Businesses support council plans to close drug hotspot

Local businesses are supporting the City of Lincoln Council’s plan to close St Peter’s Passage.

The alley links Mint Lane and the High Street, but businesses say it’s a hotspot for drug use, rough sleeping and that it is being used as a toilet.

Stuart McFadden, Store Manager of Lincoln’s Blacks, said: “We are getting a lot of problems with drug taking, litter and the smell that comes from there.

“We arrive every morning to a strong smell of urine that we have to clean up ourselves. We had occasions where we have found needles and that impacts on our morning opening up and prevents us from opening on time.

“I’ve already signed a petition in support of the closure. Hopefully it will stop that area being used as a toilet. It’s off putting for customers who think the smell is coming from our shop but obviously it isn’t, it comes from the passageway.

“I’m in full support of it.”

The council says it has received a number of complaints about the street due to discarded drugs paraphernalia and the strong smell of human waste.

In 2015 a similar consultation was launched, but the response to closure plans and consultation back then was low and those who did respond wanted it to remain open as it was a “historic passageway”.

Francesca Bell, Public Protection, Anti-Social Behaviour and Licensing Service Manager at City of Lincoln Council, said: “It seems that the passage is being used as a toilet, smelling particularly strong of urine and traces of human faeces which pose a health and safety risk to the public, our employees and other partner agencies that access the passage.

“Complaints have been made relating to the condition of St Peter’s Passage for a number of years and a significant increase has been highlighted over the last 12 months relating to drug use and discarded paraphernalia.

“We pride ourselves in being a vibrant and welcoming city, and the sight of St Peters Passage is not a reflection on Lincoln.”

The proposition will now be open to public consultation online here until Wednesday, August 29.