Portfolio Holder – Councillor Alasdair Ross
A request has been received to install an alley gate to the rear of some properties in Tennyson Road. This report requests Executive to decide whether to authorise the installation of an alley gate. The public consultation with local residents was already well underway before the Council’s Alley Gate Policy came into effect in March 2018 and as a result Executive is requested to consider approving a gate, even though the local anti-social behaviour does not meet the new thresholds within the Alley Gate Policy.
9.1 Councillor Ross introduced the report, explaining that the process for installing alley gates in Tennyson Road had already been begun when the Council’s alley gate policy had been agreed by Executive. Councillor Ross noted that the scheme didn’t meet all of the requirements of the new policy but explained that residents were strongly behind the installation of gates and that as they had been consulted on alley gates it was the right thing for the Council to do to install them.
9.2 In accordance with Standing Orders Part 3 Section 3 Paragraph 3.5, the following question was asked:
Question 3 – Councillor Holmes
‘Does the Executive consider that in light of the minuted assurances and resolutions of the Central Area Committee and this Executive, specifically:
a) To the Central Area Committee in January 2018 that funding applications would “… be determined in line with the criteria within that (forthcoming abbey gates) policy” and resolving “that the Central Area Committee approve funding of £6,000 from the Central Area Committee budget to establish a fund towards alley gate requests for the Central area, subject to the requirements of the forthcoming Alley Gates Policy, which will be considered by Executive, having been met” without any mention of gates to Tennyson Road and in direct contradiction to the reference in this Report that the Central Area Committee supports the installation.
b) The reason given to this Executive in March 2018 in adopting the Alley Gates Policy was “…to provide a clear direction relating to the Council’s involvement in alley gates.” that the Executive should accept Option 2, since any approval of Option 1 for an alley gate would:
(i) fail to meet the evidential criteria
(ii) be susceptible to legal challenge as unlawful as it is not in line with policy as set out in paragraph 10.5 of this Report
(iii) be arbitrary and unfair to other Ipswich residents
(iv) establish an unhelpful precedent in this and other policy areas
(v) cause reputational damage to the Council.’
9.3 Councillor Ross explained that the application relating to Tennyson Road was a “legacy” application which had been discussed by the Central Area Committee and was one of the proposed applications which was in the contemplation of that Committee when it set aside a fund for alley gates in its area. Councillor Ross said that Councillor Holmes’ observations had been noted and that Executive would make its decision having due regard to the contents of the report and the advice provided within the report.
9.4 Councillor Jones commented that the proposal had fallen between 2 systems and that it would be unfair on residents not to deliver the gates they had been consulted on.
9.5 Councillor Fisher commented that when the new policy had been agreed issues around legacy proposals ought to have been considered. Councillor Fisher also expressed concern that the owners of the land had not been identified and the potential legal issues arising from that. Councillor Fisher queried whether granting the application would set a precedent.
9.6 Councillor Ellesmere commented that whilst there was risk with installing alley gates, the Council ought to accept this risk to install the gates for residents benefit. Councillor Ellesmere noted that residents’ expectations had been raised by the Council and so the honourable thing for the Council to do was to install the gates. Councillor Ellesmere noted that Executive could decide to deviate from policies it had set where the circumstances warranted it and said that he was not aware of any similar situations so it was unlikely that a precedent would be set.
9.7 Councillor Ross noted that the Council had installed alley gates where land ownership had not been known many times and that there had not been any issues with these.
9.8 Councillor Fisher commented that there didn’t appear to be any recent incidents and questioned whether the gates were needed.
9.9 Councillor Ellesmere said that residents and Ward Councillors believed that the gates were needed and that they would be the best judges of what was needed.
It was RESOLVED:
that the Public Protection Operations Manager be authorised to take all necessary steps to install an alley gate to the rear of the properties 2-22 Tennyson Road.
Reason: the installation of an alley gate could reduce the instances of antisocial behaviour in the area and improve the quality of life of residents.