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Deprived community nets action blueprint

AN ACTION plan to deal with a declining area of Bowes Park known as 'bed-sit alley' has been approved by residents.

The Myddleton Road area has suffered in recent years from a declining shopping parade, increased crime, traffic problems and deprivation, but has missed out on any funding because it lies outside the Government's regeneration zones.

But now the area will be boosted by a comprehensive Neighbourhood Plan which will identify its needs and put forward a series of steps for its improvement.

A draft plan was put to the general public in March and April. More than 100 people attended the consultation events held on March 24 and April 5 at Michael-at-Bowes Church Hall on Palmerston Road. A third session was held on April 15.

Up to 1,000 leaflets were distributed to residents, of which 260 completed questionnaires were returned. The aims of the plan have largely been supported by residents and it will now be submitted to the council executive for adoption.

Residents are demanding a greater variety of shops and the return of a post office, bank, bakery and chemist.

Other changes include improving the appearance of the buildings in Myddleton Road by redesigning the shop fronts, protecting the Community Garden and New River Walk from inappropriate development and preventing any further hostels or multi-accommodation houses being built in the area.

Crime, another high priority issue for residents, will be dealt with by installing CCTV, better lighting and other crime prevention measures.

A controlled parking zone may also be installed to prevent commuters using Bowes Park station clogging the streets.

However, the plan has not entirely convinced residents. One controversial aspect of the plan is to reduce the size of the shopping area, converting some of the shops into flats. 102 residents agreed with the proposal, while 82 disagreed. 57 sat on the fence and a further 18 said they did not know. Many opposing the demolition of the shops felt building flats would exacerbate the traffic problems.

Another concern is a wood factory on Myddleton Road, which residents claim blocks the road.

The plan will go before a sub-committee on Monday, before being recommended to the executive.

A council spokesman said: "The plan does not contain any costings, for the simple reason the range of proposed action should be implemented using existing resources.

"The plan is focused to ensure the council acts in a co-ordinated way and that whatever the council is spending now is done in a more effective way.

"There is however, long term proposals such as housing improvements. In due time they would need to be resourced. There is no estimate of that yet."

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