On 17th January we became aware of the proposed installation of alleygates across the passageway leading from Wavertree Nook Road to Fieldway (pictured above). For technical/legal reasons, alleygates do not require planning permission, so the Wavertree Society had not previously been consulted by the Council. The Society's Committee discussed the matter at its meeting on 27th January and decided that - while we sympathised with the householders who are directly affected by the antisocial behaviour which led to the proposal - we also agreed with Wendy Morgan of the Council's Conservation Team that "there is the potential for considerable and lasting damage to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area" if alleygates are installed. The passageway is not a traditional 'back alley', it is an integral part of the design of the Garden Suburb. We were also concerned that alternative measures did not appear to have been considered, and that very few residents of the wider area had been notified of the scheme, despite the fact that it involves the closure of a well-used public pathway which is enjoyed by law-abiding citizens on their way to and from schools, churches, public transport, etc.

At the City Council's Traffic & Highways Representations Committee on 1st February, we were allowed to put forward our point of view, as were several residents of the Garden Suburb who spoke both for and against the plan. The residents of Heywood Road were particularly concerned that the antisocial behaviour would simply move to the other passageway (i.e. the one leading from Heywood Road to Fieldway) where alleygates are not currently proposed. Any future move to close off this passageway would, we feel, attract widespread objections, for reasons similar to those voiced in respect of the Wavertree Nook Road pathway.

Having listened to the arguments, the Traffic & Highways Representations Committee gave permission for the gates to be installed - and this will now be done before the end of March. The Chairman (Cllr Malcolm Kennedy) mentioned that a message of support for the scheme had been received from Luciana Berger MP, and Ms Berger has since confirmed to us that she sent this "at the behest of a number of my constituents who live in the area. I have been receiving correspondence about this matter fairly constantly since I was elected in May this year in support of alleygates. ... I understand that 56 households were consulted before the scheme was advertised. 29 households responded - 25 in favour and 4 against. ... You may be interested to know that at a separate multi-agency meeting that I held regarding the Wavertree area, Fieldway was flagged up as one of the major issues."

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