Birstall residents stir up ‘Gategate’ row

Birstall residents stir up ‘Gategate’ row

RESIDENTS on a Birstall housing estate have branded a gate designed to improve safety in their community as a “waste of money.”

The three-foot high wooden fence was installed on the walkway between High Street and Wesley Close by officials after concerns were raised about residents’ safety.

However, Kirklees Neigbourhood Housing (KNH) who managed the estate, have now removed the gate and will consult with residents.

A number of locals have said that the problems stated have been exaggerated.

Val Bedford has lived at her home on Wesley Close for four years and argued that the reasons given for installing the gate simply don’t exist.

She said: “Apparently there are bikes speeding through here and burglars targeting homes, but I have never seen any of these problems. It is just causing more problems than it’s worth.

“A lot of old people live on this estate who come through with heavy shopping. They are having to stop to undo a gate that doesn’t need to be there.”

Dennis Croft has lived in his home for 10 years and he asked why officials had decided to spend money on the gate.

He said: “It is a waste of money. If it is for safety reasons, how many burglars are going to stop and turn around when they see it?

“It is a nuisance if anything, as it either bangs when it is open all night or rattles in the wind.”

A spokesperson for KNH said: “The gate was requested by several local residents because people were using the narrow walkway as a shortcut on their bicycles.

“There was concern about security and a fear of being knocked down by cyclists.

“At the time, we understood that the footpath was vested with housing but we’ve since become aware that it is a public right of way; we’re removing the gate while we consult with the wider community, and we’re very sorry for any inconvenience caused in the meantime.”

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