Alleyways consultation starts for Wellingborough residents to reduce 'rat runs'

The consultation continues until October 21

By Alison Bagley
Friday, 25th September 2020, 2:10 pm
Updated Friday, 25th September 2020, 2:12 pm

A town-wide consultation has started for Wellingborough residents on the introduction of a new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that proposes to gate some of the town's public alleyways.

Part of an Office of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC) project aimed at reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, people living in the Isebrook and Victoria wards can have their say on the gating initiative.

The consultation takes place alongside one to renew a PSPO for dog control and another to tackle anti-social behaviour issues including aggressive begging and anti-social drinking in the town centre.

Criss-crossing behind many Victorian terraced homes, some alleyways have become hotspots for crime, graffiti, fly-tipping, littering, anti-social behaviour, overgrown vegetation and rats.

Street Watch campaigner and resident Marion Turner-Hawes, who has been asking for the gates to be installed, said: "We have been pushing for the alleyways to be gated.

"There are two types. Private alleyways and public alleyways that are owned by the county council's highways who are responsible for them.

"The alleyways are used for crimes - break-ins in back yards and sheds and drug dealing. We see people just hanging around in the alleyways dealing.

One of the alleyways

"We could close down the alleyways and force them out into the open. It will help the residents to reclaim the area."

Streets in the area include: Palk Road, Knox Road, Winstanley Road, Colwell Road, Chace Road, Mill Road, Cromwell Court, and Newcomen Road.

Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold’s office applied to the Home Office for funding for the gate up from the Safe Streets Fund back in March.

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Map showing the alleyways

Residents, businesses owners and visitors to Wellingborough will be able to join in the consultation.

Mrs Turner-Hawes, who is the organiser of the Castle Fields Street Watch area group that litter pick in the alleyways, added: "Areas that have been abandoned like the alleyways attract vandalism.

"If we can cut off these rat runs for crime it's one tool in the toolbox to help communities. Everyone need to take a bit more responsibilty. Police and PSCOs can't be there all the time."

Tony Aslam, Victoria ward councillor, said: "The residents say that they can't wait. They have been wanting this to happen for years. I'm 110 per cent behind this.

"They want to be safe. There's drug dealing, needles, poo, fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour and there's some very big rats."

Using a grant from the Home Office, the £545,700 will see the installation of security gates as well as enhanced CCTV and home security packages for all homes in the Victoria and part of the Isebrook ward.

Paul Golley, delivery manager for crime reduction and operation for the Nothamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: "Everyone will get basic home security pack with 25 per cent of the homes most at risk receiving extra help.

"Alley gates are a well-known way to reduce crime. We want to balance free movement of access with security."

To take part in the consultation click here.

All comments received during the consultation period, which runs until 12 noon on October 21, will be considered and be used in informing the final Public Spaces Protection Orders.

PSPOs can be used to regulate activities in particular public places that can have a detrimental effect on the local community. They can help by giving local councils and the police additional powers to tackle anti-social behaviour in specific locations.

Failure to comply with a PSPO could result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100 or prosecution. Anyone breaching the order is committing a criminal offence and is liable to summary conviction to a maximum penalty of a Level 3 fine (currently £1,000).

It is up to each local authority to determine which behaviours they include in a PSPO.

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