Toolkits & Guides
Close the gates on crime
Most people want to live somewhere that is clean and safe, but unfortunately not everyone gets a choice in keeping where they live in good condition – when it is abuse by others.
People misusing alleyways for drinking, drug dealing or dumping their rubbish can make life a misery for the people who live nearby. If this is happening to you, or in your area, you don’t have to suffer in silence. A set of cast iron alley gates could be the answer to keeping people, rubbish and crime out. By clearing the alley way and getting a set of lockable gates installed you will be in control of that space.
There are a few things you have to do before you can go out and buy some gates. Follow these steps:
Find out where the land lies
First you need to find out who owns the alleyway. You can check this with the land registry. You will need the permission of your neighbours if they co-own the alley. In some cases you might find that the alley is a public right of way, which is similar to a public footpath, which gives access to the general public. If that happens, you will need a gating order which the council can help with but there will be a cost that comes with that.
Make sure neighbours with mobility difficulties or disabilities have been considered, they may have specific accessibility needs which need to be thought about before you buy the gates (height of locks, vehicle access etc.)
If you live in a conservation area you will need to get planning permission before any gates can be installed.
Get your neighbours on board
Anyone who owns the alleyway has a right to access it. You will need to get a signature from all those neighbours as proof that they agree to have the alleyway gated.
Speak to your neighbours and give them a letter to sign. The letter should outline your reasons for wanting the gate (e.g.keep the alley clear of rubbish and anti-social behaviour), include details of how much the gate will cost, list the price of the gates, the installation costs and the multiple sets of keys. All of your neighbours should share the costs. Make sure you keep them involved in the process and let them know when things progress.
Quotes and buying the gates
We would advise that you get a minimum of three quotes for a good comparison and consult with your neighbours as to which company to use.
Before you agree on any contracts with the gating company, split the cost of the gate between all properties affected. Let them know and give them enough time to pay their part. Make sure you give them a simple receipt and keep it for your records.
After the gates have been installed
Contact statutory agencies, including the local fire station and your Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team who may need a key to access the area in an emergency. Utility companies may also require access.
When you hand out the keys to the neighbours, remind them of the importance of keeping the gates locked, when not in use.
It doesn’t have to end there
Now that you have met your neighbours and dealt with a common problem, why not ask them how they would feel about setting up a regular meeting, residents association or neighbourhood watch scheme?
Your alleyway now has great potential for you and your neighbours to enjoy the space together. Why not think about adding some planters, benches or even hanging baskets to help spruce it up?