Surgery car park has to install FENCES after it becomes 'a prostitution hotspot'

Reading car park fenced off after it becomes prostitution hotspot <i>(Image: James Aldridge, Local Democracy Reporting Service)</i>
Reading car park fenced off after it becomes prostitution hotspot (Image: James Aldridge, Local Democracy Reporting Service)

A READING doctors' surgery has had to install fences to stop its car park from being used by sex workers and drug users, the Chronicle understands. 

Western Elms Surgery, just off Oxford Road, has reportedly become something of a hotspot for prostitution with tresspassers reported at he site and evidence of drug taking found, according to the local health trust.

Thames Valley Police have previously patrolled the avenue and the area surrounding the surgery amid reports individuals engaging in prostitution and associated drug use.

Now the situation has got so bad the surgery has installed fencing and gating to mark the boundary around the car park in a bid to stop it from being misused.

The fence is 1.80 metres tall, and a total of four gates have been added, with a single gate to the front, a single gate to the side of the surgery, and two vehicle gates added.

The fencing and gating has been installed recently, as none of the installations appear in the latest Google Map imagery from November last year.

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A concerned member of the public contacted the newspaper after reports of sex workers and their clients using the surgery car park for illicit activities.

The fencing and gating has been installed after the surgery won planning approval for the security measures in September last year.

The surgery’s planning consultants Integrated Building Consultancy Ltd argued the measures were needed to deter trespassers.

Advocating for the scheme, the consultants said:  “There is ongoing issue with trespassing into the grounds and gardens of the surgery.

“There is already security gates immediately adjacent to the main entrance of the building but the remainder of the site is enclosed only by low walls and hedging.

“The Practice is proposing to erect fencing around the boundary of the site.

“The practice has suffered for a number of years from trespassers both during the day and outside of normal working hours.

“It is clear from the debris left that some of the trespassers are drug users.

“It is completely unacceptable for sharps and other drug related paraphernalia to be left in a sensitive medical location such as this, where children and vulnerable people visit.”

The security measures were approved after the surgery applied for them in December 2021.

You can view the approved fencing by typing reference 212033 into the council’s planning portal.

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A spokesperson for the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Surgery has been given planning permission to erect a fence around the car park to provide a secure place for patients and visitors to leave their vehicles when visiting the surgery.

“As is usual practice, the car park is closed and locked when the surgery is not open and patients do not need to use it.”

Prostitution in the UK is only legal indoors.

Soliciting prositution outdoors and ‘kerb crawling’ – looking for paid sex in a vehicle- is illegal.

Furthermore,  it is illegal to buy sex from a person under 18 where the perpetrator does not reasonably believe they are 18 or over, and in England and Wales, it is illegal to to pay for sex with a sex worker who has been “subjected to force.”