Earlier this week Canterbury City Council announced that they would lock the gates at night-time on Fridays and Saturdays between 10 pm and 4 am at the Dane John Gardens, one of the top spots in Canterbury.
They did this in an effort to stop vandalism and repeated anti-social behaviour on the grounds, and are making it permanent after an apparently successful trial.
However, I believe that locking the gates will do nothing to stop this behaviour, and a short walk around the gardens is enough to prove this.
Various alleyways provide easy access to the grounds and ridiculously small fences that will not deter anyone from climbing over them.
Canterbury City Council have even gone as far as to suggest the addition of automatic gates that will open and close at set times.
One of the only benefits of locking the gates will be to stop innocent pedestrians from being subjected to this anti-social behaviour – but this is only considering the 5 main gates.
Canterbury’s famous city wall is a popular pathway down towards the garden and does not have much in terms of restricting access.
The wall features a fence lower than knee height which is easy for anyone to step over, and even the main fencing seems perfectly climbable.
This completely negates the point of investing in expensive motorised gates that could be potentially vandalised.
Whilst last year’s trial was said to have been successful, it is not clear how much it had actually improved as vandalism was still occurring.
Soap was added to the water fountain in the Dane John Gardens twice last month, which may seem harmless but is just one point to prove how the gates are not stopping much.
CCTV which is out of reach is probably the best way forward for the troubled gardens but will require 24/7 monitoring.
Better lighting could also be installed as the grounds are poorly lit at night making it hard to see what is around you.
Hopefully, Canterbury City Council bring much-needed improvements to the gardens to make it a safer experience for everyone