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Youths and residents set for peace talks
YOUTHS will come face to face with residents who have accused them of making their lives hell at a meeting on Thursday designed to make peace.
More than 500 invitations have been hand delivered to households around the Gunthorpe estate, Marlow, where police were operating a 'dispersal zone' last year.
Since it ended, mediator Dr David O'Halloran has been working with residents and youngsters in a fresh approach to find a resolution to the troubles.
The extent of the problems were laid bare at a public meeting, attended by police, councillors in November, where angry and upset residents spoke passionately about the anti-social behaviour that has blighted their lives.
Dr O'Halloran has been encouraged by the reaction he has had - both from youths and residents and expects a good turnout at the meeting. Reports to police have dropped in recent times.
He said: "I'm expecting some pretty volatile language but I still think this is the best way to go and it goes some way to bringing closure."
He said it was about giving the youths, in particular, a different perspective to make them realise what effect their behaviour has had on residents - but also for youngsters to give their accusers their own point of view.
He said: "Here is a community at war but if the warring factions can come to a meaningful understanding then people can live in harmony, knowing their property is protected and their kids can grow up in a safe environment.
"It will be clear that no one can make accusations towards individuals but they will be encouraged to say how they've felt and how it's affected them."
Dr O'Halloran, an unpaid volunteer from Mediation Bucks, visited 34 houses randomly chosen around the Gunthorpe estate. He said 22 felt the problems had lessened since his work began, with eight feeling there was no difference and two thinking it was worse.
He has put forward a raft of measures in a report written for council and police bosses including CCTV and creating more opportunities and activities to get the youths off the street.
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