Crime fears in Silverdale over plans to reopen footpath
FAMILIES are putting their houses up for sale in protest at plans to reopen a nearby footpath amid fears it will lead to an increase in vandalism.
Neighbours in Treacle Row, Silverdale, have complained to Newcastle Borough Council about the opening of the short cut.
The track, which has been fenced off for several years, will provide villagers with access to a cul-de-sac and across private drives.
Steve Heath, a self-employed worker from Treacle Row said: "It is terrible. None of the residents want this to go ahead and it is causing a lot of them to put their houses up for sale. It is disturbing people's lives and making them unhappy."
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The path would lead from Moffatt Way, past the former Parksite Social Club and into Scot Hay Road.
Houses were built on the former social club site in 2004 after planning permission was granted. But the pedestrian access was fenced off.
Despite that residents have had to install CCTV cameras and use anti-vandal paint to stop anti-social behaviour.
They claim youngsters have jumped over the fence and caused havoc, smashing up a Mercedes with bricks and stealing lead out of porches.
And residents fear the new pathway will make the situation worse.
Claire Wilson, aged 37, a project manager, has lived in Treacle Row for five years.
She said: "We asked the builders when we moved in about the path and they said it would stay shut.
"We want it to stay as it is and are hoping the council can give us reassurance that it won't change." She added: "I would never have bought this house if I had known the path would be used."
The neighbours have even offered to buy the land from builder Gladedale and turn it into a community garden.
David Elkington, of Staff- ordshire Police said the link "would be likely to create problems for the residents of Treacle Row, either of an anti-social or criminal nature".
If the fence remained up intruders would be 'more reluctant to enter and residents would more easily identify outsiders and report suspicious behaviour'.
But councillors are all set to sanction the removal of the fence.
Councillor Eddie Boden, Cabinet member for planning, regeneration and town centres, said reasons included increasing access to bus services and shops. "No evidence was provided to support crime concerns," he added.
"Gladedale gained permission to build the estate on the basis that an agreed footpath link and ramp would be included and that any fencing would be approved – and to date it has not been.
"Unless the fence is removed voluntarily the next step would be to consider enforcement action."