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Residents at Gravesham Court on ‘front line’ of anti-social behaviour

Action must be taken to protect people living “on the front line” of anti-social behaviour, according to Gravesham MP Adam Holloway.

The Conservative visited residents living at Gravesham Court in Clarence Row, Gravesend, last week to speak about how their home is constantly blighted by people getting into communal areas and hallways to take drugs, defecate and urinate on the floor.

Residents of Gravesham Court are fed up. Picture: John Westhrop
Residents of Gravesham Court are fed up. Picture: John Westhrop

The Messenger reported in August how discarded needles and drug paraphernalia had been found in the stairwells and corridors, and that residents aged from their 20s to retirement age had called on Gravesham council to take action. One couple were caught having sex on the stairs.

The bottom three floors of Gravesham Court is sheltered accommodation for elderly and disabled while the upper floors are a mix of council and private accommodation.

CCTV cameras were installed covering part of the block a few years ago and a security guard monitors the block several days a week. but residents say this has not solved the problem.

Three months on, little has changed, which prompted Peter Jewett to contact Mr Holloway. “After witnessing a few incidents involving residents I was moved to try and do something to find out if the council felt it proper to house elderly and vulnerable adults along with other council tenants in the same block,” said Mr Jewett. “I personally think it’s outrageous.

“Adam and his secretary came on Friday and we discussed the ongoing problems. I pointed out the previous article in the Messenger and he agreed something needed doing.”

Gravesham MP Adam Holloway
Gravesham MP Adam Holloway

After visiting Gravesham Court, Mr Holloway and Mr Jewett are now set to meet Gravesham council next week.

“I want to speak to the council about it,” said the MP, who was an army captain in Iraq during the First Gulf War and is a former war journalist. “There’s a problem and something long-term needs to be done. I don’t think it’s a quick fix but it does seem ridiculous that people needing sheltered housing are being put on the front line of some of the worst anti-social behaviour in the borough.”

A council spokesman said it was working with its Community Safety Unit and housing department, police, and the homeless charity Porchlight and firm action was being taken against offenders.

She added: “The council has regular security patrolling Gravesham Court and this has been the case for a couple of months now. Any unauthorised people found are moved on and the council is putting other measures in to ensure that residents do not have to endure the nuisance caused by these unauthorised people.

“Further long term measures are being investigated. These are intended to ensure that the blocks become even more inaccessible to those who shouldn’t be there. The council would like to assure residents that these issues are being taken very seriously.”

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