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Injunction bans man from 'sink estate' in Tenterden

A man has been banned from a housing complex, branded a "sink estate", where neighbours lived in terror.

Elderly residents of St Mildred's Close in Tenterden, once a quiet backwater, said they were too fearful to step outside their front doors, when a man set up camp in the communal corridors and pitched his tent in the gardens, where they tended vegetables.

Ashford Borough Council has now served the 50-year-old with a court order excluding him from the area for six months, after fearful residents contacted police on multiple occasions.

Damaged property at St Mildred's Close, Tenterden
Damaged property at St Mildred's Close, Tenterden

One disabled tenant, who has a head injury, was so intimidated that he was forced to miss work at a Tenterden store, where he has an impeccable record of attendance.

Residents also said that their once pristine block, which used to house mostly over-50s, had become over-run with problems as younger tenants moved in with social and mental health issues and that property was damaged and fights broke out in the night.

Council lawyers applied to Canterbury county court for an injunction order to be approved under section one of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Broken fencing and clutter in one of the gardens in St Mildred’s Close
Broken fencing and clutter in one of the gardens in St Mildred’s Close

Deputy district judge Pithouse granted the injunction on June 12, which states: “The court is satisfied that the conduct which is prohibited consists or includes the use or threatened use of violence”.

The injunction bans the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, from entering the property or gardens of 12 St Mildred’s Close, Church Road, Tenterden and surrounding blocks and gardens.

It also stops him from visiting the Tenterden Day Centre in Church Road or going along Church Road towards the High Street. He also cannot travel through Bridewell Lane or the Tesco store and car park.

The order lasts until December 12 or until further notice.

Cllr Bill Barrett, portfolio holder for housing at the council, said officers in the housing and legal teams had reacted quickly following residents' complaints, leading to a report appearing on KentOnline earlier this month in which resident Ailsa Vinelott, 69, labelled the housing a "sink estate".

St Mildred's Close was once a quiet neighbourhood
St Mildred's Close was once a quiet neighbourhood

He said: “The authority has a zero tolerance approach towards anti-social behaviour in all its forms. These issues make people’s lives a misery and we hope that our rapid response to gather a case for this order will reassure our communities that we do not tolerate it and we will respond with appropriate action."

Cllr Barrett urged tenants not to put up with anti-social behaviour and to report it to the council and the police. He added: "With your help we can take action against the offenders and stamp out this behaviour.”

Cllr Paul Clokie, ward member for the area, said. “I hope this court action improves life for the residents of St Mildred’s Close who have suffered the negative effects of this anti-social behaviour."

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