BLACKBURN with Darwen Council’s alley gating scheme has been a victim of its own success.
More than 70 new applications to seal off back streets have been received since April 1 but there is only enough cash in the budget for the financial year to pay for 20.
The scheme, which has a budget of around £100,000 a year, has proved a success in tackling fly-tipping, anti-social behaviour and crime.
But on Thursday borough neighbourhoods’ lead member Arshid Mahmood will tell the council’s executive board the upgraded scheme, introduced in 2011, cannot meet demand.
The senior councillors will consider three petitions from residents for the installation of lockable alley gates with keys for householders.
They are from residents in Downham Street on the Audley/Queen’s Park border, Winmarleigh Street, Audley Range, and Coniston Road, Little Harwood. Coun Mahmood will recommend the board write back to petitioners informing them ‘the council currently has in excess of 70 new applications to process’ and ‘ the funding does not allow all applications, therefore these requests will be investigated to ensure those with the greatest need are successful’.
Tory leader Mike Lee, responsible for the first £100,000 scheme in 2008 when a coalition with the Liberal Democrats ran the borough, called for the budget for alley gating to be increased.
Coun Mahmood said “Since its launch in 2011 the alley gates scheme has been a success and recent police figures show that they have had a positive impact on reducing crime and anti-social behaviour within our borough .
“From 2011 the council has installed 323 alley gates through 123 approved schemes. We are looking to install a further 20 schemes this year.
“Any new schemes that are approved this year will be prioritised on need.
He added that the council has other means to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
Coun Lee said in the long run the scheme saves the council money, adding: “If there are too many applications for the budget, the budget should be increased.”