Gates proposed for tiny street being used as a toilet

Hatter Lane, Boston
Hatter Lane, Boston

Council bosses are attempting to put a lid on the issue of 
people using a tiny lane in 
Boston as a toilet.

The plan is to introduce locked gates at either end of the trouble-hit Hatter Lane to flush away problems with human excrement and urine.

A recent trial in which Boston Borough Council mounted a daily black bag refuse collection service failed to control the anti-social behaviour in the lane - which runs from High Street to West Street.

The council is now consulting on seeking a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) - the same order placed on street-drinking - to put locked gates at both the West Street and High Street ends of Hatter Lane restricting access to residents and businesses only. Access will still be available to emergency services and utility providers.

Coun Michael Brookes, portfolio holder for waste services, said: “Hatter Lane has presented particular problems because it is too conveniently located for this sort of abuse.

“It is close to the town centre, little used and very narrow, providing all the right sorts of opportunities for all the wrong sorts of behaviour.

“There are no excuses for what has been happening there. Their anti-social activities have been distressing for people who live and work in properties along the lane for long enough.”

George Bernard, the council’s head of environmental operations, said the blitz on litter in the alley by the street-cleaning team and the refuse collectors had been a success. He added: “But we have not been able to dissuade those who continue to choose to use it as an outdoor toilet.”

Last October the council removed all wheelie bins in the lane to begin a daily refuse collection trial as a last-ditch bid to clean up one of the town’s worst rubbish hot spots.

Long-term problems with anti-social behaviour had led to issues such as accumulations of litter, including drinks cans, and human faeces.

Last year the council even tried a psychological poster campaign featuring a pair of staring eyes and a ‘watching you’ message to dissuade people from using it as a toilet.

Wheelie bins were said to have provided hiding places for some of the ‘more unsavoury activities’ in the lane and encouraged uncontrolled rubbish dumping. Removal of them revealed an accumulation of rubbish, including evidence of rat activity.

Letters and consultation forms have been delivered to homes and businesses in Hatter Lane. Other views can be emailed to community.safe
ty@boston.gov.uk with the subject ‘PSPO - Hatter Lane’ by Friday, February 13.

If the order is approved the cost of the gates will be sought from the residential and business properties in the area.

Coun Stephen Woodliffe, portfolio holder for community safety, said: “We will not be slow in using all means at our disposal to control anti-social behaviour.”

And Coun Derek Richmond, portfolio holder for the town centre, added: “This council is determined to do all it can to make the town centre a clean, tidy and pleasant place for all who live, work and visit here.”

At the time of the daily collection trial Scott Palmer, director at Mountain’s Boston Sausage, which has a shop at the top of the lane on High Street, said: “It is nice to see the lane clean for now. Anything is worth a try but I think, ultimately, the lane may need gating.”