Prospect Place gating 'is a cry for help'
SIR - Whatever the rights and wrongs of the decision by local residents to gate Prospect Place in Newport, it does seem to highlight a crisis of confidence in the ability of the local Police to deal with the situation effectively. The residents have clear
SIR - Whatever the rights and wrongs of the decision by local residents to gate Prospect Place in Newport, it does seem to highlight a crisis of confidence in the ability of the local Police to deal with the situation effectively.
The residents have clearly had their fill of anti-social behaviour of a kind which has occurred - and been resolved elsewhere in Newport and beyond - by pro-active policing with the support of the local community. The bridge at Town Walk, the archway at Church Grove, the play area at St Johns Lane, Newport Road and of course in Rock Park have been targeted effectively in the past and are still being monitored today.
Quite how the problems of Prospect Place could be "under the police radar" beggars belief especially now that there are three dedicated officers patrolling Newport.
Even more worrying is the draconian warning given by the Police Architectural Liaison Officer to members of Barnstaple Town Council prior to hearing the views of the residents and the Ramblers' representative at their meeting last week.
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If there is a debate over the status of the lane as a Public Right of Way he says the Police will object to the County Council considering the application, and would force a public inquiry with an independent inspector making a recommendation to the Secretary of State on the issue.
If the Secretary of State, no less, was to designate the lane as a Right of Way, the Police would "immediately submit an application to gate this private road under section 118B Highways Act 2006". What price democracy in this context?
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His heavy handed approach allows no room for manoeuvre, no compromise, no negotiation. It is not the first time that such a bombastic attitude has blighted Newport, for the plans to re-develop the St Joseph's site off Landkey Road was delayed for years while he had an arm-wrestle with the County Council over his wish to extinguish another public footpath.
Such an approach will eventually lead us to life led in gated compounds cut off from the rest of the community, unable to walk to the shops, and more dependent on the car even to do short journeys because of the obstructions in the way.
The gating is a cry for help in resolving the issues that have been identified. It is time for the responsible authorities to play their part in finding positive solutions that respect everyone's interests both there and wherever similar situations arise.
(Barnstaple Town Councillor,