Bid to block the nuisance alleys

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Nuisance alleyways which help breed crime and anti-social behaviour could be shut under proposals being considered next week.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Problem alleyways which help breed crime and anti-social behaviour could be shut under proposals being considered next week.

Plans by Norfolk County Council to use new powers to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour are set to be discussed by councillors.

A number of private alleyways in Norfolk have been successfully 'gated'. But now a report to the council's cabinet on Monday recommends the council use new powers to cut crime by restricting access for the first time to alleyways which are part of the public highway in pilot areas in Great Yarmouth and Norwich.

The report stresses that residents would be consulted before closures are made and that there would have to be hard evidence that the closure was required.

But it points out: "The gating of privately-owned alleys has been one of the ways of tackling crime - and particularly burglary - and anti-social behaviour affecting urban areas.

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"Following initial success it was recognised that not only did the schemes represent good value for money, they also provided additional benefits including residents taking more responsibility for opening and shutting the gates and, in some cases, led to the development of Neighbourhood Watch schemes.

"Gates have proved to be a successful method of reducing crime, anti-social behaviour and have improved public reassurance."

Reports on where the schemes could operate in Yarmouth and Norwich will be put before councillors in both locations during the summer with pilots up and running by early in the New Year.