Middlesbrough Council can install gates (alleygates) at either end of a highway in order to prevent crime or anti-social behaviour. This power, granted under section 129A of the Highways Act 1980, allows the council to make 'gating orders' to restrict the use by the public of any relevant highway and may authorise the placing of gates at each end of, or at any point on, the highway. A 'relevant highway' can be an alleyway, footpath, bridleway or carriageway (road), or any other path or track over which the public has a right of way.
Gating orders do not remove the public highway rights, they just enable gates to be installed and locked to prevent use of the highway by the public (residents still have access). Gates may be locked at certain times of day, however they cannot interrupt access to businesses during opening hours.
Anyone can apply for an alleygate to be installed in an area where there are problems with crime and/or anti-social behaviour. The first point of contact for any request to install alleygates is the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership. The partnership is tasked with identifying crime and disorder problems and taking action to address them, and comprises a range of partners such as the police, local authority, health trusts and fire service.
Installing alleygates is not always the most appropriate way to tackle crime or anti-social behaviour. Before you apply for a gating order, you should consider the following questions:
- Do you have the support of the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership for the scheme?
- Do you have evidence that the alley itself is causing the crime and/or anti-social behaviour, or making it worse?
- Have you considered or tried other crime prevention methods to try to solve the problem?
Gating orders are not permanent. Circumstances change and the original reason for making a gating order may no longer apply. Orders will be reviewed annually and may be revoked or changed to allow public use of the highway again.
Before making an order, the highway authority must be satisfied that premises adjoining or adjacent to the highway are affected by persistent crime or anti-social behaviour, and that it is worsened by the existence of the highway. The application for alleygates can take twelve months or longer from the start of the process to the installation of the gates, and a successful gating order can't be guaranteed. Orders are subject to public consultation and scrutiny, and may be opposed for entirely valid reasons. If an objection is received from either the police or fire and rescue service, the council may choose to either abandon the order, or hold a public inquiry to consider the objection.
For further information on orders the council has made or proposes to make, and is currently consulting on, please view current gating orders.
If you need any further details regarding gating orders or alleygating, please contact the Public Rights of Way Officer on 01642 726001.