October 4, 2018 10.28 am This story is over 65 months old

Lincoln passageway a ‘focal point’ for drug use

“Intimidating”, a “public health hazard” and a “focal point” for drug use.

A historic passageway earmarked for closure in Lincoln has been described as “intimidating”, a “public health hazard” and a “focal point” for drug use.

Residents have said they support the closure of St Peters Passage in the city, despite only 27 people responding to a public consultation.

City of Lincoln Council proposed the plan in an effort to tackle anti-social behaviour in the area.

The idea is to gate off the passage, which connects Mint Lane with the High Street, for three years due to a number of health and safety complaints received by the council.

It comes as national and independent traders in Lincoln previously said they were “fed up” with the use of the passageway for drug taking and anti-social behaviour.

A consultation launched by the council into the plan closed on August 29.

Photo: Sarah Barker for The Lincolnite

One respondent said there was no reason to keep the passageway open considering the current conditions in the city centre.

They said: “There does not seem to be any rational reason to keep the passageway open in view of the current issues in the town centre with the numbers of apparent substance misusers around at any one time.”

Another said it is a “focal point” for drug use and fully supported gating the passage.

But others said that closing it would “set a precedent” for other areas affected by anti-social behaviour.

The City Council is aiming to tackle city centre drug use. Photo: The Lincolnite

It comes as the council is looking to crack down on problems in the city centre by spending £61,000 on a team dedicated to tackling drug addiction, alcohol consumption and begging.

Problems have been highlighted over the last year relating to drug use and discarded paraphernalia at St Peter’s Passage, which is also being used as a toilet with strong smells of urine.

Francesca Bell, Public Protection, Anti-Social Behaviour and Licensing Service Manager at City of Lincoln Council, said previously that the authority have seen an increase in complaints over the past 12 months.

She 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 plan will go before councillors on the authority’s Policy Scrutiny Committee next week before going in front of the council’s executive.

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