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We are dismayed that Brighton and Hove councillors have approved a gating order for Farman Street, Hove. The council’s ‘Environment Improvements’ officer, Simon Bannister, proposed to lock people out of the street between 9pm and 8am, claiming that the route is associated with crime and anti-social behaviour.
We have said all along that the council has not provided sufficient evidence that it is necessary to erect locked gates across this public highway.
The council must prove that ‘premises adjoining or adjacent to the public footpath are affected by crime and anti-social behaviour’ and that ‘it is the existence of the highway which is facilitating the persistent commission of criminal offences and anti-social behaviour’. In our view, the council did not demonstrate that if the highway were to be gated the alleged crime levels would be significantly reduced.
Says our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook: ‘This is a pleasant, peaceful and popular route, and it should be kept open for public use. Now at night people will have to walk considerably further and will be denied their right to use and enjoy this highway. And there is a danger that adjoining property owners will treat the highway as their own private gardens. This is public land and it should be kept open at all times.’