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Harold Hill flats to be investigated over prostitution, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 August 2018

Harold Wood Hall flats have had a number of reported social problems including drugs, sub-lettings and prostitution.

Harold Wood Hall flats have had a number of reported social problems including drugs, sub-lettings and prostitution.

Archant

The police and the housing association that run the blocks of flats are investigating the allegations made by a number of residents.

Harold Wood Hall flats have had a number of reported social problems including drugs, sub-lettings and prostitution.Harold Wood Hall flats have had a number of reported social problems including drugs, sub-lettings and prostitution.

Allegations of prostitution, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour are being investigated at a block of flats in Harold Hill.

Residents at Harold Wood Hall in Widecombe Road have said they have complained to their housing association a number of times, and now L&Q - who run the hall - are investigating the claims along with the police.

At the same block of flats a wanted prisoner was recently arrested after he had been living in a gas cupboard for more than a year.

The Recorder interviewed a resident who has lived in the hall for 10 years, but wished to remain anonymous, and he said that two to three times a night random men and women come into flats to take part in paid sexual activities.

Bedding and clothes were found outside of the gas cupboard at Harold Wood Hall in Harold Hill.Bedding and clothes were found outside of the gas cupboard at Harold Wood Hall in Harold Hill.

He said that he had also seen drug deals taking place in the car park and other residents said that they didn’t feel safe living there.

One resident said: “I don’t dare say anything because otherwise I’d get my throat cut.”

Another said that he tries to keep himself to himself, and turns a blind eye to what goes on.

The resident the Recorder interviewed said: “It’s the worst it has ever been.

The gas cupboard where the Recorder believes the prisoner had been living.The gas cupboard where the Recorder believes the prisoner had been living.

“Drug dealing, prostitution, anti-social behaviour, loud music late at night, it is awful.

“We don’t feel safe living here, the front door is kicked in and doesn’t lock.

“We need cameras or a caretaker, its the people that have moved in here in the last year that have made it worse.”

L&Q took over responsibilty for the care home in April this year from East Thames housing association, and it said that it was not aware of the problems prior to taking over.

Harold Wood Hall flats have had a number of reported social problems including drugs, sub-lettings and prostitution.Harold Wood Hall flats have had a number of reported social problems including drugs, sub-lettings and prostitution.

A spokeswoman said: “With the information provided at the unannounced visits undertaken, further investigations are being progressed to establish concerns raised.

“In addition, from the investigations undertaken at the unannounced visit, we have contacted the police and key support agencies regarding the vulnerability of the residents concerned in the block, with a view to hold a professionals meeting to discuss the present issues and concerns.

“From this meeting the aim is to obtain an agreed action plan from all the key agencies concerned, to tackle the anti social behaviour being experienced at Harold Wood Hall.

“I hope the information above provides some reassurance over the work being undertaken to help resolve the issues that have been raised.”

Councillor Tele Lawal, who looks after the ward in which the hall falls under said: “Residents concerns have been overlooked for far too long.

“East Thames and L&Q Group have failed to keep vulnerable tenants safe and provide satisfactory management and maintenance of the property.

“There is clearly no robust inspection regime in place, or our local police wouldn’t have found an individual living in a gas cupboard for twelve months undetected.

“L&Q Group needs to be held accountable for these serious failings and I would urge councillors in neighbouring boroughs to investigate L&Q properties and ensure the same poor practice is not taking place.

“Councillors in Heaton Ward have asked for a thorough investigation into all allegations and will be working closely with L&Q Group and key agencies to devise an agreed action plan which will provide the best outcome for our residents.

“I am disappointed that we had to make this public before L&Q Group acted, and ask that they do better in the future before an even more serious situation occurs.”

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