Security gates could close off city's drugs hotspot

Mulberry Close

Plans had been submitted to install locked security gates blocking access through alleys into Peel Mews and Mulberry Close. - Credit: Simon Parkin

Moves to install locked gates to protect a Norwich city centre community plagued by drug dealers and anti-social behaviour have moved a step closer.

Norwich City Council has given permission for two self-closing, lockable security gates to block off a passage into Peel Mews from Westwick Street. 

Police sign ion Anchor Quay

Police stepped up patrols around the Anchor Quay area, including Peel Mews and Mulberry Close. - Credit: Norfolk Police

However moves to install similar measures to limit access into neighbouring Mulberry Close have not been given the go-ahead. 

People living in town houses and flats in both riverside cul-de-sacs have experienced long-running problems with anti-social behaviour.

Police stepped up patrols after reports of people openly using drugs in parking spaces and drug dealers in stairwells. 

Mulberry Close

Access to Mulberry Close and Peel Mews is via passageways off Westwick Street. - Credit: Simon Parkin

Previous attempts to stop access through the two archways in 2012 failed because both were deemed to be public rights of way.  

In its latest application for additional security measures, Lion & Castle Property Management, which oversees the surrounding properties, said: “This new application has now become urgent as the number of incidents in the two areas have increased and the anti-social behaviour frequently reported to police.

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“Concerns regarding drug dealing, rough sleeping, rubbish and syringes, and body waste deposits are regularly occurring and residents, the general public and children, on their way to school, are consistently exposed to these issues on a daily basis.”

Peel Mews where locked security gates have been approved.

Peel Mews where locked security gates have been approved to deter crime and anti-social behaviour. - Credit: Simon Parkin

Thomas Palmer, who has lived in the area for several years, said: “Anybody being able to walk through from Westwick Street has meant we’ve had lots of problems but it has recently become more concerning with people getting into the communal areas to do and sell drugs.”

Another resident, who supported the application, said: “For many years we have been plagued with anti-social behaviour which has caused distress and worry to many owners of the adjacent flats and apartments.

"It has involved drug dealing, abuse to persons, and in some cases damage to property. 

Mock up of locked metal gates to be installed in Peel Mews.

Mock up of locked metal gates to be installed in Peel Mews. - Credit: Norwich City Council/Lion & Castle Property Management

“The people responsible primarily enter the area through the passageways. These gates will substantially reduce, if not completely remove the issue.”

Planners have approved metal gates being installed in Peel Mews but it is now dependent on the granting of a 'stopping off order' to end its use as public right of way.

Last year Safer Neighbourhoods community funding saw crime-busting alley gates put up in several areas of the city