‘Alleyway of crime’ blocked off for good

TROUBLE-PLAGUED -- the alleyway off Taupo Drive, Hucknall

TROUBLE-PLAGUED -- the alleyway off Taupo Drive, Hucknall

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A TROUBLE-plagued cut-through in Hucknall, dubbed an ‘alleyway of crime’, is set to be closed off permanently — after years of complaints by besieged residents.

The controversial path off Taupo Drive was previously used by vandals to target homes.

It became a ‘rat run’ that provided a convenient access and escape for anti-social yobs.

Householders said their lives were turned upside down with attacks on cars, criminal damage, burglaries and intimidation.

Notts County Council, which is responsible for highways, took action in November 2009 and temporarily blocked off the alleyway.

This order was extended for a further year in January 2010.

Now the green light has been given for it to be blocked off permanently with a locked gate for which only the emergency services and council will have a key.

Coun Mick Murphy (Con), a Hucknall member of the county council, has been campaigning to get the alley closed off permanently for more than a year.

He is lead member for community safety and welcomed the decision to block off the path.

“We are only putting these gates in places where the problems are affecting people’s quality of life,” he said.

“They are not public footpaths. They are ‘rat runs’ for anti-social behaviour and we are not going to tolerate it.”

In a Dispatch investigation in 2009, residents said they had been complaining about the alleyway for years — along with several others in the west of Hucknall.

They said the problems tended to be late at night and went on into the early hours of the morning. The culprits were mainly teenagers.

A report from county council officers states that attempts to deal with the trouble by increasing patrols in the area were unsuccessful before the gates were put up.

It adds: “The council is committed to protecting vulnerable people from anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.”

At the time of the original closure, a pensioner labelled those who used the Taupo Drive alley as “brain-dead zombies”.

He revealed that windows in his home had been smashed, his fence had been damaged and his car attacked.

He added that his only fear was that the problem would now be forced somewhere else.

Now there are calls to take action over similar alleyways, including others on Taupo Drive.

Coun Murphy responded by saying: “Other residents, where there are other footpaths, are in a similar position.

“I visited the road last week and one alleyway was full of broken glass. You couldn’t walk your dog along it or take your child down there. It was too dangerous.

“If that’s how people want to treat these alleyways, then we will close them off.”

OUR PHOTO shows the problem alleyway on Taupo Drive that will now be permanently blocked off — DISPIC 09-2717-3.