‘Lock us in’

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Residents of a city centre street plagued by antisocial behaviour are to ask Derry City Council to “lock them in.”

Rock Terrace residents say their lives are being made a misery by late night revellers who on a nightly basis use the street to urinate, vomit and fight.

Residents claim people urinating in their letterboxes has become commonplace while at times couples will even use the street to have sex.

They say cars have been damaged in the area, windows broken and now some residents have taken to sleeping elsewhere because of the late night problems.

A resident of the area, who does not wish to be named, says people have been left with no choice but to approach Derry City Council and ask for a gate to be erected across the street.

“All we want is for this to be brought to an end,” the resident told the ‘Journal’ yesterday.

“It has got very bad recently and people are fed up. We have got to the point where there does not seem to be any other way but to ask for the gate.”

The residents’ proposals would see a gate closed at night locking residents of Rock Terrace in, while keeping people coming out of nearby pubs and clubs out. The gate would be closed and opened at certain agreed times while provision would also be made for emergency services access.

Jim Kelly of the Strand Area Residents’ group says problems in the area have been ongoing for a number of years.

He says the issue is not about the presence of pubs or clubs in the area but rather the behaviour and control of people when they leave local night spots.

“We want the University to expand, we want the local economy to grow but it is a case now that people are under siege in their own homes.

“Four nights a week now around 500 or 600 people are spewing out onto the streets in the Strand area. It is a city centre phenomenon being played out in a residential area. We are certainly supportive of the Rock Road residents in asking for this gate if they see it as the only option left open to them,” he says.

Mr Kelly says controlling the late night crowds “is something we have been trying to address for the last seven years maybe even longer.”

The Journal understands Rock Terrace residents have already spoken to local representatives about their plans for a gate and will now take them to the council’s Environmental Health department.