Shopping centre refused permission to block itself off at night

Friday, August 11, 2017 at 4:35PM

A shopping centre boss has spoken of his disappointment that shutters blocking off the area at night will not be allowed by a council.

Management at The Lanes in Carlisle say having the shutters in operation after hours would help curb spiralling anti-social behaviour problems.

But despite a recommendation from planning officers to approve the scheme, Carlisle City Council's development control committee yesterday (FRI) refused to grant planning permission for five shutters.

If they had been given the green light it would've seen pedestrian access to Grapes Lane and Globe Lane blocked off through a shutter on each of the two Lowther Street and Scotch Street entrances.

A further shutter would've been placed at the front of the Lowther Street entrance next to KFC which would've been closed off later than the others to allow customers to access the fast food restaurant.

In total 10 letters of objection were sent to the council with the main concerns being the belief that lanes are public rights of way, how blocking off access would impact the nighttime economy and the impact on the appearance of the city centre.

Castle ward councillor Stephen Sidgwick spoke at the meeting to object to the plans.

"The applicant has not been prepared to discuss alternative proposals which sought to find a comprimise," he said.

Mr Sidgwick added that he did not believe, from the crime figures he had accessed through the police, the anti-social behaviour problem was strong enough to justify blocking public access.

However, David Jackson, commercial director of The Lanes, responded. He said: "Anti-social behaviour does continue in The Lanes, contrary to figures put forward by others."

He continued: "The shopping centre is often referred to as an asset to the city. We agree and want to close it at night to protect it for the future."

Mr Jackson revealed that since July 25 there had been 15 incidents of anti-social behaviour.

Speaking afterwards Mr Jackson told the News & Star: "We are disappointed. The further comments made by the committee will be forwarded and discussed with the landlord and I'm sure the landlord will consider its decision."

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