New gates lock out crime

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New gates have been erected as part of a bid to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in a Mansfield town centre alley.

The new gates will allow police and local businesses to close off Clerkson’s Alley, which runs between Clumber Street and the Market Place.

The area is used as a busy cut-through by shoppers during the day, but had become a hotbed for drug use after dark, as well as anti-social behaviour including graffiti and people urinating.

The gates are open during daylight hours but locked overnight, with businesses in the area taking responsibility for opening and closing them.

Following consultation with local businesses and town centre users, the gates were installed at the end of May, at a cost of £8,000.

A further £2,000 has been set aside for future maintenance of the gates, which were officially unveiled at a ceremony last month, with Coun Mick Barton, and representatives from Nottinghamshire County Council and Mansfield Partnership Against Crime (MPAC).

Rather than a traditional ribbon-cutting, a special ‘closure’ ceremony was performed, where the gates were closed and locked.

Coun Barton said: “The gates look wonderful and are making a positive difference in the town centre.

“The groups that originally requested the gates – Mansfield BID and the Town Centre Partnership – tell me the work has achieved what they hoped and I am delighted, as I am sure other town centre users and residents will be.”

Crime figures suggest that the project, funded by MPAC and led by the county council’s safer rights of way team, is having a positive effect on crime and anti-social behaviour, a spokesman said.

Year to date figures for the town centre show that there has been an 18 per cent drop in anti-social behaviour around the town centre, a reduction of 27 incidents over the same period in 2012.

Incidents of criminal damage have also reduced over the same period in the town centre by 37 per cent - a reduction by 10 incidents over the same time period last year.

Mansfield District Council’s planning committee approved the erection of the gates earlier this year on the condition that their design was inkeeping with the character of the Market Place conservation area.

The design of the gates also had to blend in with the character of local architecture.

Pictured (from left) are Coun Mick Barton, Marsha Mann from Mansfield Partnership Against Crime, county council community safety officer Yvette Armstrong, and Gary Noble from Mansfield District Council.