Council tenants behaving badly

Coun Karen Leytham.
Coun Karen Leytham.

More than 200 new cases of anti-social behaviour by council estate tenants have been reported over the past year.

The majority of complaints to Lancaster City Council have been about noise nuisance, but housing bosses have also dealt with cases of verbal abuse, issues with pets and untidy gardens.

A report to full council yesterday also revealed that anti-social behaviour by tenants takes up a “significant amount of time” for the council and preventing it remains “a high priority”.

The report by Councillor Karen Leytham, cabinet member for housing, also said there are more than 2,800 people are on a waiting list for council houses in the Lancaster and Morecambe district, a slight reduction on last year.

The highest demand for council-run accommodation remains for one and two bedroom properties, forming 88% of the households on the housing register.

The council is also aiming to rehouse more than 400 households over the next year and has spent £4.8m over the last year on its homes, which includes 3,761 rental properties.

Coun Leytham said: “Considerable impact has been made on the Branksome estate in Morecambe with the refurbishment and improvement to the common areas of the blocks of flats and this work will continue.

“We have also been able to continue the programme of converting sheltered housing bedsits into flats at Ripley Court in Lancaster.”

Citing new developments planned for Carnforth, the Ridge and Westgate in Morecambe, Coun Leytham said: “The council is still developing its plans for building new council housing.

“Hopefully 2015/16 will see the first council housing being built in this district in some decades.”

The council has also set a 2% rent increase for its tenants in 2015/16, rising to 3% from 2016/17 onwards.

Coun Leytham’s annual report, which also covered environmental health and emergency planning, also revealed the council also had a busy year dealing with neighbour nuisance, pollution and anti-social behaviour at non-council properties.

The council also investigated more than 330 cases of infectious diseases including food poisoning and Norovirus, responded to more than 500 food standards, safety and quality complaints, and inspected more than 400 food businesses with surprise visits to check hygiene and food standards.