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Council secures premise closure order

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 17/02/2015

North Avon Magistrates Court has granted South Gloucestershire Council a closure order on a property in Filton, following persistent complaints of anti-social behaviour (ASB).

To help protect victims and communities from ASB, local authorities and police have powers to act quickly to close premises which are being used to commit nuisance and disorder.*

These powers are usually used as a last resort but following a number of complaints about the behaviour of occupants living at an address in Charles Road, Filton we applied to North Avon Magistrates Court for a premise closure notice. Having listened to the evidence, the court granted a premise closure order during a hearing which took place on Monday 16 February. The closure order comes into effect immediately and will remain closed for three months. The occupants have to remove their belongings by Thursday 19 February.

The property has been privately rented from a landlord since 2008 by Michael and Jayne Meredith with three of their children aged 14, 17 and 18.

Residents in Charles Road and Hunters Way complained to Avon & Somerset Constabulary and our Anti-Social Behaviour team about nuisance and ASB associated with the family and visitors to the property which started to escalate between September and November last year.

During initial investigations and door to door enquiries made by partner agencies, most residents felt too intimidated or frightened to formally report incidents. Our officers and police have worked closely together to encourage people to report incidents which included:

  • A large group of youths gathering in and outside the property
  • Verbal and homophobic abuse towards other residents
  • Criminal damage including smashing residents’ windows
  • Riding motorised scooters aggressively at other road users and not wearing helmets.

At the same time, the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced the Community Trigger, a new measure designed to give victims and communities a greater say in the way in which their ASB complaints are dealt with. One resident made an application to activate the Community Trigger on behalf of a group – the first time the legislation has been used in South Gloucestershire – and a review was carried out which found increased levels of ASB were having an adverse impact on the lives of victims and the community.

Cllr Claire Young, Chair of Communities Committee, said: “Taking action to have a property closed and the tenants removed is very much seen as a last resort by this authority and our partners in the police. However, we feel strongly that this was a necessary step given the amount of anti-social behaviour taking place at this address which was having a detrimental effect on victims and the wider community.

“We hope that this case sends a clear message to perpetrators that this kind of sustained, anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated in South Gloucestershire.

“Securing the Premise Closure Order forms part of a wider action plan to provide a more long-term, sustainable outcome for residents in this part of Filton. We would like to thank everyone for their cooperation and patience throughout this difficult time.

“We are now in the process of securing the property and we are currently liaising with the landlord to bring the property back into use at a later date.”

Neighbourhood Inspector Adrian Fallows from Avon & Somerset Constabulary added: “The use of a closure order is very much a last resort, but was necessary in this case. This new legislation has given us an opportunity to resolve, with our partners, a long standing anti-social behaviour issue which has had an adverse effect on the lives and well-being of local residents.

“It also demonstrates that working closely with all the partners involved, and with the support of the community, that we can tackle these important issues and improve people’s quality of life.”

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