A RESIDENT has spoken out in support of plans to invest £7.9m in the Pill area of Newport to fight anti-social behaviour and crime.

Earlier this month, Newport City Homes announced it would be investing the money in the area as part of a regeneration scheme.

The aims of the scheme would be to fight anti-social behaviour and crime in the area by removing underpasses and replacing alleyways with clear and open footpaths on sites they own.

Gill Healey, a Williams Close resident, said: “It was lovely when we first moved in.

“Now, the main issues are drugs, gangs and drinking.

“They congregate in the underpasses, my bedroom overlooks one of them. They deal drugs and there have also been fires there, they burn furniture and rubbish.”

The 65-year-old said that they have found drug equipment in the community hallway.

“We have a community door and sometimes they go in the hallway,” she said. “We have founds spoons, used needles and all sorts.

“They ring the buzzer saying they are going to see someone and people let them in.

“I have my grandchildren who come and visit me, but there are needles left in the underpass.

“I have to ring the police or Newport City Homes to come clean them up. I am happy with the response from emergency services, including the police.”

Ms Healey said they also congregate at the bottom of Williams Close and that the plans to open up the area will make a big difference.

“There won’t be blind spots,” she said. “They won’t be able to congregate as much as there will be vehicles getting through.

“At the moment there is no emergency vehicle access for Williams Close, which worries me.

“We want to have a estate we can be proud of, we are going to make a difference for the next generation.

“We want it to be a nice place to live, without dark alleyways.

“We are looking forward to it, it is going to make a big difference.”

Rachel George, head of development and regeneration for Newport City Homes, said they will remove alleyways and underpasses to open up enclosed spaces and create better access for cars and pedestrians throughout the estate.

She said: “This will also limit opportunities for anti-social behaviour, help people feel more safe and better connect the regeneration area to the wider community.

“The basketball court on Francis Drive, which is often the target of anti-social behaviour, will be removed and replaced with a community space that will cater to the needs of the wider community.”

In the project’s masterplan, which sets out a range of environmental improvements, it says new roads and pedestrian links will be created in a number of locations.

It also says opening up streets will make it more difficult for people to hang around, commit anti-social behaviour and crime.