‘Promises broken’ over alley gates as residents told money no longer available

Bury Times: Front left is Laura Farmes with Cllr Rishi Shori. Also pictured are Cllr Tony Isherwood and Cllr Tony Cummings, back left and right, with other residents. The Tesco Express is in the background. Front left is Laura Farmes with Cllr Rishi Shori. Also pictured are Cllr Tony Isherwood and Cllr Tony Cummings, back left and right, with other residents. The Tesco Express is in the background.

PROMISES to reduce antisocial behaviour by gating alleys around a Radcliffe estate have been broken, say angry residents.

Bury Council granted planning permission for Irwell Valley Housing to gate various ginnels around the Water Lane area in 2011 — but the gates have still not be installed.

Now Irwell Valley has told councillors that funding to install the gates is no longer available.

Residents claim anti-social behaviour is a serious problem on the Water Lane estate, with one alley, which lies opposite a supermarket, a frequent escape route for shoplifters.

Tracey Farmes, of Water Lane, said: “The estate and the alleys between the houses are very dark. We believe these alley gates would very much deter anti-social behaviour and crime.

Edith Ainsworth, also of Water Lane, added: “Undesirables keep coming through the alleys and we do not feel safe.”

In 2011, permission for the scheme was granted by Bury Council after no objections from residents were lodged, while the council’s traffic management unit also recommended the proposals be introduced.

It was suggested seven gates be installed in the full length of the alleyway behind Melton Street and alleys adjacent to Melton Row, Water Lane and Smyrna Street.

One ginnel, near Melton Walk, was gated by the housing association about four years ago, although no permission was sought from Bury Council on that occasion.

Bury Council documents from 2012 say: “Irwell Valley has undertaken consultation with the residents which has revealed the majority are in favour of alley gating. The association has indicated that funding is available for the work.”

Cllr Rishi Shori said: “I’m disappointed by Irwell Valley’s actions in failing to meet its commitment to install alley gates.

“They would make a tremendous difference to the lives of residents in reducing instances of anti-social behaviour, a position which is supported by the police.

“Residents on the Water Lane estate simply want what they are entitled to and what their rent pays for — a safer place to live.”

Councillors have also received correspondence from Paul Bradshaw, deputy manager of Tesco Express in Water Street, supporting the gating the ginnel opposite the store.

A police spokesman added: “At the moment shoplifters exit the store and run across Water Street, dodging traffic and putting their lives at risk, before disappearing into the estate opposite, where it can be difficult to catch them.”

Following a meeting with Irwell Valley, Cllr Shori and his fellow Radcliffe West councillors are set to undertake fresh consultation in partnership with the association. Correspondence between Irwell Valley and councillors revealed the funding for the project has now been spent elsewhere.

In an email last month, Mark Shaw, of Irwell Valley, said that by the time the order had been approved, the budget which had been carried over for two years had been withdrawn.

He added: “We now don’t have the funding to complete the manufacturing and installation of the gates at Water Lane.”

A spokeswoman for Irwell Valley added that the housing association had never reneged on the proposal to install alley gates — and blamed an objection from a resident for the delay.

She said: “Gating planning permission was submitted for approval in September, 2011. A resident’s objections delayed the proposal being approved.

“The resident has since withdrawn the objections, but the necessary time taken to address these has meant the initial budget to install alley gates was not allocated to this current financial year.”

The spokeswoman said there had been no further complaints of anti-social behaviour and “substantial improvements”, such as better street lighting and fencing and gating to bin store areas, had been undertaken.

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