UK

Couple desperate to escape dirty flats where people ‘defecate on the floor’

Louise Turner and partner Angela Dexter have also asked Sandwell Council for a disabled parking space for month, but there has been no action

Louise Turner and Angela Dexter who rent the multi-storey council flat

A couple are desperate to leave their council flat where people “defecate on the floor” and the property stinks of “urine and weed”.

Louise Turner and her partner Angela Dexter claim the place is like a “zoo” and they are desperate to move.

Parking in the area she says is a nightmare because untaxed cars are “dumped in spaces”.

She also claims the only lift in the tower block is constantly getting stuck and she no longer uses it.

Her disabled partner, Angela, relies on it to get to their third-story apartment.

BirminghamLive reports how the couple have asked Sandwell Council for a disabled parking space for month, but there has been no action.

The women claim their at wit’s end living in the flat block with anti-social problems
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Image:

Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)

Louise Turner (l) and Angela Dexter (r) rent a council flat in Hamstead, Birmingham
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Image:

Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)

Ms Turner, who works as a recovery administrator, the authority has failed to act on a number of issues – including parking and noise complaints.

She also claimed there was a murder near the block of flats last year – referencing the death of Jack Barry, 19, who was stabbed in the chest with a knife on West Road, where Allen House is located.

Asked what it was living with multiple issues on the estate, she told BlackCountryLive: “The situation is horrendous, it is like living in a zoo. It has been ongoing since me and my partner moved in, in December 2019.

“Myself and my partner work for a living. I can’t sleep at night, my anxiety is through the roof. Every noise that I hear, I panic.

“My partner is a bit more complacent to it but it is like you are living in fear. You can’t settle.”

She continued: “You can’t park your cars anywhere. You already have to double park. It has already cost us £250 to put a bump right where somebody has bumped my car overnight.

Beer cans litter the close area and stairways of the flat
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Image:

Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)

“I’m still waiting for a response about a disabled bay, my partner has a blue badge, she is registered disabled, she can only do certain types of work.

“We both work 12-hour shifts. We leave the house at 5.15am and don’t get back to 7.30pm. There is nowhere to park, we have to park away from the flats.

“There are 10 spaces for people – three of them are being taken up by cars which haven’t moved for three months. I have been chasing them for months, they are now finally taxed.

“They have been dumped here, the tyres are flat, the windows are starting to crack. They need to be removed so tenants who pay for the spaces can park.

“I cannot even get an email out of the council – let alone anyone else.”

Her partner, Ms Dexter, is disabled, suffers from “vertigo” and cannot use the stairs due to an industrial incident 17 years ago which crushed her shoulders and injured her knee.

It means she can only use the lift to get to her front door, despite it “always breaking down”.

“There is only one lift but everyday somebody is stuck in it,” said Ms Turner. “I won’t use it anymore because I got stuck in it before.

“The lift smells. It is dirty. Somebody is either urinating in it or spitting in it.

“There have been times where human faeces has been on the floor downstairs. It is horrendous, honestly, it is like living in a zoo.

The couple want to move from the council-owned block of flats
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Image:

Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)

“Some days, you can’t even go to work, let alone drive your car which is parked a mile away.”

There is frequent drug-taking, says Ms Turner, particularly cannabis, which means the couple “cannot open their windows due to the smell”.

She said: “I can’t even open my doors and windows because of the smoke.

“That is the last thing I want to smell when I am trying to eat my tea. There is drug deals that go on in the car park every night.

“I have alerted the council and the police to it but I am not getting anywhere with it.”

Ms Turner says she and her partner are in a “desperate” situation” and each week try and bid for a new council property. Ms Turner and Ms Dexter want a two-bedroom bungalow but they say there is a lot of demand and fear they will be waiting a while until they can move out.

Councillor Charn Singh Padda, the authority’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Sandwell Council officers are working with the tenants on the issues that they have raised.

“An application for an accessible parking space is under consideration.

“The lift is cleaned and maintained regularly. The complaints regarding neighbours are the subject of an ongoing investigation where further action will be taken if required to resolve the matter.

“The council has awarded priority status to the application for rehousing. The speed at which the tenants can be rehoused is dependent on the availability of suitable properties however.”

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