Kirkby street blighted by empty council house

Woddland Walk Kirkby
Woddland Walk Kirkby

RESIDENTS in Kirkby have spoken of the catalogue of problems caused by a council house on their street that has been left empty for months.

A week after Ashfield District Council bosses announced that they had received £3.5m of funding to bring empty privately-owned houses back into use, people living on Woodland Walk have told Chad about the ordeal of living next to an empty Ashfield Homes property.

The house has been unoccupied for nearly six months and was left with its bathroom window wide open and with unsecure doors.

Michael Berridge (59), whose property adjoins the empty house, said that despite many calls to the housing company from him and neighbours, nothing was done to secure the house.

He then came home one day in February to hear water gushing out from a broken pipe.

The water came through from next door, flooding his living room and ruining the carpet.

“The living room was wet through,” he said.

“It was up to the skirting board - there was a good couple of inches standing water. It’s caused a lot of upset.”

Not long after the leak was fixed and the house was boarded up with metal screens, thieves broke in and stole the pipework, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

Sheila Boult (55), who lives next door on the other side, said that many people on the street have complained about the house.

“If they had boarded it up when people first told them, all this damage would not have been done,” she said.

Kim Cheetham (57), whose Walesby Drive home faces the boarded-up house, said it is a ‘shame’ to see it looking like such an eyesore.

He said: “It’s got to be better with someone using it, especially with some people homeless and with the waiting lists for council houses.”

Kelly Scott, acting director of Housing Services at Ashfield Homes Limited, said that they had received reports that the tenant had moved out and an abandonment of tenancy notice was served at the property after enquiries had been made.

“Subsequently the company was informed about a leak at the property and arranged for the property to be screened,” he said.

“Unfortunately the screens were removed and copper piping stolen from the property.

“The tenant has since this time advised the company of their intention to return to the property which will only be possible when remedial works have been completed.”