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Hatter Lane lock down

Hatter Lane is locked down! The trouble-hit Boston alley now has keypad control gates at either end to prevent problems of drinking, drug taking and associated anti-social behaviour.

The move by Boston Borough Council will bring to an end years of blight, with people abusing the alley, leaving behind litter and urinating and defecating.

New powers introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act gave the borough council, for the first time, the ability to "gate" the alley - something which previously only the county council had authority to do.

Gating was requested by local businesses and residents, Lincolnshire Police, and councillors. All of the residential and business owners and other bodies consulted who responded were in support of the order.

The cost has been met by those residential and business owners affected. A donation of £1,000 was made by county and borough councillor Sue Ransome from her county council Big Society Fund.

The gates have keypad access so that those with a reason to use the alley, mainly businesses backing onto it and some residents, can still use it.

Emery Lane, just a few yards away provides a more suitable link for pedestrians between West Street and High Street.

Businessman Scott Palmer, of Boston Sausage, on the corner of High Street and Hatter Lane, welcomed the gating.

He said it had been a constant battle for many years with constant defecation, urinating, drug misuse and littering. He even 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 other effort made by the council to clean up the area and address the issues had failed.

He said: "It has taken a long time to get to this point, about 4 years actually, but I'm pleased to say that it has finally arrived. It is a shame that it has had to come to this but it is the only course of action that will stop the urinating, defecation and constant anti-social behaviour. I would like to thank Sue for her contribution of £1000 from the Big Society Fund and also Peter Hunn who has helped us to push this project forward."

The council had made attempts down the years 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.

Cllr Michael Brookes, Boston Borough Council's portfolio holder for waste services, said: "Hatter Lane presented particular problems because it is too conveniently located for this sort of abuse. It is close to the town centre, little used and very narrow, providing all the right sorts of opportunities for all the wrong sorts of behaviour".

Cllr Stephen Woodliffe, portfolio holder for community safety, added: "The anti-social activities that have been carried out have been distressing for people who live and work in properties along the lane for long enough and gating was the only action not tried that was left available to us. This is sensible and effective use of our new powers and we will continue to use all means at our disposal to control anti-social behaviour."

Cllr Paul Skinner, portfolio holder for the town centre, said: "This council is determined to do all it can to make the town centre a clean, tidy and pleasant place for all who live, work and visit here."

Cllr Sue Ransome said: "I made the decision to donate £1,000 towards the cost when Scott asked me as the county councillor for the area for my help, I was glad to assist. Finding out that there was no Boston Borough Council money available to help with the gating I decided to see if the Big Society Fund would be able to assist, I was very pleased to find that I could donate a portion of this to them."

Hatter Lanes gates Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
From left, Cllr Stephen Woodliffe, Scott Palmer, Cllr Sue Ransome and Cllr Michael Brookes