Agenda item

Alley Gating Scheme


Helena Webster, Community Engagement and Town Centre Improvements Manager, presented the report.


Members were informed that, within the Chrysalis programme, around £30k was earmarked each financial year to support alleygating and community safety schemes to enhance public safety. The private alleygating scheme had been introduced about 15 years previously and about 13 schemes had been completed in total. Chrysalis funding contributed up to 90% of the cost of alley gates to successful applicants but responsibility for maintenance and ownership lay with the residents themselves. Businesses could also apply for funding and would be expected to contribute 50-70% themselves. Electronic gates were rarely installed as evidence would be required that a management company would fund the ongoing maintenance of the gates. A framework agreement was in place up to March 2024 for a preferred fencing / gating contractor, so residents no longer needed to provide 3 quotes to support their applications. Information about the scheme was available on the Council’s website.


Members heard that the private alleygating scheme was well-known whereas the Housing-owned Alleygating Scheme was less well-known. Each year gating schemes were implemented on Housing-owned land as part of the Better Neighbourhood Fund. £156k of Better Neighbourhood funding was available each year for improvements on LBH Housing-owned land, to benefit the wider community. For these schemes, keys were held by the Tenancy Management Officer.


With regards to the Chrysalis scheme, the Committee was advised that, over the last 3 years, 23 applications had been received; 19 of which had been approved and 378 households had benefited. The total cost to the Council was £65,366 and £8,609 had been contributed by residents. In terms of the Better Neighbourhood Fund Data, 14 alleygating schemes had been approved and 311 households had benefited. The total cost to the Council was £65,613.


It was confirmed that, for private schemes, responsibility for ongoing maintenance lay with the residents themselves. When people moved on, they were responsible for handing over the keys to the new occupiers. Members heard that it was a very popular scheme. Many of the more straightforward schemes had already been implemented and new applications were becoming more complex.


Members observed that this was a fantastic scheme from which many residents had benefited. However, it was noted that it was now quite old and gaps may have appeared in terms of ownership and management. It was important that the Council kept accurate records to assist residents when problems arose.


It was suggested that officers wrote to lead residents on a yearly basis to ensure contact details were correct and up-to-date.


In response to questions from the Committee it was confirmed that the team worked with the police and ASBET officers who on occasion recommended alleyways that should be gated. The police safer neighbourhood team often advised victims of crime such as burglary to contact the Council to request alley gates. The team was also contacted by ASBET officers. Residents were advised to report all antisocial behaviour through the contact centre so a full picture could be built up.


Members suggested that officers could approach estate agents about the concept of alley gates as this would be a positive selling point and could assist in ensuring that keys were handed over to new owners. The matter could also be discussed with private landlords. In response to queries from Councillors, it was confirmed that property searches would reveal the title of the ownership of a piece of land but would not show any additions, therefore gating schemes would not show up.


It was recognised that the matter of absentee landlords was a problem and it was sometimes difficult to obtain alley gating contributions from households.  Such matters were considered on a case by case basis. A briefing note would be prepared for the Cabinet Member to enable him to take a view. It was agreed that this was an area that needed to be monitored in the future.  


Members requested further clarification regarding the BHF funding scheme. It was confirmed that gated land continued to be Housing-owned land. More information was available on the Council website and the scheme had also been publicised within Hillingdon People. It had previously been an underused scheme.


Councillors welcomed the alleygating schemes and thanked officers for their hard work in dealing with them so efficiently.


RESOLVED: That the Alleygating Scheme information report be noted.  


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