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City HMO hotspot handed almost £500k to tackle crime and safety

A Birmingham suburb hit by yob behaviour and crime is set to receive a package of safety measures totalling almost £500,000.

Stockland Green, which has become an exempt accommodation hotspot, has been handed £432,000 from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund to improve the area thanks to a successful bid by Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s office.

The cash will be used to upgrade street lighting in the Erdington district, pay for six redeployable CCTV cameras and to provide a ‘a crime prevention assessment’ for every home.

READ MORE : How Stockland Green became centre of hostels hell

The scheme will be managed by social housing provider, The Pioneer Group, working with the city council.

Residents in Stockland Green have raised concerns about anti-social behaviour linked to the high level of ‘exempt accommodation’.

Last year BirminghamLive investigated the sector and found landlords ‘raking in millions’, while tenants suffered. Issues including mindless vandalism were rife in an area that was dubbed ‘hostels hell’.

Coun John Cotton, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for social inclusion, community safety and equalities, said: “Everyone has the right to feel safe at home, in their own neighbourhoods, any time of day or night.

A wing mirror smashed – one of many cars to be damaged in Stockland Green at the weekend

“Simple measures like better lighting, lockable gates on alleys and access ways, and CCTV that can be moved around to where it’s needed most will help residents feel safe.

“We will be working closely with local residents, Police and Crime Commissioner and West Midlands Police and Pioneer Group to make sure this scheme helps deliver a safer neighbourhood for everyone who lives or works in Stockland Green.”

As well as new cameras and a security review, work will also take place to secure access and alleyways by installing new gates and lighting during the 12-month initiative. The cash will also be used to help residents convert spaces into community gardens and for clean ups of fly-tipped waste.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said: “I was delighted we successfully secured the Safer Streets funding.

“We know small changes can make a big difference and this investment in improved street lighting, movable CCTV and secure access and alleyways will help prevent crime and keep people and families safe and secure.

“Everyone should feel their area is a safe place to live and work. This welcome investment will contribute to making that a reality.”

Members of Stockland Green Action Group in Kings Road, centre of an explosion in hostel-style 'exempt' accommodation - they are campaigning for the sector to be more strictly controlled
Members of Stockland Green Action Group in Kings Road, centre of an explosion in hostel-style ‘exempt’ accommodation – they are campaigning for the sector to be more strictly controlled

And Ifor Jones, head of partnerships at The Pioneer Group, added: “We are delighted to play our part as Birmingham City Council’s community partner bringing together residents in Stockland Green with the key agencies and contractors delivering this Safer Streets programme.

“This investment in physical improvements and safety, alongside a range of community investment, will be key in turning the tide for residents.”

Jack Dromey, MP for Erdington, spoke out about the issue and said areas like Stockland Green were being ‘despoiled by bad landlords’. He said residents in the district do not feel safe there.

Erdington MP Jack Dromey who recently visited Stockland Green welcomed the new £432,000 grant to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour
Erdington MP Jack Dromey who recently visited Stockland Green welcomed the new £432,000 grant to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour

Mr Dromey welcomed the new cash and said: “Almost £500,000 of funding has been secured to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in Stockland Green, including extra CCTV and street lighting.

“It was great to hear how the fund will be allocated and I was particularly pleased to hear about the engagement that will take place with the local community to highlight problem areas.

I know the local community will join me in welcoming this funding and I look forward to seeing the impact it will make on Stockland Green.”

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