Councillor calls on council to stop letting OAP flats to nuisance tenants

Resident Jasmine Clifford outside a  fire damaged flat on Willow Crescent  Sutton on December 29 2018.
Resident Jasmine Clifford outside a fire damaged flat on Willow Crescent Sutton on December 29 2018.

A councillor has called on Ashfield District Council to stop letting tenants with a history of nuisance behaviour into accommodation which was meant for the elderly.

Huthwaite councillor coun Lee Anderson says residents at Willow Crescent in Sutton have been left terrified after problem neighbours made their lives hell.

Afire which endangered the lives of elderly people living there is suspected to have been an arson attack.

Coun Anderson said: “A few years back places like Willow Crescent in Sutton, Swanson Avenue in Huthwaite, Clare Road in Leamington and similar places throughout the district were all meant for over 50s, over 55s and OAP’s.

“As our elderly residents died and the properties became vacant Ashfield District Council started to home unsuitable tenants in these properties. Tenants with a history of nuisance behaviour, drug use and no intention of integrating normally in society.

“I genuinely fear for some of our elderly residents in these areas. You must act now or I fear the worst could happen and someone will get seriously hurt or even die.

“The council have placed some of the worst tenants imaginable next door to some of our most elderly and vulnerable people in Ashfield.

“I now have residents from all over Ashfield contacting me to stay they are in a similar situation and they are living in constant fear.

“Imagine getting to a time of your life when you want to live out your final days in peace and safety and then the council decides to move in tenants next door who will make this impossible.

Coun Anderson said lives had been endangered after the blaze at on Willow Crescent Sutton on Saturday (December 29).

A 51-year-old has been arrested and released on bail after emergency services were called to the fire at 1am.

Two other men have been released from police custody, with no further action having been taken against them.

A spokesman from Ashfield District Council said: “Ashfield District Council is aware of a fire that took place at the Willow Crescent flats in the early hours of 29th December 2018 and we are working with the Police and Fire services in respect of investigating its cause.

Council Officers have been on site to offer help and support to residents and temporary accommodation has been made available to those who need it. Our immediate priority is to help the residents affected. The Police have already made arrests in regards to the incident.

“The Council regularly reviews its tenancy policy and works with tenants to get their views on the policy.

“Robust checks are conducted on all applicants before they are made an offer of a tenancy and new tenants sign an introductory tenancy, giving the Council the power to end the tenancy quickly if the tenant causes anti-social behaviour or breaks any other tenancy conditions during the introductory period.

“The Council is aware of pockets of anti-social behaviour at Willow Crescent and is taking action to deal with those tenants and their visitors who are responsible for it.

“We would encourage residents to report problems, but understand some will be reluctant to do so. Officers from our Anti-Social Behaviour Team will be visiting the flats over the course of the next week to discuss concerns with residents, to gather further information and to provide reassurance.

coun John Wilmott, Cabinet Member for Social & Council Housing, said: “The Council is providing every support to those residents affected by the fire. We have a zero tolerance of anti-social behaviour and recently evicted two tenants from flats in Sutton for drug related offences. Behaviour that puts other tenant’s lives in danger will not be tolerated and we will take robust enforcement action against any tenant found to be guilty of such unacceptable behaviour.”