GATES for a notorious anti-social hot spot in the town have been given the green light by Derry City and Strabane District Council.
Gates will be erected on the alleyway running between Castle Street and John Wesley Street in the coming weeks after months of anti-social behaviour has left members of the business community in the town centre at the end of their tether.
Business owners in the area have been reporting that gangs of teenagers were congregating in the area, children as young as 12-years-old drinking in the alleyway, others threatening staff, intimidating customers, vandalising vehicles and setting fires.
The gates will be erected in coming weeks, pending approval from full council, and will be funded by the PSCP and Strabane BID with financial assistance from council.
Strabane Sinn Féin councillor Karina Carlin says that she hopes the installation of lockable gates will go a long way towards reducing the problem of anti-social behaviour in the area.
“I am happy to report that my proposal for approval of Gating Order plans for the Castle Street/John Wesley Street alley has been approved at the Health and Safety Committee of council,” she said.
“For too long, the darkened Alley between Castle Street and John Wesley Street has been a magnet for large numbers of young people to congregate at night time, a venue for under-age drinking with anti-social behaviour often spilling out onto Castle Street where surrounding businesses bore the brunt of many incidents of wanton vandalism.
“Hopefully this measure of installing the gates, which will be opened outside of the peak periods when the anti-social behaviour was happening will go a long way to reducing the problem,” she continued.
“However, I think everyone acknowledges that just this one physical measure alone is not a panacea to solving the problem of underage drinking and the often related behavioural and vandalism problems and that a holistic approach is required to resolve this what is a societal issue which also affects a number of residential areas of the town.”