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Dispute over Winchester gate may have come to a close
3:00pm Wednesday 26th September 2012 in Winchester
A DISPUTE over the gateway to a central Winchester street may finally have come to a close.
Access to Alison Way from Oram’s Arbour Park has been a source of controversy following complaints by residents of anti-social behaviour late at night, but councillors have again rejected an application to block the path.
At a planning committee meeting last week (Thursday, September 20), the city council reiterated that the gateway was a planning condition when St Paul’s Hospital was converted into homes in 2000-01.
Some residents reported thuggish behaviour and discarded drugs paraphernalia on the path late at night. It was also claimed that criminals had been known to use the gate as a short cut to evade police. But community safety officers’ reports show just two recorded cases of anti-social behaviour there between November 2011 and May 2012.
The council received 65 objections to the application, against just nine representations supporting it. All the supporters came from Alison Way, whilst two of the objections also came from there.
Cllr Thérèse Evans said: “I was on the original planning committee in 1999 and the intention was permeability and it’s important that remains. I do not think we should take a safely-lit road away from members of the public.”
Addressing the committee, planning officer Howard Bone said: “We’ve always required for this kind of development that there be public access. It’s safer. But you will never design away anti-social behaviour completely.”
The rejection is the latest development in a battle dating back 2008 when Kempthorne, the management company responsible for homes at Oram’s Mount, installed a keypad-controlled lock on the gate, only giving the code to residents.
The lock was removed in 2009 after the city council threatened legal action against Kempthorne for breaching its planning permission.