POLICE have been given direct access to troublesome properties as part of a campaign aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour.
One landlord has handed over the keys to 400 properties to enable enforcement agencies to stamp out yobbish conduct as part of the South Beach Transience pilot scheme.
The project has also seen landlords come under increased scrutiny.
One of the main failings uncovered by housing officers has been inadequate heating in many properties.
One mother was living with her baby in a property with no heating or hot water, according to a report to Blackpool Council. As a result of the programme, launched in July, 520 adults and 140 children have received support from a variety of services including health teams. A report about the pilot scheme, going before the council’s scrutiny committee next Thursday, says: “The teams are also using mobile facilities for drop in and advice, and have identified groups of people generally marginalised from society.”
The project is in response to complaints from residents about rising levels of anti-social behaviour largely blamed on the concentration of poor quality accommodation in the area.
Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for housing, said: “Already this scheme is showing positive results both for the residents living in the South Beach and the businesses trading there.
“By adopting a co-ordinated approach we are able to tackle a range of issues that impact on the day to day lives of residents and help make improvements.”
Waterloo ward councillor Tony Lee added: “I’m delighted with the progress which has been made since the scheme was launched.
“The good people who have lived here for many years are going to get more peace and quiet and there are more ways of controlling people who are a problem.
“Not only are the landlords being dealt with, but people are receiving help which will hopefully raise their aspirations.”
Take landlords to task, urge traders
CAMPAIGNERS working to make streets safer by tackling anti social behaviour have backed the council’s plans to take landlords to task.
Blackpool Council launched a scheme to give police direct access to properties known to cause late-night trouble to tackle the disruption.
Problems with youths have blighted the South Shore streets of Osborne Road, Withnell Road and Brighton Avenue in recent years.
Dave Pass, owner of the Cresta Hotel on Withnell Road, was with two other hoteliers when they were threatened by teenagers brandishing a two-foot iron bar in 2008.
In the same year, a 34-year-old woman was racially attacked by a teenager who threw a knife towards her on Osborne Road.
Since the horrifying incidents, Mr Pass has campaigned for tougher sentences for anti social behaviour.
He said: “The council has brought in selective licensing and any property within the holiday area has got to be fit for service.
“If these people misbehave within the properties then landlords can be fined if their tenants repeatedly misbehave.
“Landlords should take responsibility for what they are doing.
“If they buy a property to make money from it and their tenants don’t tow the line then they should be reprimanded.
“Some people coming here to live don’t respect the area.
“There needs to be more thought going into the people being allowed to live here in the first place rather than bringing them in and trying to sort them out once they have a home.
“Holidaymakers don’t want to see people drinking on the streets when they come here on holiday and it will put people off coming back.”
Patrick McPartling, chairman of South Shore police and communities together (PACT), added: “Anti social behaviour is one of the biggest problems we have had over six years in South Shore because once people come here the community has to suffer.
“We’ve been affected by drugs and vandalism in streets and it’s shameful because everyone is suffering.
“I’ve seen people walking around the streets with alcohol at 9am.”
Waterloo ward councillor Tony Lee said he has seen an improvement in the area since the South Beach Transience pilot scheme came into play. He said: “As a councillor, I am certainly getting fewer complaints about anti-social behaviour.”