NEWSPAPERS and television reports are often full of stories of socalled ‘neighbours from hell’ – the kind of families and individuals whose behaviour blights the lives of those around them and can damage entire communities.
So it probably won’t surprise Argus readers that I’ve dealt with countless cases like this in my 13 years as AM for Torfaen.
In one particularly extreme situation I was involved with last year an entire neighbourhood was held to ransom for months because of the constant noise, criminal and anti-social behaviour caused by a single individual.
I’ll never forget receiving e-mails from a pensioner at five o’clock in the morning telling me that she and the rest of her neighbours had been up all night as a result of anti-social behaviour.
Thankfully the tenant was eventually evicted, and the area has since returned to being the settled and peaceful community it was prior to their arrival; but the residents affected had to put up with many months of stress, misery, and frustration before the situation was finally resolved.
I am always struck by the tremendous strain these situations place on residents, who are often encouraged to record and report every incident – it almost becomes like a full-time job in itself.
We’ve seen various initiatives launched recently to try to get to grips with this problem.
At UK level a ‘trigger’ system is currently being trialled which would ensure police would automatically become involved if more than five households in an area complain about a neighbour, and here in Wales the Welsh Government is consulting on plans to greatly strengthen the powers of social landlords to tackle anti-social behaviour, and is looking at ways to compel landlords in the private sector to do more too.
This is obviously a really complex issue, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I am really keen to hear the views of Argus readers – particularly those who have, or are, experiencing these kinds of problems within their own communities.
If you are suffering from anti-social behaviour in the community, or you would like assistance with any other matter, please call my office in Pontypool on 01495 740022 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also reach me through my Facebook page at Facebook.com/lynneneagle