‘It wasn’t nice for customers so we had to move’ – Stevenage shop owner says drug dealing and anti-social behaviour forced her to relocate

Clare Glenister says she was forced to relocate her shop due to anti-social behaviour.

Clare Glenister says she was forced to relocate her shop due to anti-social behaviour. - Credit: Archant

A shop owner who says she was forced to relocate her business due to anti-social behaviour believes the problem will never go away.

A shop owner who says she was forced to relocate her business due to anti-social behaviour believes the problems will be hard for the police and council to solve.

Clare Glenister opened The Fitting Room in The Oval, on Vardon Road in Stevenage, in May 2015 and was excited to see how her bra and swimwear business would grow.

However, last month Clare relocated her business to Market Place in the town centre, after she says anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhood shopping precinct left her with no alternative but to move on.

She said: “I feel I have been forced out because of the drug dealing and anti-social behaviour that seemed to be a daily occurrence in the area outside my shop, the police used to pop in and see us when we first opened, but they stopped coming earlier in the year and they installed unmanned CCTV cameras instead.”

“I have started again and relocated to the town centre at huge expense to myself, as I am self-employed, but I didn’t feel I had any choice.

“Sales had started to decline because people had been put off coming in because of groups of people hanging around outside the shop, we would ask them to move on but my staff have been verbally abused for doing this and we even had one guy follow a lady into my shop and ask her for money.

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“I just wanted to be able to run my shop in peace and make a living, but I was not able to do this at The Oval. The location of our shop seemed to be an issue because it was out of view of the CCTV cameras and so the groups would hang around there.

“It wasn’t nice for customers visiting so we had to move elsewhere.”

She added: “I don’t think the police or council will ever be able to stop the anti-social behaviour because of the size of the problem.

“I understand from customers I have spoken to that the problem has always been there.”

Insp Simon Tabert from Herts police said: “This year we have prioritised anti-social behaviour at The Oval and issued a number of Community Protection Notice warning letters and full CPN’s to the most persistent individuals who were having a detrimental effect on the community by their behaviour.

“The problem remains a priority issue for my officers in the Safer Neighbourhood Team.

“They will continue to conduct plain clothes and uniformed patrols with the aim of reducing the problem.”

To report anti-social behaviour, you can call Herts police on 101