK.
Now planning documents filed with the South Derbyshire County Council show a project to install an extensive number of security fences, including around the under 18 football pitch, an indoor bowling center, a garage, containers and both sides of the main entrance to the site .
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The application from the Gresley Old Hall Community Welfare Center states that the site is “plagued by vandalism, graffiti, people climbing the roof, boys breaking windows, abusive behavior, alcohol and drug use by minors”.
The center claims that “despite cameras and the involvement of the police, the problems are increasing” and that the council, police and fire services support all measures and improvements that “can alleviate the current situation”.
The application states that the website owners were “unable to control anti-social behavior or vandalism”.
The soccer field for those under 18 was said to be “covered in dog feces,” “which is a serious health hazard,” with evidence of drug use and burned stains from barbecues.
Pieces of metal are said to have been regularly placed on the Whippet racetrack, which pose a danger to the dogs.
Meanwhile, the Mercia Archers, who use the site, say their training sessions are often interrupted by “youngsters intentionally crossing the shooting range while shooting”.
According to the website owner, there were several attempts to break into the main hall and an arson attack.
The garage and container area is a “favorite area for drug users” and the fire exits of the bowling center an “ideal target for arsonists”.
Owners also say drug dealers often access the grounds at night using cars, quads, motorcycles, and student drivers.
A supportive statement from the Church Gresley Indoor Bowls Club, which operates from the website, stated that its members are often “faced with youth gangs who block stairs and doors and sometimes prevent us from going out.”
The group writes: “You [young people] have occasionally become abusive when asked to move away.
“In winter, more gather to protect themselves from the cold and wet, which can be very intimidating.
“We have seen antisocial behavior over the years, but the severity has increased over the past four years.”
There are said to have been incidents where people stretched a piece of string across the access road, causing the string to get caught around the wheels of a car.
The group said, “Last year the youth set fire to the emergency exit door. On another occasion, large boxes of beverage cans were set on fire against the main entrance doors.
“This has created a situation where staff and members are scared of going bowling and we are in danger of losing members forever.”
The Derbyshire Football Association said it is supporting the installation of fences to reduce damage to the playing fields, dog poop on the fields and people climbing on goal posts.
Archery GB also endorses the fencing plan, saying that hopefully it would “eliminate” the unsocial behavior or potential damage to the property and dog poop that is left in the area.
The venue has listed three options for fences that they are considering installing.
Option A is the fencing of the football field for U18s, archery and the Whippet race course.
Option B is to fence off the back of the indoor bowling center, garage, and storage container.
Option C would be for a fence on either side of the entrance gates.
The district council will decide on the application in the next few months.
The old Gresley Priory, which was built in 1135, stood on the site. In 1556, Sir Christopher Alleyne used the materials left over from the former building to create the existing hall.