‘Completely disproportionate’: Councilor rails against reports the underpass is like a drug den

An adviser believes reports comparing an underpass to a drug den have been exaggerated.

Cllr Ron Arundale, who represents the Kader ward, said reports of needles littering the tube just off Trimdon Avenue are not true.

Adam, a local resident, has previously complained about needles and drug use in the underpass saying he did not feel safe walking his dog through it.

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Cllr Arundale said: ‘Every other day I’m going down the Beck Valley and I don’t tend to go through the tunnel but I’ve spoken to all the dog walkers who pass through it daily and the needle reports are not true.

“There is occasionally, and I mean occasionally, broken glass there, but I haven’t seen any of that in months.

“Yeah, we’re getting graffiti, but actually people said the last batch of graffiti that was painted a fortnight ago, they were sorry to see it go because it was quite colorful and it didn’t wasn’t offensive, like the stuff that’s been put in now, it’s not offensive.

He added: “It was something for me that was completely over the top.

“If it was full of needles and stuff like that, I could understand the rationale, but it’s not.”

“One night you can’t see at all, so you don’t feel safe”

Adam, 62, has previously explained what it feels like to walk on the subway.

He said: “I don’t feel safe. I walk my dog ​​morning and evening. Even on a morning when it’s daylight, I don’t feel safe.

“I’ll go out and walk and obviously it’s daylight outside but when you walk in there you don’t know what you’re standing on and you can’t see.

“Obviously there are needles in there so you don’t know what you’re standing on, there’s broken glass everywhere.

“One night you can’t see at all so you don’t feel safe, you don’t know who’s there, you don’t know what’s going on.”

The dog walker was frustrated when graffiti reappeared less than a fortnight after the council cleared the underpass in December.

The graffiti was sprayed again after the council cleaned it up

Adam recently started a petition on the council’s website for lighting to be installed on the tube, as he believes it will end anti-social behavior.

He has already said, “He [lighting] would stop the graffiti, there might be a few more one-offs but that would stop what’s going on right now. It’s more like a drug den and a fire department den, they start fires in there.”

The petition reads: “We, the undersigned, ask council to do the following: We, the undersigned, ask council to replace the underpass lighting that runs along the footpath under Trimdon Avenue in Acklam.

“The underpass which is under Trimdon Avenue in Acklam is dangerous and in a very disgusting state, it has not been lit for many years and is regularly covered in graffiti.

“Middlesbrough Council are not listening. We need this underpass to be lit and graffiti removed to make residents feel safer! »

Speaking about his decision to start the petition, he said, “I think it’s 100% necessary, so I started the petition as they [Middlesbrough Council] try to push their luck to turn the lights on or off. I hope the lights actually happen.

“It was only yesterday that the small member grant programs, all successful neighborhoods, were announced. There are two at Trimdon but zero at Kader.

“I’ve tabled the petition to put more pressure on them because once it reaches 500 signatures it goes to the next full council meeting, so I’m hoping to get 500.”

The Small Elected Members Program is a way for members to apply for money for a project in their area – it could be the installation of CCTV, traffic calming measures or trail improvements.

Cllr Arundale, a member of the Middlesbrough Independent Group, said he did not believe the grant scheme would cover the underpass work.

He also said he didn’t submit a proposal this year because he didn’t like applying for fun when other areas of the city were more in need.

The Trimdon Avenue underpass
The Trimdon Avenue underpass

Speaking of the underpass lighting, he said: “Apparently it was never connected so there was never any lighting there and people can’t see the justification for the cost.

“He was quoted between £12,000 and £14,000 to connect this. It’s not a route people have to take to get anywhere.

“If you’re a dog walker from Malvern there’s no reason you can’t use other routes without having to go through the tunnel and likewise if you’re coming from Mandale you don’t necessarily have to go through the tunnel.

“As far as we are concerned at present, there is no justification for this.

“The other view is that if we put lights in there, it will become a gathering point for children anyway.

“If there was a lot of money or spare money floating around and they thought they could put some lights in there, that’s fair enough, but it’s not an essential thing given other things we need.”

“We condemn this dangerous and antisocial behavior”

Adam said the council contacted him to say they thought the lighting was desirable but not necessary at this time.

Middlesbrough Council has been approached to comment on the petition.

In December, a spokesperson for Middlesbrough Council said: ‘Council staff visited the underpass in question this week to remove graffiti and area social workers regularly visit to remove rubbish, including needles – we condemn this dangerous and antisocial behavior in the strongest possible terms.

“As for the lighting, it has never been connected to a power supply and will require investment to replace the lights and connect it to the nearest available power supply.”

You can view the petition here: https://moderngov.middlesbrough.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?id=16

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