Anger at ‘prison gate’ over pathway

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Residents voiced their anger after a steel gate was erected over a footpath in Leighton Buzzard.

The gate – erected on behalf of a group of residents – cuts off access to the footpath between Woodman Close and South Street, which has apparently existed as far back as 1860.

It has met with disapproval from some of those who live nearby.

Roy Masters told the LBO: “It’s a planning breach over a public footpath. They’ve erected this 8ft steel gate and it’s like a prison gate.”

Fellow resident Dominic Carpenter said: “This is now impeding people of Leighton Buzzard’s of right of way. Why has someone done this?”

A sign on the gate states it has been erected because of “criminal damage”, “theft”, “drug use”, “anti-social behaviour” and “parking issues”.

Mr Masters added: “Any comments they make about anti-social behaviour there are complete rubbish.”

However, some nearby residents insisted that it was right the gate had gone up,

Roy Evans said: “The decision to attempt closure was taken after taking a consensus of households. Woodman Close was only built in 1969 and for many subsequent years was gated at the South Street end.

“There is a long catalogue of recorded anti-social behaviour in the area. We have endured everything from vehicle damage, to vehicle theft, to the mugging of a resident.

“I fail to see how this gate is even an inconvenience to South Street complainants unless they are among the many that use this area as a dog toilet.”

A spokesman from Central Bedfordshire Council confirmed they had received no complaints about anti-social behaviour from the site.

He added that planning officers were investigating an alleged planning breach over the installation of the gate.