We are taking measures to make alleyway safer and more secure

In response to the letter you recently published (A burglary waiting to happen H&H letters February 7) I would like to update residents in Hillside Gardens of our efforts to make the alley at the back of their properties safer. Carol Tucker did not know

In response to the letter you recently published (A burglary waiting to happen H&H letters February 7) I would like to update residents in Hillside Gardens of our efforts to make the alley at the back of their properties safer.

Carol Tucker did not know when she wrote to you that in response to her call, a week before her burglary, I had taken the council officer responsible for the Muswell Hill and Highgate neighbourhood to the alley to show him its problems.

Some time ago I visited the alley with the council's head of lighting and obtained his agreement that the alley will be fitted with new streetlamps. Unfortunately, the alley was blocked before this work could be done. I had then obtained the assurance that the re-lighting will be done as soon as the blockages which impede access have been removed.

I had also visited the alley with the head of the council's Streetscene department pressing for the large amounts of dumped household items and refuse to be removed, and as a result the council carried out a thorough 'deep clean'.

This alley is important to many people. It has been used by residents as a rear access to gardens and as a convenient short cut since the area was built around 100 years ago. Indeed, Carol has said to me more than once that, far from being a source of problems, it was actually one of the features which persuaded her and her husband to move there. It is also the only access route to many of the flats above the Archway Road shops.

It was therefore deeply disappointing to hear that she had left messages without response over a period of a couple of months on the council's message service for reporting lighting problems.

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It is crucial, for all the many reasons of road and personal safety and (as Carol's burglary sadly underlined) for security that problems with lights are dealt with speedily. The lighting service has given the appropriate commitment to replacing the lights, but the council must urgently find out exactly why the reporting service has failed so badly, and make the necessary changes to ensure this failure is not repeated.

I have insisted that, until the lamp columns are replaced, the old lights must be maintained and bulbs changed regularly to prevent burglary and the risks to the safety of residents and visitors.

Cllr Bob Hare

(Lib Dem) Highgate

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