Call for ‘dangerous’ Northampton alleyway to be made safer following Sarah Everard case

‘We just need someone with a conscience to help us out’

Saturday, 27th March 2021, 8:50 am

Measures should be taken to make a ‘dangerous’ alleyway in Northampton safer for people to use at night, according to a former councillor.

Michael Ford has been calling for improvements to the lane between Gloucester Avenue and Friars Crescent in Delapre for more than 10 years.

But the ex-borough councillor hopes the recent spotlight on nighttime safety, especially for women, following the Sarah Everard case, will provide a new opportunity to get something done.

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The alleyway between Gloucester Avenue and Friars Crescent in Northampton. Photo: Google

“There are no lights there anymore so it’s pitch black at night and people don’t go down there at night as it’s too dangerous,” he said.

“We just need someone with a conscience to help us out.”

The alleyway is a hotspot for anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping as well as a worry for anyone walking there at night, according to Mr Ford, who lives nearby.

He believes the alleyway would be made much safer with street lights at both ends and in the middle and bollards at both ends to stop vehicles from going down it.

Former borough councillor Michael Ford

Mr Ford would also like a new surface as it is very uneven at the moment, which can be particularly difficult for people in wheelchairs or those with pushchairs.

In 2010, Mr Ford asked Northampton Borough Council to install gates at both ends of the alleyway but was refused as he could not get every resident to support it.

So he decided to become a councillor, partly just to solve this issue from the inside, and won in Delapre and Briar Hill for the Conservatives in 2011.

But Mr Ford was unsuccessful and lost his seat in 2015, but he has not given up.

He has written to Northamptonshire police, fire and crime commissioner Stephen Mold for support after his recent investment in alley gates and CCTV across the county.

In his letter, he said: “For more than 10 years I have been banging my head against bureaucrats to get safety measures implemented in the alleyway between Gloucester Avenue and Friars Crescent, but my pleas have always fallen on deaf ears.

“Mr Mold, you state that monies will be found for gates, lighting and CCTV to improve safety for women and girls in our town.

“Will it take another tragedy before more is done regarding this alleyway or will you be reactive instead of proactive?”