Northampton community rallies together to put pressure on council to make 'very dangerous' alleyway safe

This comes after a mother-of-five tripped and fell onto a glass bottle in the alleyway which left her fighting for her life

By Logan MacLeod
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 4:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 5:26 pm

Residents in a busy area of Northampton are calling for a dangerous alleyway to be made safe after a mother-of-five nearly died while walking down it.

Around 30 residents in the Friar's Crescent and Gloucester Avenue area of Delapre came out in force on Thursday morning (January 20) to make their voices heard.

The majority of them would like to see West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) step in and take responsibility of the alleyway, which is a popular rat run for all ages in the community.

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Delapre residents were out in force to make their voices heard about the state of the alleyway

However, the alleyway is not owned by anyone, according to the Land Registry, and therefore no one is maintaining its safety.

Samantha Ellis said she is 'lucky to be alive' after tripping up in the alleyway and smashing a glass bottle into her neck and lungs at around 7pm on Sunday, January 2, which left her with a 9cm deep wound.

After the incident, which the Chron reported on, Samantha has rallied the community together and is demanding action.

She said: "The turn out was amazing.

The alleyway between Friar's Crescent and Gloucester Avenue

"Since it's been in the paper, lots of stories have come out saying people have knocked themselves out here and broken bones. It's more dangerous than I knew.

"I just want something to be done. I think the council should look into it, even if they just put lighting up. If local companies feel they could come and make it safer that would be good too, there are lots of different things we need to look into."

On her recovery, Sam said: "I've recovered quicker than I thought I would. I still can't lift my son, which is frustrating. But the wound has healed well."

Councillor Julie Davenport of the Far Cotton ward said 'pressure' needs to now be put on the council.

She said: "It's absolutely essential to get it fixed. We have got to put a lot of pressure on the council to do something. The council needs to adopt it. I don't see any other way because the residents certainly can't afford it. It needs to be sorted because it's only going to get worse and worse."

Talking about Samantha's injury, Councillor Davenport said: "That was so sad. To think, you go out to the shop, and end up hospital with a punctured lung. It's scary. It could've been much worse."

Michelle, who is a longstanding member of the community, added: "It's very dangerous. It's always been dangerous, for all residents.

"I would like it to be resurfaced safely and to be lit so it's safe to walk up and down it at night time, which, at the moment, it is not. I wouldn't use it.

"Someone must own it. Maybe it's owned by the builders who built these homes in the 1930s. Someone needs to investigate, we've done a lot of work trying to find them."

Mother-of-two Lillian Thorne said: "It's just not safe to walk up and down here with small children. If the council aren't owning it it needs to find out who is and put pressure on them to sort it out."

Andy and Hayley Adkins said: "Someone has got to take responsibility for it.

"The council will do well, going forward, to say 'we're not taking liability for what's happened but we will resurface this'.

"Ok, the council can't take on every alleyway but the seriousness of what's happened to Miss Ellis, they can't ignore that because a life was nearly lost."

Council response

Councillor Phil Larratt, from WNC, addressed the issue of the alleyway earlier this month following Samantha's accident.

The councillor said: “We are extremely sorry to hear of this unfortunate accident and wish the resident well with their recovery.

"The private cut-through path from Friar's Crescent to Gloucester Avenue is not owned by WNC and appears to have no landowner according to Land Registry.

"It is possible that the pathway may be listed in the surrounding homeowners’ deeds, as there appears to be access to garages behind the houses to the east side. It is also possible that the original developer owns the pathway, however tracing them may prove difficult.

"We will certainly consider the possibility of adopting this path and will liaise directly with Councillor Davenport on this matter once we have investigated further.”