St Albans pensioners protest about neighbour with police record

PUBLISHED: 16:01 07 April 2010 | UPDATED: 15:02 06 May 2010

AN APOLOGY has been issued to elderly people living in a block of flats who have had a young man with a police record moved in with them. St Albans council s housing portfolio holder Cllr Joyce Lusby was commenting on the case of the 26-year-old man who h

AN APOLOGY has been issued to elderly people living in a block of flats who have had a young man with a police record moved in with them.

St Albans council's housing portfolio holder Cllr Joyce Lusby was commenting on the case of the 26-year-old man who has been moved into a block of flats previously occupied solely by tenants over the age of 65.

Now the angry pensioners living in East Lane, Wheathampstead, whose ages range from 70 to 96, are petitioning St Albans District Council to revert to the over-65 policy.

More than 20 residents of the accommodation have signed the petition after the man was moved in there.

The council maintained that the East Lane flat had been advertised three times with the age restriction when it became available but it failed to attract an eligible bid. On the fourth occasion it was advertised with no age restriction and attracted 62 bids - a claim which the elderly residents refute.

Cllr Lusby said: "I am so sorry that we appear to have got it wrong on this occasion. But we will learn from this and make as sure as we can that it doesn't happen again. We have been criticised for leaving places empty in the past but obviously this experience has taught us that, where possible, it would be better to group older people together."

One of the residents Hilda Goddard, who has suffered a stress-related stroke, said: "It would be unreasonable to expect a young man like that not to have friends his own age with the resultant noise, beer and fast cars within the estate, all of which pose a threat or perceived intimidation to the existing residents."

Since he arrived, the man has moved a woman with two young children and a Staffordshire bull terrier into his one-bedroom flat which has added to the noise and disturbance.

Mrs Goddard said: "It wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't constantly woken up by their early morning rows and I feel sorry for the children. They have bought scooters for the children which adds to the noise overhead. Also, they often go out and leave the dog for hours on end crying. I don't know if they leave it locked in the bathroom but it's very distressing."

Cllr Judy Shardlow, whose ward the flats are in, has interceded with SADC's council housing department. She said: "I think they are now listening and hopefully will be addressing the problems on this site. It is a lovely little community there and it would be a shame to disrupt these people's lives. I think they are now offering this man the chance to move somewhere more suitable."

A police spokesperson said: "We are aware of the problems people at this address have been experiencing and are monitoring the situation.

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