Housing chiefs and the police have used new powers for the first time to close down a property which has been a hot bed of anti-social behaviour. The City of Wolverhampton Council, supported by West Midlands Police and Wolverhampton Homes, secured a closure order against the property in Parkfields, following concerns over drug use and other issues.
The power for local authorities to issue closure notices and subsequently apply to the courts for closure orders came in with the new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and are designed to protect victims and communities by quickly closing premises that are causing nuisance or disorder.
The closure notice was issued to the tenant of a Wolverhampton Homes-managed property at 49a Parkfield Grove, Parkfields, on Monday 26 October, with the closure order granted by magistrates on Tuesday 27 October. It determined that the property be closed to everyone except representatives of the council or Wolverhampton Homes, meaning the tenant and visitors are unable to access the house.
There have been numerous complaints over the last two years about alleged drug use at 49a Parkfield Grove, including suggestions that it was being used as a crack den with needles littered around the vicinity. Numerous attempts were made by Wolverhampton’s Anti-Social Behaviour Team to speak to the tenant about the issue without success.
It is the first time the new closure powers have been used in Wolverhampton, with magistrates due to consider a second application relating to a property in Bushbury later this week.
Councillor Peter Bilson, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for City Assets, said: "The activities taking place at 49a Parkfield Grove have been of great concern to people living in the local area – particularly older residents and families with young children – and they will be relieved that we have been able to tackle the problem.
"Taking this action shows that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated, and that we won't hesitate to take action to deal with it, wherever it occurs and whatever form it takes.
"It is clear that many people feel uncomfortable about reporting anti-social behaviour, for fear or repercussions or reprisals, and these new powers give local authorities the chance to take action using information they have obtained from victims anonymously.
Sergeant Jon Yeomans, of Blakenhall, Ettingshall and Springvale Neighbourhood Police Team, added: “By working closely with the City of Wolverhampton Council, Wolverhampton Homes and residents we continue to give a clear message that drug misuse will not be tolerated in Wolverhampton.
“This order is a good result, however granting a closure order can take time and does rely on public support. I’d like to thanks residents for their continued support and patience; they have helped to reduce anti-social behaviour and drug misuse in the local area.
“If you have any information, no matter how small you think it is, concerning anti-social behaviour and drug misuse, please contact police on 101.”