Firm hits back in homes row
AHOUSING developer has dismissed as ‘untrue’ claims that a rise in anti-social behaviour is putting people off living in a new multi- million- pound development.
PlaceFirst was responding to claims made by ward councillor Tony Dobson that ‘a number of residents’ were leaving the Woodnook area of Accrington because of anti-social behaviour and that there was a ‘ 20 to 25pc vacancy rate’ on a project to transform more than 150 homes.
The company said it ‘does not have a problem with anti-social behaviour’ and that the development ‘continues to be popular, with very low void rates’.
Speaking at a recent cabinet meeting, Coun Dobson said: “I went to a public meeting and there were a number of issues from local residents about the level of anti-social behaviour in the Wood nook area and the effect that it’s having on PlaceFirst.
“A number of residents were highlighting the fact that they are now leaving the development. Certainly when I spoke to the lead gentleman he is concerned about financial viability going forward.”
But PlaceFirst bosses said they are committed to the project and that Coun Dobson’s comments were ‘factually untrue and unsubstantiated’.
The developer said that only one household had requested to ‘terminate their tenancy early’ after their car was stolen.
A PlaceFirst spokesperson said: “This in itself is not a crime unique to Woodnook and is a common opportunist crime that happens in urban centres across the UK. The residents had just started a 12-month tenancy but we allowed them to terminate the tenancy agreement early. In the two years or so since the first families moved into their new homes, we have had no reports of anti-social behaviour from our residents other than the isolated incident raised at the community meeting.”
PlaceFirst said they have completed 60 new homes with the occupancy rate at ‘just under 95pc’ and are now plan- ning the final stage of the scheme bringing 26 units ‘back to life as high quality homes for families’.
Bosses said they are also making further investment into the area and now have a ‘live-in caretaker’ to keep the area ‘to the highest standard’.
A planning application for six lockable steel gates on alleyways between South Street and Booth Street, Royds Street and Augusta Street, and Wilfred Street was approved by the council last week.
Applicants PlaceFirst said the two-metre tall steel gates would help reduce crime and restrict access to key holders. They carried out a consultation with all 93 affected properties and received 100 per cent support from the 80 which responded.
Leave space for police comment.
Woodnook in Accrington, and, inset, councillor Tony Dobson