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Views sought on gating Northampton Town Centre alleyway

Business, licensing and regeneration

10 November 2022

Francis Jetty ahead of the PSPO which will close it permanently.

The views of local residents and businesses are currently being sought after a proposal for gating a Northampton Town Centre alleyway was put forward earlier this year.

Francis Jetty is located off Bridge Street, Northampton, and provides a short cut to Kingswell Street and nearby St Peters Way carpark.

However, for many years the jetty has attracted persistent illicit activities and anti-social behaviour such as drug dealing and sexual assault.

To tackle these behaviours, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is proposing to make a Public Spaces Protection Order to gate the public highway, using its powers under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

However, before it makes its decision, the Council is consulting on the proposal.

If the plans are approved, Francis Jetty will be gated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with access to Kingswell Street still available via alternative routes.

The initial cost of the gates and installation will be covered from the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner as part of the Safer Streets project, funded by the Home Office.

This would be Northampton’s fifth Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), following the implementation of orders across the Town Centre area in April 2017 and at Marble Arch in January 2018, followed by Jeyes Jetty in March 2021.

They are used in public spaces to help address a range of anti-social behaviour issues and prevent future problems.

"Over the past three years we’ve been working closely with partners to reduce anti-social behaviour and criminal activity in the town centre and make it a safer place for all.

"Francis Jetty is a narrow space linking one of the busiest roads in Northampton’s Night Time economy to a dark street with little surveillance. This makes it a convenient place for criminals and perpetrators of violence to exploit vulnerable people.

"Creating safer communities with less anti-social behaviour is one of the Council’s top priorities and we hope that by gating this alleyway through a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) we can help deter future anti-social behaviour and reduce violence against women and girls in the town centre’s Night Time economy."
Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for community safety and engagement and regulatory services.

An Environmental Audit undertaken by Northants Police in 2022 found that Bridge Street accounted for nearly 20 per cent of crime data for violence against women and girls in the Night Time economy between April 2017 and March 2021.

The street also has the highest number of recorded rapes and other sexual offences committed in the Night Time Economy than anywhere else in West Northamptonshire and is the second highest for violent offences.

 “We have put measures in place to improve the safety of women and girls, working on our own and with partners to prevent crime.

"Gating this alleyway would be a simple, practical step towards making people safer on a night out, closing off a place where potential perpetrators can hide away.

"I am pleased to support this plan, which is part of our wider programme of work to make women and girls safer and ultimately create a better environment for everyone."
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold.

The consultation will last six weeks and will be carried out via the Council’s Consultation Hub. Anyone who would like to share their views about gating Francis Jetty can take part in an online survey at the WNC Citizen Space.

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