More progress needed to clean up town centre alleyway

Cllr. Andy Wilson in the alleyway between Main Street and Laharna Retail Park.
Cllr. Andy Wilson in the alleyway between Main Street and Laharna Retail Park.

Ulster Unionist councillor Andy Wilson has said more progress is required to resolve littering and drinking in a town centre alleyway.

Cllr Wilson has been working with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s environmental health officers since November to address the issue, which is affecting the privately owned alleyway, betweenMain Street and Laharna Retail Park.

The alleyway has become littered.

The alleyway has become littered.

In a statement, Mr. Wilson said: “The frequently filthy state of the alleyway which leads from Larne Main Street to the Laharna Retail Park has been well-documented on social media recently.

“Frustratingly, however, despite recent improvements such as the lighting being fixed and two cigarette bins being installed at my request, often in the morning, the top of the alleyway looks and smells like a sunshine bar/ outside toilet.

“Despite voluntary work to brighten the alleyway up, it suffers from being a gathering place for drinkers in the evenings, and the place is regularly left in a mess with broken bottles, and general litter. There are gates at either end but they are not closed or locked at night.

“A major stumbling block in sorting the problem out is that the alleyway is not in public ownership, and therefore not on a regular street cleansing route. Council officers have been investigating who owns and is therefore legally responsible for keeping the alleyway clean and clear.

“I have suggested that, with this being right in the middle of town, adjacent to the recent £2.2m public realm upgrade, there is a persuasive case for council to go the extra mile and keep this alleyway clean and clear as part of its regular street sweeping and cleansing operations.

“The PSNI have told me that they have been keeping a closer eye on the alley to deter anti-social behaviour and public drinking. However, that problem of alcohol abuse is a bigger issue for society which will take a much longer time to address and resolve.”