'Pathetic and miserable': Criticism over controversial 'crime-reduction' Telford alley gate scheme

Police and the council have reviewed a controversial crime-reduction scheme that has seen gates installed across housing estate alleys.

Alley gates, like this one at Burford, have been installed around Brooskide
Alley gates, like this one at Burford, have been installed around Brooskide

Telford and Wrekin Council, West Mercia Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner launched the Brookside Safer Streets Project, which also includes measures like improved street lighting, CCTV and home security.

Stirchley and Brookside Parish Council members said the newly-installed gates were an inconvenience to law-abiding pedestrians, especially vulnerable and disabled people and criticised the consultation, that took place in November and December.

A spokesperson for the project team said: “We have listened to the local community and some adjustments have now been made to the original plans which should solve some of the problems raised.”

Gates were proposed at 14 locations around Brookside.

A page about the measure at the council’s website says alley-gating is an “effective tool” in areas with heightened burglary and theft rates, and reduces littering and anti-social behaviour.

“Where you have a right of access to the alleyway, the combination to the digital lock will be given to you,” it explains, adding that the code will also be provided to the emergency services, utility companies, council agents and landlords.

Parish Community and Environment Committee chairman Greg Sinclair said the gates had “clearly been very disruptive”.

“There have been more posts on Brookside Chat about alley-gating than I’ve seen on any other topic,” he said.

Councillor Shana Roberts said: “I think the Safer Streets Project Team focussed very specifically on areas and streets that would be immediately impacted by the changes and completely disregarded the wider community impact.

“I’m getting a lot of emails that vulnerable people are impacted by this.”

Complex

Councillor Jackie Loveridge, who also represents Brookside, said: “Also, they’ve had no consideration for the disabled who get around on scooters. If I was to go out now, on mine, I’d have to go to the main road all the way down to get back.”

Cllr Sinclair quoted a Facebook post that he said summed up the situation: “‘They have treated the symptom here, not the cause. This is a pathetic and miserable way to manage these complex issues.'”

Cllr Roberts said some aspects of the scheme were positive, but added: “My overall concern is that the Safer Streets project were so enthusiastic about having this money and making these changes that they just didn’t put it in the right places.”

The project is funded by a £550,000 grant secured by the police, PCC and council from the Home Office.

A spokesperson for the Brookside Safer Streets Project Team said, following the alley-gate installation, “residents raised some concerns that needed addressing”.

She added: “We have listened to the local community and some adjustments have now been made to the original plans which should solve some of the problems.

“This is the first time a project like this has been delivered and we want to work with the communities to improve the areas they live in and welcome engagement.

“If residents have any further concerns about the scheme we encourage them to speak to their local members.”

She added that issues surrounding access codes, displacement and other concerns were addressed in the consultation document, issued to councillors and made public in November.

Cllr Sinclair told the parish council committee meeting – the first held since the gates were installed – that some disgruntled residents were threatening to “take matters into their own hands”.

The project spokesperson pointed out that some of the gates are covered by CCTV, and said police and council officers patrolled the area daily.

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