Council set to get tough on nuisance neighbours

Reporter:

Lois Hough

NUISANCE neighbours living in council-owned homes will be the subject of a tough new clampdown.

Housing chiefs at Flintshire Council are launching new guidelines to deal with violence, verbal abuse, foul language and graffiti at their properties.

They say their five-year-old policy needs updating and admit they are unable to track complaints from start to finish.

Head of housing Clare Budden told a meeting of the housing overview and scrutiny committee: “There is scope to improve our service in terms of management of anti-social behaviour.

“Our current policy is too old and needs to be written in more modern language so that people understand it.

“It needs to be reviewed so that it can be more effective.

“Eviction is the last resort and we believe it is a failure if we have to evict somebody.

“We want to make people understand their obligations as a tenant.”

Noise is the biggest complaint from tenants, closely followed by verbal abuse.

Reports of criminal activity across council homes in the county have increased from 25 in 2009 to 30 in 2010 and cases of harassment have gone up from 39 to 50.

But cases of criminal damage have been slashed from 22 in 2009 to 13 in the last year.

Tenants listed car parking and rubbish as their biggest concerns.

Council chiefs say their new focus will be to prevent the crimes before they have occurred and are aiming to create a robust system where cases of anti-social behaviour can be reported.

Connah’s Quay councillor Bernie Attridge, deputy leader of the Labour group, said the new policy was long overdue.

He told the meeting: “The majority of tenants in my ward are great law-abiding citizens, but there are a couple of issues which have been going on for years.
“It has got that bad that some people have installed CCTV cameras on their homes to protect their property.

“What we have at the moment hasn’t worked.”

Members voted to support the new policy which will be presented before a meeting of the executive in April 2011.

See full story in the Leader

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