12:47PM, Friday 17 February 2017
An electrician says he feels unsafe living in a partially-deserted block of flats amid a dispute with Slough Borough Council.
The council is trying to clear Ashbourne House and neighbouring Tower House in Burlington Avenue, Chalvey, to make way for new housing and has offered residents money for their flats plus compensation.
The tradesman and his wife, who wish to remain anonymous, have stayed in Ashbourne House and say only a few flats in Tower House are still occupied.
They have not seen any other dwellers so it is unclear how many still live in their tower but many unoccupied flats have been barred shut by the council.
He says he and his wife, who is five weeks pregnant, now live in fear, due to people breaking into the empty ground floor to ‘take drugs and have sex’.
He says they once waited in their car for 30 minutes before entering their flat because people were hanging around the entrance smoking cannabis.
Residents began moving out last autumn.
The 39-year-old, who bought his former council flat through the Right-to-Buy scheme 12 years ago, said the £205,000 offered to him is not enough for a flat in central Slough.
He says about £234,000 would be enough to buy a flat in the same postcode.
In December 2015, the council offered £175,000 for the flat, including compensation. It offered £189,000 in the summer of 2016 and then £205,000 in December.
“I don’t have to force myself to accept something I can’t afford to buy anything with,” the self-employed tradesman added.
He says he would be unable to sub-let his flat while negotiations are underway because of the problems of anti-social behaviour.
The man’s wife, who joined him from Morocco in November, is particularly distressed, he said.
“She doesn’t know English very well, doesn’t know the system and doesn’t know the culture.
“She says ‘can’t you rent your own house?’ I say I can’t afford it.”
She has been suffering from depression and was taken to hospital after a panic attack last month.
When the block had more residents, security guards provided by the council were on site, but they have since been taken away, he said.
“I’m not feeling comfortable,” the man added.
“I should be having the same service as before when 60 people lived in the block.”
A spokesman at Slough Borough Council said: “Our priority throughout has been to ensure affected residents have all the support they need.
“We are continuing our discussions with the remaining leaseholders and providing services such as caretaking, refuse collection and security, including a 24-hour security phone number.”
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