Royston car park owners close access route ‘due to anti-social behaviour’

The gate which used to be open. Picture: supplied

The gate which used to be open. Picture: supplied - Credit: Archant

Care home residents and staff in Royston who were previously able to get to the town centre via a private car park now have to go the long way round, after the gate they used for years was closed to the public due to antisocial behaviour in the area.

The sign near the gate, which shows there was once an agreement made for Richard Cox House to use th

The sign near the gate, which shows there was once an agreement made for Richard Cox House to use the route to access the town centre. Picture: supplied - Credit: Archant

Richard Cox House staff had regularly used the gate – which links Melbourn Street to Dog Kennel Lane, where the home is – to avoid navigating the narrow streets when taking clients in wheelchairs into the town centre.

The land is owned by the Manor House Social Club Committee, who used to also own the Manor House building in Melbourn Street before it was bought by the JD Wetherspoon pub chain in 2012. The committee had given special permission for Richard Cox House to use the gate, but felt with the increase in anti-social behaviour not linked to the care home, they had to shut the gate.

Manor House Social Club Committee secretary Sandie Redhead told the Crow: “People think it’s a right of way, but it is private land. It’s a private enterprise for the Manor House Social club members to park in when they come to the town centre.

“A few people have been going online saying it’s a right of way and it’s not.

“We’ve had to close the gate for safety reasons and to stop antisocial behaviour, there’s motorbikes flailing round there, we have had incidents of near misses with cars coming into park.

“People walk through with prams. We want people to be safe and to know that it’s not a shortcut for everyone. It is the residents and staff of Richard Cox House who I feel sorry for, I did go in and tell them that it would be closing.

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“We don’t want it to stay closed forever, but we want people to realise it’s not a shortcut.”

A spokeswoman for Richard Cox House said: “We are always respectful of our neighbours and their property, and will be reaching out to the owner of the car park to see if we can come to a mutually agreeable solution.”

A spokesman for Herts County Council said: “This has been a permissive route for quite some time and that permission now appears to have been withdrawn. If local residents believe that public rights might have been acquired on this route through length of use, they may make an application together with supporting evidence to the county council’s Rights of Way service.”