Angry and despairing neighbours are calling for action on a “house from hell” they claim has made their lives a misery for four years.
Residents in Siddows Avenue, Clitheroe, have now launched a petition calling for immediate action on the privately-owned property they say has been used as a “dumping ground” for troublesome tenants.
I have every sympathy with the residents as the situation is intolerableCounty Coun. Ian Brown
Mr Roger Wilson, who has lived in Siddows Avenue for more than 30 years with his wife, Mandy, said: “We as residents are now desperate for this situation to be resolved. This is a lovely street with a park at the top and a junior school playing field at the other end and some residents have lived her happily for over 40 years.
“This house and all the people who have been brought to live here have brought the neighbourhood down and it is really making people ill. We are begging the powers-that-be for help in all directions to finally resolve this long-term problem and free us from this nightmare.”
The residents have now formed the Siddows Action Group and launched a petition calling for steps to be taken. This has been sent to Ribble Valley MP Mr Nigel Evans, Ribble Valley Borough Council and Lancashire County Council.
Problems began in 2011 when the three bedroomed semi-detached home was bought by a Cambridge-based company and let out to a series of tenants who, according to neighbours, have caused chaos and disruption on the street, holding noisy all-night parties, rowing, drinking alcohol and taking drugs and threatening other neighbours.
And, in one shocking incident, recorded in a diary by Mr Wilson, a resident was threatened with a machete by a tenant for complaining about noise from a party.
Mr Wilson said: “On that occasion six police cars arrived and over the next couple of hours there were several arrests made from the house.
“It was both frightening and disturbing for us as residents.”
People have also witnessed violent arguments between tenants living in the property and, according to Mr Wilson, on another occasion, in 2013, five police cars attended the scene when a man turned up brandishing a knife shouting abuse and swearing. He then smashed a window before spraying the walls with graffiti.
Mr Wilson said: “This happened as all the children were leaving school for the day at the bottom of the avenue. It was awful for them to have to see something like this.”
Residents also fear the property is unsafe, as it has been become rundown and dilapidated with no maintenance carried out for several years. The garden is also overgrown and brimming with rubbish.
Mr Wilson said: “We are urging the council to undertake possible checks on this property revolving around a ‘home for multiple occupation’ criteria, including the Housing Health and Safety rating system inspection.
“The number one priority is for the house to be deemed safe from gas leaks and explosions and fire damage, both possibly caused by meters being tampered with.
“Because of the intimidation, violence and drug usage at the property this is also a matter for Ribble Valley Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership to look at.”
County Coun. Ian Brown told the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times he and fellow councillors are monitoring the situation so residents no longer have to suffer.
“I have met Mr and Mrs Wilson and have every sympathy with the residents as the situation is intolerable,” said Coun. Brown.
“Number 18 is a private rented property and RVBC have contacted the owner who confirmed they have served an abandonment notice which expires this Thursday (today).
“When it expires they intend to fully refurbish and clear the garden of rubbish etc.
“Environmental Health will be involved and RVBC officers will contact the owners and arrange to meet at the house.”
He added: “I am not sure how much say we will have in selecting future tenants, but will do all we can to influence any decisions. I am liasing with Coun. Sue Hind who has also visited the site and we will both be monitoring this situation so that residents no longer have to suffer.”
Clitheroe Police Sgt Stuart Banks confirmed the police are aware of issues that have occurred on Siddows Avenue in the past five years and have attended and dealt with them.