£26k a year key to gate problem

OPENING and closing a gate across a controversial passage in St Ives could cost up to £26,000 a year, according to a new report. Residents in Cow and Hare Passage, which is used by many pedestrians heading to and from the town centre, want the route block

OPENING and closing a gate across a controversial passage in St Ives could cost up to £26,000 a year, according to a new report.

Residents in Cow and Hare Passage, which is used by many pedestrians heading to and from the town centre, want the route blocked at night to prevent anti-social behaviour.

However, estimates suggest it would cost £26,000 per annum to employ someone to manually open and close a gate across the passage. The alternative is providing a locking mechanism, although costs for this have not yet been quantified by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Tony Webster, who has asked Cambridgeshire County Council for a legal order that would allow the passage to be blocked at certain times, has been illegally locking a gate across the passage. He believes the costs for locking a gate are unnecessary.

He said: "It would be crazy to use taxpayers money to pay someone to lock and unlock the gate when residents of the passage will do it for free."

His application for a gating order has support from the Huntingdonshire Anti-Social Behaviour Thematic Group, St Ives police and Huntingdon Community Safety Partnership. St Ives Town Council has also given its conditional support.

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St Ives town and district councillor, John Davies said: "We voted in favour of a gating order in Cow and Hare Passage to support the police and to try to find a compromise for all the residents.

"It is just a shame we can't have more bobbies on the beat to keep an eye on the passage."

But not everyone is in favour of locking the gate. Peggy Seamark, a regular user of the passage told The Hunts Post: "If the passage was gated it would upset a lot of people and benefit only a few."

The issue will be discussed at the Huntingdonshire traffic management area joint committee on March 12 at the Old School Hall in Sawtry. If the application is successful it will be the first time the gating order policy has been used in Cambridgeshire.

INFORMATION: Should the council spend £26,000 a year on having a gate opened and closed? Tell us your views by e-mailing editor@huntspost.co.uk or writing to The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB.

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