A MOSQUITO alarm which deters teenagers by emitting a high-pitched noise is to be installed outside a Trowbridge community centre.
The alarm is being brought in for a trial at the Longfield Community Centre because of increasing problems of youths damaging the building and kicking footballs up onto the roof.
The Properties Committee of Trowbridge Town Council agreed on Tuesday to spend £489 to trial the Mosquito Alarm, which can only be heard by those people aged up to about 25.
Sally Boyle, who is the co-founder of performance group Starry Eyes, used to use the centre regularly until funding ran out in October.
She does not believe the alarm is the right way forward.
“I think it’s very user-unfriendly. I would have thought the thing to do is make the place user friendly and encourage people to get involved rather than introduce deterrents,” she said.
“When we first started there were young people damaging the building and people were finding it a very unfriendly place to go. When we started Starry Eyes all the community got involved and people were proud of their centre.
“It was working well but we had problems with the funding so we weren’t able to keep it going there. Now it looks like the centre is going downhill.”
She also believes the high-pitched noise might be dangerous to people’s ears.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Trowbridge Town Council properties manager Bill Austin likened the machine to a human cat scarer’ and said although it was aimed at those aged between seven and 17, others would probably be able to hear it.
We have had problems with people deliberately targeting the building and damaging the tiles. We’re not trying to stop them playing football there is a purpose built five-a-side pitch up the road which is open until 9pm,” he said.
It may be an annoyance to those walking along and to visitors and it may be that it is only switched on at night time or from 4pm onwards.
There are some concerns that it disperses people to other areas but there is a possibility it could be used as a mobile system around the town.”
He said that over the last few months a further 64 tiles had been damaged on the building.
Committee chairman Cllr Graham Hedley said: “If we can stop a fraction of that damage it will be worth it.”
The rest of the committee voted unanimously to trial the alarm, which will be placed in the community centre car park.
Author Helen Thomas
Publication Wiltshire Times Online
Date 24 May 2007