WILL the Kingsland area be the next anti-social behaviour hotspot once Ballyholme Beach’s troubles get sorted out?
That’s what area residents fear, as that part of Bangor’s seafront is already the scene of regular late-night underage boozing and vandalism.
Householders say that a patch of land between residential homes and Kingsland pitch and putt golf course, which overlooks Ballyholme Bay, has become a youth drinking den in summer months.
And just like has infamously been the case at the beach’s Bank Lane car park, parents have been seen dropping off their kids with drink in tow at weekends.
Householders who live near the site say they’re kept awake by hollering kids and loud music, while just a few days ago a large section of a fence in the area was kicked down by drunken teens.
Right now, the problem isn’t anywhere near as bad as the issues at Ballyholme Beach over the past few months, not least as there’s no car park on the site.
That means the racing and revving engines that have hit Bank Lane aren’t being repeated at Kingsland, while the crowds of kids are so far smaller than those heading to the beach.
But with the council vowing to tackle the issue at Bank Lane, hoping to put teens off by building automatic gates or retractable bollards to block access to the car park, Kingsland residents fear that those troublemakers will relocate to join the problem partiers already bedevilling their area.
“A lot of what we’re seeing is very similar to what’s going on in Bank Lane,” said one resident, who asked to remain nameless.
“There’s young ones drinking into the early hours, often left off there by their parents who hand them drink; there’s loud noise and music right through, sometimes you can hear fights, and they use people’s gardens and hedges as a toilet.
“Now they’ve taken to attacking this fence near the pitch and putt course too.”
The resident said that locals have reported the issue to the authorities, without any lasting solution.
“A patrol car will come round and it’ll quieten down, but once the patrol car’s gone the party’s back in full swing,” he said.
“The big worry for us is that the council sort out Bank Lane, and then the youths there see Kingsland as their second choice. It’s bad enough already, it needs sorting out here too.”
When the council debated methods of tackling the Ballyholme Beach anti-social behaviour earlier this month, politicians were keen to emphasise that the problem needs to be stamped out, and not simply pushed to another location.
Officials are currently putting together a list of practical options that could be employed to do so.