Views sought on closing town centre crime hotspot

The views of local residents and businesses are being sought following a proposal to temporarily close a Northampton Town Centre walkway which has become a hotspot for anti-social behaviour and crime.

Emporium Way is located off Northampton Market square and provides shortcuts to Sheep Street and the nearby Mayorhold and Newlands carparks.

However, in recent months the walkway has attracted illicit activities including loitering, urination, muggings, fighting and drug dealing.

To tackle these behaviours, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is proposing to make a Public Spaces Protection Order to close the public highway temporarily, using its powers under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

If the Order is approved, the walkway will be closed 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the market square redevelopment is complete in Summer 2024, with access to all adjoining areas available via alternative routes. Fire exits and access to bin storage will still be available for businesses adjoining the walkway.

Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services, said: “Emporium Way is a shaded walkway with little surveillance which makes it a convenient place for loitering, nuisance and criminal behaviour.

“By temporarily closing this walkway we can take a simple and practical step towards making people safer and closing off a place where potential perpetrators can hide away.

“I encourage all residents and businesses to take part in this consultation and share their views and help us to make the town centre a safer and more pleasant place for all.”

This would be Northampton’s sixth Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), following the implementation of orders across the Town Centre, Dunster Street, Marble Arch, Jeyes Jetty and Francis Jetty.

Inspector Beth Warren of the Northampton Neighbourhood Policing team said: “Emporium Way has been a hotspot for crime and anti-social behaviour for several years, which has made people feel unsafe to walk through.

“We have been pushing for the closure of this walkway and fully support the PSPO which will help create a better environment for everyone who lives, works or visits Northampton town centre.”

The consultation opens today (Wednesday 23 August) and will last six weeks, closing at midnight on Tuesday, 19 September. Anyone who would like to share their views about closing Emporium Way can take part in the survey via the Council’s Consultation Hub.


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