Neighbours oppose plans to close walkway through St John at Hackney churchyard to reduce crime

St John at Hackney churchyard. Picture: Ken Mears

St John at Hackney churchyard. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Plans to close a proposed public walkway through the St John at Hackney churchyard after dark to stop crime and anti-social behaviour have angered locals.

As part of the £5million project to renovate the Lower Clapton church and its grounds, a public space was included to act as a cut through to the Narroway.

But now amended plans have been submitted that would see it locked between dusk and 7am.

Hackney's planning officers have backed the move, saying there would be "no significant public benefit" in the square being open after dark, and that it would be "beneficial in preventing crime and anti-social behaviour".

Police too have supported the change. They said: "Opening up the new route between St John of Hackney Churchyard and the Narroway is likely to attract anti-social behaviour (ASB).

"Most ASB takes place after 5pm and therefore closing the gates after this time would help to reduce this."

Cops have suggested that security patrol the churchyard while it is open, and that CCTV be installed as well as lighting and locks on the gates.

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Eleven people have taken issue with the plans. They say the walkway had been promised and that the reasons to close it are spurious.

A decision will be made by councillors on January 8.