May 25 2012

Alley Gates Coming to Northolt Road

As we reported in mid-April, local councillors have confirmed that alley gates are now very likely to go ahead in the service roads which run on the southerly-side of Northolt Road.

Thirteen gates will be installed, covering the section from Roxeth Grove right up to Parkfield Road and every alley in between. The gates will be around six-foot high, spiked on top, and made of galvanised steel. There will be push-button combination locks on each side, and the gates will be self-locking when they’re closed: no padlocks or latches to worry about.

The exact placement of the gates at the end of each alley is to be confirmed: clearly, there is little point in gating if people can still squeeze by, or hop over a low wall, but they’ll be pretty close to end of each alley.

Alley gating is an effective deterrent to fly-tipping, anti-social behaviour and can reduce residential burglary, although other parts of the country have seen crime displaced into other areas. Normally, there would be an expectation of some contribution by residents to the cost of these gates, which would cost around £2000 per gate, although in this case, the cost is being entirely funded by the council.

There are still some kinks to be worked out: a consultation with residents and traders alike needs to take place, and it’s likely that at least some parties will have objections: fast-food delivery shops who use the alleys regularly during the evening are likely to have some concerns, and, of course, leaving the gate open will simply detract from the value of it in the first place. The other problem, yet to be addressed by Harrow Council, is that these alleys are effectively unowned by anyone: the properties fronting Northolt Road don’t own the section behind their back gardens – despite what individual householders might think – and the question of public rights of way remains unanswered – if these alleys have been used for so many years, by so many people, there’s a case to be made that a public right of way exists over them. Harrow Council has refused to respond to any requests that we’ve made to them for clarity on this.

Nonetheless, alley gating is a good thing, and although it depends on those residents to take a little time to shut them, then it could turn be worthwhile.


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