Bringing neighbourhoods together as ‘Friends across the Fence’

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How do you deal with an anti-social neighbour? Call the council? Call the police?

A new campaign in southern Oxfordshire is seeking to help residents come to a peaceful resolution to their neighbourhood problems.

Friends Across the Fence has been set up by South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils to offer advice and help to those who might be facing issues of low level anti-social behaviour from their neighbours.

More often than not, the neighbour isn’t aware that their behaviour is a problem and will respond much better to a friendly and polite direct approach than they would a call from the council. This helps maintain healthy and friendly relationships within neighbourhoods.

This isn’t always possible of course and the Friends Across the Fence campaign also explains all the correct avenues to follow if a resident isn’t confident or comfortable with approaching their neighbour.

There is a flowchart on both councils’ websites that explains the best course of action for the main kinds of anti-social behaviour, including relevant contact details should they be required.

The campaign also aims to raise awareness of preventative steps residents can take themselves to help create a happy and harmonious community.

Cllr Bill Service, cabinet member for Community Safety at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We are really keen for residents to find friendly resolutions to their problems, but where they can’t it’s important they know where to turn. Friends Across the Fence is designed to help with that.”

Cllr Bill Jones, portfolio holder for Community Safety at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Quite often, running to the council can inflame a situation rather than help it. This campaign is designed to help residents identify the best way to resolve a problem, whether it’s to talk directly to their neighbour or whether it’s to seek outside assistance.”

Residents who feel they’re suffering anti-social behaviour should visit their council’s website at www.southoxon.gov.uk/friendsacrossthefence or www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/friendsacrossthefence