Alleyways on Lodge Park estate could be blocked-off under council proposals

The council has launched two consultations after complaints from local residents

By Kate Cronin
Monday, 14th March 2022, 6:10 am

Pedestrian footpaths in two areas of Corby could be blocked off under new proposals.

North Northamptonshire Council has launched two public consultations to ask locals for their views on closing the alleys at Surrey Close and Laxton Close in Corby.

Locked gates would provide a barrier at each end of the Surrey Close path, and at each end of the path between 21 and 23 Laxton Close. A second alley between 16 and 24 Laxton Close would also be blocked off in the middle.

The Surrey Close proposal would close the alleyway on to Cottingham Road

The gates would be permanently closed and only accesible by the emergency services and the council.

Council community safety officers say the Public Spaces Protection Orders will tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the area. But some locals say that closing the alleys could have a big impact on their lives and that they are not convinced of the claims that at least one of the paths is a crime hotspot.

The consultations state that the council is satisfied 'the activities identified have been carried out in public places' and that they have had a 'detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality'.

No specific issues are described in the order although it is believed that the activities complained about by locals include illegal motorbike use, drug dealing and rowdy behaviour.

This alleyway would also be closed in Laxton Close

Crime stats for the areas show four incidences of anti-social behaviour during the past year close to the Surrey Close alleyway. Crime stats for Laxton Close are not publicly recorded on the police's crime website.

Rotraut Anderson, 90, has lived in Surrey Close for 50 years. While she can still drive herself to and from the supermarket, to her regular art group and to the library, she doesn't know whether her eyesight will allow her to do so for much longer. At that point, she will be reliant on the Spar shop at the Shell Garage in Cottingham Road and on the bus to which stops directly at the end of the alleyway.

She can walk with two sticks, but only for short distances. She fears the alley-gate will take away her independence.

"If they block the alleyway and I have to walk all the way round Cambridge Avenue and Dorset Road then I won't be able to make it," she said.

Some locals say there have been ongoing issues with anti-social behaviour in the Surrey Close alley. There would be a permanently locked gate at each end.

"It may not be a lot further for someone who is young and fit but it is for me, and for other elderly people who live in the street.

"This issue has been raised before, years ago, at the Lodge Park Tenants and Residents Committee, and they rejected it.

"There was an initial proposal to put gates on the alley with keys for residents but I wouldn't have been able to open them while using my sticks.

"I haven't experienced any anti-social behaviour here and if there is a problem, then it's up to the police to solve it. They shouldn't push that policing problem on to vulnerable people."

There would be a gate at each end of this alley

Her friend and neighbour, who did not wish to be named, has lived in the street so long that she remembers when there was a farm at the end of the road that was later used as a council depot.

She said she was not in favour of the alley being closed.

"I think it will become somewhere people just throw their rubbish," she said.

"Who's going to get that rubbish out?"

The orders last for three years but could be extended further after that period is ended. Anyone breaking the order can be subject to a fixed-penalty notice.

Ionuit Dumitru, who lives close to the alleyway between 16 and 24 Laxton Close, said: "I use it for going to Pytchley Court shops. I don't mind if they close it, t's not so far to walk around but I think it makes it safer if there are more people passing through. Otherwise it can be dangerous for women."

The blocked alley is shown at the bottom left of this map

You can view the proposed orders and find out how to have your say on the council's website here: Laxton Close order and Surrey Close order.

The locations of the gates in Laxton Close are shown on this map