Security to be stepped up at Exmouth church after district council green light

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 February 2020

Holy Trinity Church at night. Ref exe 4403-52-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Holy Trinity Church at night. Ref exe 4403-52-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Archant

More than half-a-dozen security cameras are set to be installed at a town centre church after planning approval was granted.

Holy Trinity Church, in Rolle Street, lodged the application for seven new CCTV cameras as a way of cracking down on drug dealing and anti-social behaviour on its grounds.

The application, which was supported by the town council, was approved by East Devon District Council planning officers under delegated powers.

The officer's report said: "The main issues in determination of this application are considered to be in relation to the impact of the cameras on the appearance and setting of the listed church."

The district council however did not receive any objections to from their conservation officer or Heritage England.

The report added: "It is considered that there will be minimal visual impact through the installation of the cameras which are seen as a necessary security measure."

According to Robert Souttar, treasurer of the Littleham cum Exmouth Parochial Church Council, Holy Trinity has been the target of petty vandalism and abuse of volunteers inside the church.

He said there have also been incidents of drug dealing outside the church.

Speaking to the Journal last month, Mr Souttar said he wants to see the cameras become a deterrent.

He said: "We already have security lighting, but we have had some petty vandalism and the church, we believe by younger people.

"We have also had problems controlling our car park and when we installed barriers they were also damaged.

"We are very keen to keep the church open during daylight hours for people who want to have a bit of quiet reflection."

Exmouth inspector Antonia Weeks said there is no specific information about drug abuse but Holy Trinity has suffered with criminal damage and rough sleepers.

She said: "Holy Trinity is no different to any other town centre site and it's quite open with public access through it.

"In essence it's like a public park with a church in it.

"I think they had some criminal damage recently and were probably given general crime prevention advice, which includes consideration of CCTV installation."

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