Residents in the South Parade & Albert Street area of Grantham are concerned at the misuse of a tunnel near the former Aldi car park.
For a number of years small groups of young adults have frequented the disused service tunnel under South Parade running parallel with the East Coast Mainline.
The tunnel originally linked two of Ruston & Hornsby’s factories, and was used at the start of the Barford Carnival Parades. It has been fenced off for a number of years
One resident told GM: “Generally there has been little disruption, nor cause for great concern.
“On several occasions myself or other residents have had to have a frank exchange of views, or offer words of advice to young people there, but mostly it’s been uneventful, although on one occasion the Police were called using the 101 system however the people left the site long before the Police arrived.
“Recently there has been a significant increase both in numbers and frequency which has caused residents some alarm. There has been drug use, anti-social behavior and large crowds of young adults acting in a threatening and intimidating manner.
“On the few occasions where a reasoned conversation has evolved with the young adults at this site they’re adamant it is a public skate-park, and I have some sympathy with this since there is obviously some rudimentary infrastructure there.
“However there is no attempt at public safety measures, so gate access (only a broken fence) and no signage indicating its use.
“Indeed, one has to scale down the embankment to access the tunnel, which is blocked off at the other entrance which leads to the Fruehauf engineering works at the top of Houghton road.”
The resident said he had tried to bring this to the attention of police but the lack of an email address and only an online form where none of the drop-down menu options appear to be appropriate for this issue.
He continued: “For example the menu asks for victim details and, mercifully as yet, there have been no victims, nor is there an address for this area, it’s simply a disused railway service tunnel which no one seems to know about, nor appears to be interested in.
“Also, I would like to know who is responsible for this area so that we may pursue a course of action which would end this dangerous and annoying situation. If anyone on this list can assist with access to the agency responsible we’d be most grateful.
“I have spoken to visiting engineers from Network Rail but since they often come from different districts they’re not entirely sure to whom it belongs.
After some incidents in the Aldi carpark adjacent the company installed a fence at the edge of their land, however that access is seldom used, preferring to step over from the footpath along South Parade.
Recently, during the lockdowns and after Aldi moved to Harlaxton Road, there has been a marked increase in the number and frequency of people visiting. Not just your usual junkies (there are many), but young kids, older men with school age girls, dealers, dead-drops etc.
The resident continued: “There’s clearly a safe-guarding issue here and nothing has been done. Some weekends there are over a dozen young people smoking and drinking, the smell of cannabis is alarming.
“I was told that someone from neighbourhood policing would call me to give an email address so I could send pictures as evidence, I’m still waiting.
“With the population of Grantham increasing, and access to this site becoming easier through the closure of Aldi it’s only a matter of time before something serious happens.”
In August last, SKDC sent a letter to residents inviting them to report any issues.
This week, a council spokesman said: “We are not aware of any current issues in this area; last contact to us was early February.
A spokeman for Lincolnshire Police said: “We are aware of the location and that young people are frequenting it. We are regularly conducting patrols in the area. We would like to encourage reporting of this problem.
“If there is any area you feel unsafe, you can let us know online using StreetSafe: https://www.lincs.police.uk/notices/street-safe/street-safe/ “
StreetSafe is a national service that allows you to drop a pin in a map and say what the issue is that is making you feel unsafe eg street lighting, abandoned buildings, signs of drug or alcohol use, vandalism, being followed or verbally abused. This is really quick and easy to use. The results will help us and partnership organisations understand where the issues are and allocate resources accordingly.
StreetSafe is not for reporting crime – for crime reports please call 101 (999 in an emergency) or visit our online reporting section on our website: https://www.lincs.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/