Life on a West London estate where delivery drivers were once too scared to enter has improved a lot, even if petty crime still exists, residents have said. The Willow Tree Lane in Yeading was once considered one of the roughest estates in London, with those living there reporting high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.
A campaign by Hillingdon Council and the police to tackle housing problems, parking, crime, community safety, licensing and anti-social behaviour has brought a sense of pride to the area known officially as the Yeading Green Estate.
Estate residents have said that, although crime and anti-social behaviour still exists, life has improved hugely. In 2018, it was reported that delivery drivers were too scared to enter the estate after being attacked and food and money stolen.
Four years on, it seems the drivers are happy to visit Willow Tree Lane. When visiting, the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) saw three food delivery drivers dropping orders off on the estate. One parcel delivery driver who wished to remain anonymous said he had had no problems on the estate and described it as “fine”.
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According to Jesse, 18, who grew up on the estate, it has noticeably improved in the last few years: “Five years ago [the estate] was worse but now it has got better. Everyone knows everyone and it’s not so bad.
“You don’t hear so much about knife crime or violence any more, it’s quite quiet. A few years back you used to see police cars around here but not so much any more. You see quite a few delivery drivers too nowadays.”
Many residents who spoke to the LDRS said the estate had become quieter and friendlier in recent years. Shefa Jabir, who moved there three years ago, said her neighbour had recommended the area because of how quiet it was. She added: “It’s a quiet area and people are friendly. It’s okay and haven’t experienced anything problematic here.”
Mother of two Laura Field has lived there for ten years and said that while things had improved, there were still parts of the estate people knew to avoid. She said: “The estate has got much better. It depends on where you go really. I have lived here for ten years and it’s alright. I feel safe walking around at night.
“I find it fine although others would say it’s a bit dangerous because it’s meant to be one of the rough areas of London.”
Some residents pointed out crime still persisted. Zainulla Qreshi, who has lived on the estate for over five years, said: “This is a very dangerous area. I try not to go out at night and sit quietly at home.
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“There’s a car park nearby where groups of ten or twenty people hang out sometimes and they will steal your money. I have had two mobile phones stolen but I don’t call the police any more. The police don’t do anything.”
Mr Singh, manager of A1 Food and Wine on the corner of the estate acknowledged petty crime was still a problem. He said: “We sometimes get trouble from the estate. People come in and shoplift: bottles, anything they can try and hide. But on the whole it’s alright.”
According to statistics published by the Metropolitan Police, the level of crime in Yeading decreased between April 2019 and December 2021, with a peak of 619 crimes committed in the area between April and June 2020 falling to 341 between October and December 2021. In 2021, a total of 384 incidents of anti-social behaviour were reported to the police alongside 401 violent or sexual offences.
A spokesperson for Hillingdon Council said: “We don’t recognise the description of the Yeading Green Estate as a location in the borough with any sort of notoriety. To help keep residents safe, we carry out targeted fortnightly ‘problem-solving days’ using a range of council teams (covering housing, parking, trading standards, community safety, licensing and ASB) working jointly with the police, across different wards in the borough.
“We’ve also invested in CCTV to improve safety, with 21 cameras covering open spaces in Yeading and many more across the ward’s estates.”
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