Call for Bogside alley gates

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Calls have been made for alley-gates to be erected in the Westland Street and Elmwood Terrace area to stop crowds of up to 200 young people gathering there at weekends.

For the last number of weeks, crowds of up to 200 teenagers have been gathering close to the busy junction and have been seen drinking in laneways behind nearby houses.

It is understood the young people have also attempted to block people from getting into a shop in the area.

Sinn Féin councillor for the area Colin Kelly said local residents are worried that their homes and cars could be damaged.

Colr. Kelly said; “Residents are very worried that this could escalate out of control. On Friday night there was upwards of 150 young people in the laneways along Elmwood Terrace, Westland Street, Laburnum Terrace and the entrance to Westend Park. Most of the young people aren’t causing any hassle it’s just a very small minority who can use the bigger crowd to hide their identities to get up to all sorts of carry-on and annoy local people.”

Colr. Kelly said alley-gates could help solve the problem. “Having such a large crowd right outside your front door at 11 o’ clock at night is no joke. People are afraid their homes and cars will be damaged. A lot of elderly people and young families live in the area and they shouldn’t have to live under these conditions. Sinn Féin have been lobbying the statutory agencies in recent months to try and get gates on the laneways that may go some way to help ease the problems being encountered by residents,” he said.

One local resident who contacted the Journal said; “I have never seen anything like this before in the area. You’ll always get groups of youngsters hanging about but this is frightening stuff. They are all very young from 14-17 years of age. They come from across the town which makes it hard to identify who is giving residents hassle. I would have to ask what are the parents doing? There are young people coming here from as far away as the Waterside, Shantallow, and Culmore. No one is going to go out and confront a crowd of that size.”