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Alley gating a ‘last resort’
Tuesday 14th January 2014 @ 08:18 by Max Wieland

Stalybridge Residents hoping to alleygate an alleyway to lock out anti-social behaviour have been told they can’t close off the right of way – despite saying they would pay for most of the work themselves.

Homeowners living near the footpath which runs from Church Bank to Brushes Avenue in Copley say they are faced with regular anti-social problems and police have been called out on numerous occasions.

But at a recent Tameside Council planning meeting residents’ hopes of closing off the footpath with alley gates were rejected,  with councillors saying other options should be explored first and that the answer too often is to restrict the free movement of the public.

One of the effected residents spoke passionately at the meeting, citing numerous incidents that have made his life intolerable over the past seven years.

The Churchbank resident said: “I’ve had to live with a number of problems with the alleyway, ranging from youths smoking and drinking, to litter being dropped and noise at all hours.

“Graffiti is also a regular problem to the extent that I have had to paint my fence three times.

“There is the problem of domestic arguments, especially at weekends, vandals causing disruption to the path, neighbours’ bins being taken from their homes to set on fire, and damage to properties following stones, snowballs and neighbours plants being thrown at windows.

“These are all problems that happen on a regular basis, not just one incident a year.

“Last year a youth urinated all over the streets and that wasn’t a nice thing to see.

“We’ve had neighbours car covered in flour and in all these instances youths have used the alleyway as a meeting point and as a getaway exit.”

The resident added: “A few years ago police tried closing the alleyway, but that didn’t happen due to funding.

“Now as a community, every resident has come together and agreed to contribute to costs with the full backing from ward councillors and police as well.”

Despite further calls from a local councillor and neighbourhood police officer, the panel deemed the order excessive.

Cllr Ellie Shember-Critchley said: “Our answer too often is to restrict the free movement of the public.

“I have heard no other strategies or plans, we just rely on blocking yet another access for pedestrians.”

Cllr Vincent Ricci added: “I think the gating order is a last resort, we should look at other alternatives.”

Ultimately two members voted in favour of the order but six other members voted to refuse the plan.