THE latest murder in Boscombe is yet another setback in the campaign to improve the image of an area blighted by drugs, social deprivation and housing problems.

Last year it was revealed that central Boscombe is probably the most deprived area in the South West of England.

Research published at the end of October revealed that life expectancy for residents was the worst across the whole of Bournemouth with 27 per cent of people in Boscombe living with a limiting long-term illness.

It said that more than a third of adults smoke and 28 per cent of adults are obese.

The report also said that just 15 per cent of residents said they felt safe outside after dark and anti-social behaviour had risen by seven per cent in central Boscombe in 2010.

The research was commissioned by Bournemouth 2026 – a partnership of voluntary, community and faith organisations, private companies and public services – to identify the main problems in Boscombe and try to make things better.

A Backing Boscombe campaign was launched by the Daily Echo in partnership with Boscombe Regeneration Partnership and Bournemouth 2026 to combat the problems of poor housing, high crime rates, low levels of education and high unemployment levels.

Recent initiatives include targeted housing inspections, a newly launched arts and craft bazaar, the vintage market, improvements to Boscombe Crescent, a ‘talent’ scheme for new businesses and the redevelopment of the old BCCA site with an arts hub and affordable family housing. Dave Wells , Bournemouth’s biggest landlord, said: “It is a real shame that something has happened there again because a lot of work has gone into making Roumelia Lane better.

“None of the shops are vacant and people want to live there. It’s not got the problems that Christchurch Road and the Crescent has.”

Helene Bowman Brown, chairman of The Friends of Roumelia Lane, said: “It is really sad that somebody has lost their life.

“It’s just sad that it’s come to this – the second time in 18 months. Something needs to be done.”

The Echo reported how traders complained just weeks before the killing that the police presence on the lane has dropped as officers get diverted away from community work.

One Roumelia Lane resident and trader wrote on the Echo’s website yesterday: “I am dismayed to see this further incident virtually on my doorstep.

“The council and the police have to work far harder in making this area safe for residents and businesses, the usual comment of ‘it’s an isolated incident’ is no longer good enough.

“Sometimes I walk out my door and 50 per cent of people in the immediate vicinity are either alcoholics or drug users.”

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