The leafy Bristol suburb that doesn’t tolerate anti-social behaviour
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You would be hard pressed to find a more perfect example of leafy suburbia than Westbury-on-Trym.
With its excellent local amenities, range of state and private schools, fully functioning library and a picture perfect park complete with tennis courts, playground, ponds and alfresco cafe, this corner of BS9 is one of Bristol’s most desirable neighbourhoods.
Walk around the streets near Canford Park and you’ll see the Teslas and the 4x4s parked on long driveways. Many houses are nudging the £1m mark - there’s currently a detached bungalow on the market for a cool £875,000 and a four-bed semi will set you back £845,000.
And it’s relatively crime-free, too. Figures from Avon & Somerset Police reveal there were just two anti-social behaviour crimes reported in the Canford Park area of Westbury-on-Trym between June 2021 and May 2022.
To put that into perspective, there were 885 reported in the city centre and Queen Square area over the same period, and 202 around Filwood Broadway in Knowle West.
“As far as anti-social behaviour goes, we’ve had a couple of problems in the park - just people drinking - and they were soon sorted out. Apart from that, it’s a lovely area to live in,” former police officer Hugh tells me outside Canford Park with its polite ‘please shut the gate’ signs.
Hugh has lived in the area since 1994 but when he was working for the police, he was stationed at Southmead and Knowle West so he has first-hand experience of Bristol’s anti-social behaviour crimes.
“We do get criminals coming in and out of Westbury-on-Trym, but not too much, touch wood,” he tells me. “They’ll come through from sink estate because this is quite an affluent area - I’ve been burgled once, but that was many years ago.”
Hugh’s partner Lisa adds: “People close ranks when it comes to crime around here. We’ve got the neighbourhood app so if there’s a problem, people report and share it with neighbours. Our neighbours are really good and we all look after each other around here.”
Enjoying the afternoon sun on a park bench are Ness and Ralph, who live in Stoke Bishop but enjoy Canford Park. Having lived both sides of the river, they also recognise the divide in Bristol when it comes to anti-social behaviour.
Ness says: “Compared with certain places south of the river where I was born, it’s very low level around here.
“I think a lot of people move here because of the low crime but also the schools. We rent our house but you would need a fair amount of money to live here - but then you have to have a lot of money to live in most parts of Bristol now.”
Ralph says they feel a lot safer visiting Canford Park than other green spaces around the city.
“You can walk here easily and compared to other parks, you never see the empty NOS (nitrous oxide) canisters on the floor.”
In the row of local shops on Canford Lane, family-run haberdashers Pins & Needles has been open for more than 30 years.
Shop assistant Tina tells me she feels ‘lucky’ to live and work in the area and that she has rarely encountered any trouble.
“We’ve had a couple of alcoholics drinking at the bus stops but apart from that, I’ve not come across any anti-social behaviour around here other than a few children on their bikes during the school holidays.
“People let each other know when there’s trouble in BS9. I feel lucky living here, I love it. I did move out once but didn’t like it so came back.
“It’s getting more popular with young families, including lots from London. We feel very blessed to live here.”