West Bletchley is criss crossed with hundreds of alleyways. These run behind houses, link to old garage sites and provide short cuts between closes and main roads. Some are shortcuts to schools.
However many are in a poor state, some overgrown, some full of rubbish, some blocked off, others provide unseen ‘escape’ routes for burglars.
West Bletchley councillor Mick Legg said, “I have been working with residents who have raised concerns about the cleanliness and upkeep of some alleyways. Many are in a poor state and clearly are never cleaned.”
The ownership of the alleyways is a difficult issue. Some are clearly public alleyways, others are on Housing Department owned land. This confusion over ownership is a principle reason why most are not properly cleaned or maintained.
Cllr Legg added, “I am calling upon the Council, especially the Housing service to audit all the alleyways and to consider how best to maintain them, or in some cases maybe to consider closing them.”
Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Nigel Long said, “My colleague Cllr Legg, knows many of the alleyways and he is right to say the Council appears to have lost track of them and this is leading to problems of cleaning and safety. I have asked Housing Officers to do an audit of the alleyways. Then we need to agree action on each one.”
Cllr Legg concluded, “if alleyways are to remain open, they need to be cleaned on a regular basis. I think some need closing, some need ‘exit only’ gates. But overall an audit would set out what needs to be done with each one. I also expect local residents to be consulted on the audit findings and options.”