Alleygates installed to combat anti-social behaviour in Stoke-on-Trent face removal
ALLEYGATES installed to combat crime and anti-social behaviour could be removed under a council review.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is investigating whether there is enough evidence to show eight sets of gates are still needed.
The authority has made 65 'gating orders' across the city between 2006 and 2012.
Most came about following complaints from residents about crime, anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.
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The lockable gates are usually installed at either end of an alley, and only residents in neighbouring properties are given a key.
The council has reviewed all its alleygates and most will remain unchanged, and be looked at again in three years.
However, further investigation will be carried out into eight gating orders because evidence suggests they may require varying or revoking.
These include five sets of gates to the rear of Oldfield Street in Fenton and one off Short Bambury Street, Longton.
Two Hanley locations – one off Parliament Row and another behind Lowther Street – are also being further reviewed.
The council will now investigate crime statistics and consult residents and police about the future of the gates.
The Oldfield Street neighbourhood has 10 gates blocking off five alleyways between houses. They were installed in 2009, at a cost of £10,626, after a campaign by Neighbourhood Watch members.
The alleys were previously a magnet for fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour, as well as petty thieves, who targeted residents' backyards.
Neighbourhood Watch chairman Joyce Hughes, who led the campaign to get the gates installed, was concerned to learn they were under review.
The 76-year-old said: "I would be very annoyed if the council took them out because they have helped tremendously. They are still very necessary."
Roni Minshall, aged 52, of Bute Street, said: "The alleygates are the only type of protection we have on that alley. It deters any kind of criminal activity.
"My house is on the corner and I got burgled – had it not been for those alley gates I believe they would have stolen a lot more than they did."
If Staffordshire Police refuse to support the varying or revocation of a gating order, a public inquiry would have to be held.
A police spokesman said the gates were useful in tackling anti-social behaviour.
She said: "We work closely with our partners, including Stoke-on-Trent City Council, to tackle the issues that matter most to residents.
"Alley gates are in use at a number of locations across the city and are helping to make a difference and reassure residents."
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transportation, said: "The review has taken place on advice previously issued by the Home Office.
"The purpose of the review was to present an outline of the gating orders made between 2007 and 2012 and to provide a clear assessment of their effectiveness in helping to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
"This information will allow the council to decide whether to revoke, vary or leave the orders as they are.
"The eight locations need further investigation to judge their effectiveness. This will involve looking at more detailed crime statistics, formal consultation with police and if required, a full public consultation."