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A step closer to Hatter Lane lockdown

A Boston alley, blighted by anti-social behaviour, has come a step closer to having locked gates at either end.

Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) has recommended the gating order to Boston Borough Council.

Hatter Lane, between West Street and High Street, has had a history of undesirable use including being used as a haunt for street drinkers attracting associated litter and urination and defecation.

Boston Borough Council has made several attempts to dissuade drinkers by using notices and posters, including the psychological effect of a large pair of staring eyes, CCTV, removal of all wheelie bins followed by a deep clean and issue of black bags for a daily refuse collection.

George Bernard, Boston Borough Council's head of environmental operations, said Hatter Lane had continually presented his staff challenges in the 15 years that he had worked for the authority.

And Scott Palmer, director at Boston Sausage, which has a shop backing onto  Hatter Lane, said it had been a constant battle for many years with constant defecation, urinating, drug misuse and littering.

He installed CCTV for the safety of his staff coming to work, who, he said, felt continually threatened when walking down Hatter Lane, and also to try and safeguard his premises against damage.

He said every effort had been made by the council to clean up the area and address the issues but had ultimately failed.

Gating was requested by local businesses and residents, Lincolnshire Police, and councillors. BTAC has recommend to full council that a Public Space Protection Order (restricting public right of way over a highway) is granted for a maximum of three years. A consultation exercise was held and no formal objections to the order were received. All of the residential and business owners and other bodies consulted who responded were in support of the order.

The new Public Space Protection Order - also used recently to introduce a town centre street drinking control zone - is new legislation giving the borough council, for the first time, the power to restrict public rights of way.

The earliest the lane could be locked is June. It will cost up to £1,500 - the full cost met by those residential and business owners affected.

Lincolnshire County Councillor Sue Ransome told BTAC she would contribute towards the cost from her member allocation from the county council's Big Society Fund.