Curfews help clean up Norfolk estate

Children under the age of 15 are not allowed out on the streets after 9pm under a trail blazing initiative that has rejuvinated a troubled Norfolk housing estate.

Children younger than 15 are not allowed out on the streets after 9pm under a trailblazing initiative that has rejuvinated a troubled Norfolk housing estate.

Norfolk Drive in Attleborough was plagued by yobbish behaviour, litter on the streets, late-night parties and poor housing maintenance.

But the area has been transformed in less than a year after residents joined forces with the police safer neighbourhood team and Peddars Way Housing Association and drew up an acceptable behaviour contract.

It is the first time in Norfolk that a whole street has backed this kind of initiative, with most residents signing up voluntarily.

Even those residents who did not formally sign the agreement agreed to adhere to the new rules, which include standards expected within the estate - such as the under-15s curfew and adult supervision when children under 10 are out playing in the street.

Yesterday, residents hailed the scheme's success - the idea now being promoted on streets in Thetford.

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Robert Clisby said: "Things have changed because it was a bit terrorising down here with kids in the street and cars zipping up and down. Once these orders were issued, things started to improve. We've still got a little way to go, but it seems the street as a whole is starting to really pull together now."

Barry Wright, the residents' committee chairman, said a lot of people had dismissed the idea, saying it would never work. But they were proved wrong.

"Since we created the contract, there have been no complaints of anti-social behaviour, the street has really been transformed and the standards of property have dramatically increased. Some families used to be worried about walking around the estate at night, whereas they feel safe now," he said.

PC Kate Watson was tasked by Norfolk police with tackling the problems as part of her role on the newly-created safer neighbourhood teams.

"We had constant complaints from residents on the street about late-night parties and drinking in the street, litter and rubbish and children playing ball games," she explained.

"Norfolk Drive is made up of housing association properties so we got together with Peddars Way and the residents at a meeting early last summer. Some were reluctant to air their views in public, so we then arranged further one-to-ones in the privacy of their own homes."

Skips were provided free of charge for people to clear sofas, mattresses and rubbish out of gardens. The association took action when maintenance issues were reported, and new residents have the contract rules added to their tenancy agreement.