'I don't think anyone will miss it': Residents react to plan to shut 'foul' Northampton town centre alleyway

Northampton residents and shoppers have called a town centre alleyway 'foul', 'disgusting' and 'rough' - and support a plan to gate it off for good.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 7:11 pm
A plan is underway to gate off Jeyes Jetty.

Jeyes Jetty, which runs between the Drapery and College Street and is between Timpsons and the former DW Sports Store, has for many years been a persistent hotspot for illicit activities and anti-social behaviour such as urinating, defecating and drug dealing.

But a plan is now underway to gate the shortcut 24-hours a day - preventing the public from using it ever again.

The Chronicle and Echo spoke to shoppers and residents as they walked through the alleyway to ask if they supported the plan.

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Northampton residents have described the alleyway as "foul," "disgusting" and "rough".

"It's probably a good idea," said one man. "This alley is full of dead rats and poo.

"I cut through here quite a lot but you' wouldn't want to walk down here with food.

"I don't think it would be missed, to put it that way."

The proposal was raised at a Northampton Borough Council full cabinet meeting in May.

The borough council has called the alleyway a "persistent problem" due to antisocial behaviour.

The plan would create a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to gate the shortcut - but first, the council needs to hold a consultation on the proposal.

Ian Ross works in the Timpsons alongside the alleyway, and says he sees illicit behaviour around it every day.

He said: "The shop is next door to it but you can still sometimes smell it and get flies in here.

"It's foul. So many people do drugs down there, if not weeing or defecating or worse. It's all the time.

The alleyway is a shortcut between the Drapery and College Street.

"You'll see lads heading down there in the afternoon. I don't want to accuse anyone of anything but we all know what they're up to and what they're taking when they walk out with big smiles on their faces.

"I think it would be better for everyone if they closed it."

If Cabinet approves the change, Jeyes Jetty will be gated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with access to College Street still available via Gold Street or through Swan Yard.

Everyone the Chronicle spoke to said they would support the council if they closed it off.

However, shop workers and residents from the corner of the Drapery and Gold Street use Jeyes Jetty as their fire escape - and are concerned about how they will get out the alleyway in an emergency.

It comes after a similar gate was installed on Marble Arch in the Mounts in January 2018.

Anyone who would like to share their views about gating Jeyes Jetty can take part in an online survey here.