Plan to curb anti-social behaviour in Lowry's Lane revealed

Proposals to tackle an ongoing problem of anti-social behaviour in the Lowry's Lane area of Londonderry have been revealed.

A council access officer has prepared a report recommending solutions to remedy the situation.

The report was drawn up in consultation with local residents, the PSNI, council members, the DRD Roads Service and other DCC departments.

SDLP Councillor Mark H Durkan, who frequently visits the area to assist residents in dealing with anti-social behaviour, welcomed the report.

He said it showed the council was determined to tackle the "many problems which have plagued the lane for 20 years".

"The council should be commended for this move, but it is important to bring in other services such as the Roads Service," he said.

While the report suggests providing street lighting for the area, Mr Durkan said that the Roads Service were reluctant to take this step.

"Lights were installed six or seven years ago at a cost of about £28,000 and they only lasted a couple of weeks before being systematically vandalised, so the Roads Service are obviously unwilling to replace them."

More needed

The report suggests the lane should be regularly patrolled by park and community safety wardens to provide a visible signal that authorities are monitoring the area.

It also recommends that new bollards should be installed at various locations along the lane at a cost of about £4,500 and a street-cleaning programme for the area should be stepped-up.

The access officer from the city's engineering department said that £3,500 should be allocated to raise the height of an embankment bordering the lane and thorny bushes or trees should be planted along it.

The report also suggests the council should work with local residents and schools to improve "their sense of ownership of the lane".

Additionally, it says "residents should be assisted in their ongoing efforts to paint over graffiti and make minor repairs to the walls along the lane".

Resurfacing of the lane and the installation of street lighting have been put forward for further discussion between residents and the access officer.

Mr Durkan said that while the small measures recommended by the engineer's department were to be welcomed, much more needed to be done to solve the situation.

"Although the lane was closed to vehicular traffic in the mid-1980s, it retains a status as a right-of-way, which is at the heart of the ongoing problems.

If the access to the middle section of the lane was to be closed off, that would go some way towards alleviating the residents' problems.

The recommendations are to be submitted to the city's environmental service's committee on Thursday for approval.

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