Community in crisis

(Letter to the South Wales Evening Post)

One can only respond to news that David Wilson is considering leaving his home of 63 years with regret. (1)

Unfortunately Mr Wilson is not alone in this.  I know of one family that has already left St Helen’s Avenue for virtually identical reasons, and two others who are considering moving from homes they have occupied for decades.

We have to acknowledge the hard work of council officers and others over the years, but they have only been treating the symptoms of the problem.  They have not been able to address the root cause – the relentless march of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) across Brynmill and Uplands that has transformed this once attractive residential area into a down at heel dormitory.

Bryn Road is already lost, with only five homeowners still resident.  King Edward Road is almost as bad, and St Helen’s Avenue is rapidly heading in the same direction.

HMOs are businesses run for profit, but little of that profit is invested in the host community.  Many owners are neglecting their most basic responsibilities to keep external areas of their properties clean and tidy and free from waste.

One suspects that external appearance reflects internal standards, and that some tenants are receiving poor value for money when it comes to conditions that they have every right to expect in relation to the costs paid.

And if the tenants are being ripped off in this way, it should come as no surprise that they feel little commitment to the community around them.

The preponderance of HMOs in the area has left long term residents feeling beleaguered and created a community dominated by one particular group.  Little wonder that many residents now feel let down by the authorities and particularly by those they elected to protect their interests.

Dealing with the symptoms is failing to cure the illness.  We need a more strategic approach to stem the epidemic.  When people complained about problems in the city centre the Council responded with the ‘City Centre Action Plan’.  Perhaps it is time for a community action plan for Brynmill and Uplands to address these and other important issues.

Either that or abandon our streets to the profiteers and the minority of their tenants who apparently have little regard for their neighbours and even less for the community that plays host to them.

Yours,

Keith M Ross, Swansea Green Party

Notes: (1) Written in response to this article: http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/t-live-anymore-s-ruined-students/story-14207649-detail/story.html

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Richard Norman on December 28, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    When I moved to Bayview Crescent (Brynmill) ten years ago, just about every house was privately owned; today, I would say that two-thirds of the houses have been converted into HMO’s, containing students, alcoholics and drug addicts and the unemployable.

    The quality of life has deteriorated to such as extent that I am selling my house (which has now been devalued, due to the street having become a dumping ground for undesirables), and I am moving to Gower

    Reply

  2. Posted by Richard Norman on December 30, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Sorry, forgot to mention in my previous post; the potential buyer who is interested in purchasing my house intends to convert the house into separate flats, and let them to students.

    My heart breaks for the few remaining home-owners in Bayview Crescent who have seen their properties become devalued and quality of life drop, but I have two children and if the Council intends to turn the street into a dumping ground for alcoholics and drug addicts, then obviously property-owning, tax-paying families will move to a more salubrious area. Students, with their concomitant anti-social behaviour, have also helped to ruin Bayview Crescent.

    Apologies again for not adding to my first post…

    Reply

  3. Richard – have tried to e-mail you to get some more information about a sentence in your first posting, which you may notice I have removed. But my e-mails keep bouncing. Could you e-mail me direct at keithmalcolm@ntlworld.com to discuss. Thanks.

    Reply

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