Anti-Social Behaviour case closed in Widnes
Published by Laura Beckett for Halton Housing Trust in Housing
A property in Widnes, plagued by anti-social behaviour and boarded up for months is finally returned to Halton Housing Trust.
On 28th March a Judge ruled in favour of the Trust for the property to be returned immediately and further ordered the tenant to pay back her substantial arrears.
Dionne Smith, 42 was forced to leave the property in May 2013 and will now be evicted following the trial.
During the hearing the Judge determined that Smith’s misconduct was serious and persistent and he commended the courage of those who came forward and gave evidence. The Judge was satisfied that the Trust had made numerous attempts to engage, but Smith had not reciprocated and the relationship had broken down irretrievably beyond reprieve. In all of the circumstances, he considered it reasonable and proper that an order for possession should be made.
Cheshire Police and Halton Housing Trust were previously successful in an application to close the property in May 2013 which provided much needed respite for residents in the close whilst possession proceedings were being pursued. It is the second time that the force has applied for an anti-social behaviour closure order - and it was the first of its kind for Halton.
The property, a semi-detached house is part of a 22 home development - the first customers moved into the development in January 2012.
A catalogue of evidence was gathered by police, partners and Halton Housing Trust in relation to numerous issues at the property. This spanned a period of nine months.
Jonathan Horsfall, Halton Housing Trust′s Housing Support Manager, said: "This case has involved a lot of resources from the Trust and our partners. The hard work of our staff over the last two years, particularly Stephen Temperley from our Anti-Social Behaviour team, has led to this successful outcome.
"We do not tolerate anti-social behaviour on any of our estates and we hope that this sends out a strong message to our customers and those living in our communities that we will take action. The Trust′s priority is to improve people′s lives and by taking possession of the property, Avondale Close will be a calmer place to live."
The Trust was represented in court by Berrymans Lace Mawyer, Matthew Hyam, Associate said: “The outcome is life changing for those who have suffered as a result of Dionne Smith’s appalling behaviour, and feared there was a possibility she may be allowed to return.
“This is a huge success for the Trust and a testament to excellent partnership working with Police and other agencies. It is a real demonstration of effective housing management restoring the public’s faith and improving the communities in which they live.”
Widnes Neighbourhood Policing Unit was central to compiling and presenting the evidence together with the Trust.
Inspector Mike Evans, of Widnes NPU, said: "Dionne Smith plagued Avondale Close and its residents over a period of several months with a campaign of harassment.
“This closure and subsequent possession order will go a long way to restoring the area to the peaceful, residential area that it was always intended to be.
“I hope that this also serves as a warning to those who engage in anti-social behaviour that Cheshire Constabulary will work with our partner agencies using all available legislation to take action against you and this may mean that you lose your home."