A THIRD of Southend’s bedsits are crammed into just one area, the Echo can reveal.
Milton ward, which covers most of Southend’s town centre between Valkyrie Road, London Road and Queensway, has 25 shared houses – more than all but one of the borough’s 17 wards put together.
Trevor Bell, 68, who has lived in Holland Road, Westcliff, for 22 years, said: “I have seen the area go down and down gradually.
“This was once known as the posh end of Southend – now it’s basically known as the worst end.
“It’s a shame because when all of the daytrippers come out of Westcliff Station and see all the rubbish, it doesn’t give a good impression of Southend.”
Kursaal, another town centre ward between Queensway, Victoria Road and Branksome Road, has 15 licensed bedsits and Chalkwell has 11, but the remaining 14 wards have just 10 between them.
Neighbours complain bedsits, which are normally family homes converted into flats or a shared house, rarely have enough off-street parking for their occupants, who often create more rubbish than a family.
Only converted homes of at least three storeys, with five or more tenants, need to be licensed and inspected by local authorities and Milton residents fear the ward has many more that are unlicensed.
Mr Holland, who has worked hard to develop community spirit in his road by starting a neighbourhood watch scheme and delivering newsletters, added: “It’s time the council stood up and said: ‘Enough is enough, we have got too many.’”
Julian Lowes, 57, of Seaforth Road, Westcliff, formerly a member of the now-defunct Milton Ward Community Group, said: “We believe there was an unwritten policy in the past to put all the problems together.
“It’s a lovely place to live, but for those of us who have bought in the area and wish to stay it is frustrating that the issues we have brought to the council for a long time have not been listened to.”
SOUTHEND Council must stop overdeveloping Milton, a councillor for the ward has said.
The population of Milton grew by almost a quarter in a decade to 11,063 in 2011, when the last census was carried out.
Julian Ware-Lane, Labour councillor for Milton, has fought against the over development of the ward, which is now the borough’s third densest after Victora and Kursaal, which have large council estates.
He said: “I understand why there is more in the town centre, but when I have a battle to slow development in my ward I say you can’t give us everything – at some point you have to stop.”
But Jonathan Garston, Conservative member for the ward and councillor responsible for planning claimed the authority’s official document that sets out the permitted development of the town is enough to prevent too many HMOs in one area.
Mr Garston, who lives in Clifftown Parade, said: “It is a concern so many are in one ward but the number of these are historic.
“What is important is how applications for HMOs have been dealt with in recent years going into the future.”