Residents ‘plagued’ by anti-social behaviour

Fed-up residents have spoken of their distress after being plagued by anti-social behaviour.

Isos Housing invited residents to discuss concerns about a property in Oldgate, managed by Barnabas Safe and Sound as part of a supported housing scheme for young people in crisis.

I feel really let down that people are just not grasping the situation.

Robert Bensley

The Herald has previously reported complaints about anti-social behaviour at the premises, such as noise, litter, swearing and disturbance into the early hours.

And while residents were promised that action had been taken to address the problems, they remained unconvinced.

One resident said: “I have lived there for two-and-a-half years and the noise has been horrendous. I have reported it repeatedly. I shouldn’t have had to have two years of putting up with the racket before somebody does something.”

Another asked: “How are you going to stop people shouting all through the night, or knocking on the door at 2.30 in the morning?”

Some residents suggested that Barnabas looks to house its tenants somewhere ‘more suitable’.

Newsagent Brian Penfold said: “Morpeth is a very safe place to live, and talking about where older people should live, it is wonderful that they can be so near to the town centre. It should be great, but it hasn’t been because of low criminality and anti-social behaviour.

“This house for young people is in the wrong place, it’s as simple as that. Some people do deserve a chance, but why put them in this central place? For the undesirables, riff-raff, criminals and drug-takers, it is far too easy for them to get in there.

“The way forward is perhaps if Barnabas realises that it has got the wrong house in the wrong place, and maybe it should let this property go and move to another area.”

A resident added: “This is totally inappropriate in an area where the majority of people are either retired, or close to retired, and a lot of them are ill. They don’t need noise that starts at ten o’clock at night and runs until four in the morning. That is why these young people should be moved.”

Another said: “The thing is you have lost our trust completely. I have spoken to Barnabas on a regular basis and it has been unable to solve the problem. We are putting up with noise night after night after night.

“You can see we are very anxious about it and for somebody to say you can put things into place, well it has gone beyond that. We really need the reassurance that somebody is going to change something.

“It is a real concern. This is an impossible situation. I’m the first person who will say we need somewhere for these poor kids to go, but I know it is not working here.

“These are young kids, they are not going to be quiet all the time. This problem is not going to go away. They are in the wrong environment.”

Local landlord Robert Bensley said there was also confusion about reporting problems.

“You have got a very confusing situation. There are four different reporting procedures. There is Barnabas Safe and Sound, Isos, the police and Northumberland County Council. The four never come together and that has been the problem all along,” he said.

“This has not gone on for months, but for years.

“I feel really let down that people are just not grasping the situation.”

Neighbourhood officer PC Lee Taylor encouraged residents to report problems to police, as well as Barnabas. He said just six complaints about the Oldgate premises have been reported to the force in the last two years.