Hatter Lane transformed
A small boy pedalling his bicycle up and down Hatter Lane is proof of the transformation of one of Boston's most desperate trouble spots.
Hatter Lane gated: From left, Cllr Stephen Woodliffe, Boston Borough Council's community safety portfolio holder, Scott Palmer of Boston Sausage, Cllr Sue Ransome, and Cllr Michael Brookes, the council's waste services portfolio holder.
Until recently the lane was the shadowy haunt of drinkers and drug addicts, keeping company with rats among the debris and detritus which included bottles, cans, urine and faeces from human defecation.
After all other attempts at reducing anti-social behaviour in Hatter Lane had failed, the alleyway was locked down by Boston Borough Council in August. Keypad-controlled gates were installed at either end under new powers introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act.
One of those most affected by the previous troubles was Boston Sausage, which has its shop on the corner of the lane at its junction with High Street. Proprietor Scott Palmer had campaigned for a solution and this week he said: "There has been a total transformation in Hatter Lane. The gates have worked. There are no longer people drinking, urinating or defecating in the lane and my staff now feel safe walking along there.
"I have actually seen a little boy from one of the properties riding his bike up and down the lane, something that was unthinkable before the gates were installed. It was lovely to see."
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.
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."