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Echo campaign success at Southend towerblocks
9:00am Tuesday 23rd October 2012 in Local News
AN ECHO campaign to improve security at Southend’s stricken towerblocks has finally paid off.
The four blocks in the heart of the town centre; Malvern, Chiltern, Pennine and Quanmtock are now having CCTV installed in the lifts.
It calls after we called for drastic improvements to help residents plagued by crime, drug dealing and antisocial behaviour.
But the real catalyst was the murder of Christopher Ryan at his flat in Malvern , which left people concerned for their safety.
Michael Smith, who lives in Malvern, said most of the problems had gone other than rubbish dumping and urinating in the lift.
He said: “It will help on the occasions when somebody’s beaten up in the lift or something happens, but I think it’s more of a deterrent factor that might stop people dumping rubbish.”
There have already been major strides at the blocks with a ‘community circle’ set up since the launch of our campaign.
This means residents can discuss issues directly with South Essex Homes and the police and see that action is taken.
Sharon Parker, 42, who lives in Pennine, said: “I think the Echo campaign has helped. I’m hoping these cameras help but I also think they should get them in the stairwells because that’s where people do the drugs.”
In March, the Echo revealed it had cost £330,000 to repair damage in the Queensway blocks over the last three years.
It is hoped these cameras will help put a stop to the mindless vandalism, as well as deterring the dealers.
Nigel Holdcroft, leader of Southend council, said: “It’s a positive step and it’s something that I know that residents have been pressing for and I hope it will address some of the issues that are giving them understandable concern.”
Ian Gilbert, Labour councillor for Victoria ward, said: “If this doesn’t solve the problem then we will have to look at other things.
“But I think this will make a significant difference to peoples’ quality of life.” No one from South Essex Homes was available to comment or tell the Echo about the cost of the CCTV.
Former Chf Supt Mick Thwaites, prospective Police and Crime Commissioner, has been going to the community circle meetings at the blocks.
He said: "I think for the first time the people in the towerblocks are seeing signs that someone is listening."
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