Residents close in on victory as councillors back their gate battle

RESIDENTS campaigning to impose a gating order on a passage in St Ives, which is a night-time trouble hotspot, have received a boost. St Ives Town Council agreed to support a police application to gate the town centre s Cow and Hare Passage at a meeting l

RESIDENTS campaigning to impose a gating order on a passage in St Ives, which is a night-time trouble hotspot, have received a boost.

St Ives Town Council agreed to support a police application to gate the town centre's Cow and Hare Passage at a meeting last Wednesday.

The council recommended the gate be locked on Friday and Saturday nights - plus Sundays on bank holiday weekends - from 11pm-6am.

The passage is recognised as a public right of way and some residents of St Ives, notably from the Civic Society, insist that the route should not be blocked.


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Cambridgeshire County Council will make the final decision on the gate's future in the next six months, with the possibility of installing an electronic lock being considered.

Some town councillors expressed concerns that to lock the gate would simply move trouble elsewhere, but Chief Insp Laura Hunt, of Cambridgeshire police, refuted this. She said: "National research and statistics show that when you disperse an anti-social behaviour hotspot, the problem is not as big in the areas it is dispersed to.

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"We support any initiative that reduces crime and anti-social behaviour in St Ives town centre."

Hartford resident Tony Webster, who owns property in Cow and Hare passage, said he was pleased at the town council's decision to support the application.

"Although the initial application was to lock the gate from 10pm-6am, you need to have some give and take and 11pm is a fair compromise.

"The residents of the passage have had their lives made a misery by drunken louts and it is vital the gate remains locked.

"This battle has been going on for five years but we shall continue to fight."

n The subject of anti-social behaviour in St Ives was also discussed at the meeting. Insp Angus McNeill told the meeting that an order to ban alcohol consumption in the Wheatfields area of the town was being considered.

The Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) would mean police officers and Police Community Support Officers could confiscate alcohol from anyone found drinking on the playing fields.

Sgt Russell Giddings, of the St Ives neighbourhood policing team, said: "We are already tipping so much alcohol down the drains in certain areas of St Ives I'm surprised the fish can still swim.

"We do have some anti-social behaviour orders in place for known ringleaders but this DPPO would give us further powers that we need."

A meeting between representatives from St Ives Town Council and Huntingdonshire Community Safety Partnership is being held today (Wednesday) to discuss the details of the proposal.

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