Residents’ anger at Grove Street ‘party flat’ decision

Grove Street. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Grove Street. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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A PROPERTY on a street notorious for “party flats” will be allowed to continue being used for multiple occupancy – despite noise complaints and revellers urinating and vomiting out of windows.

Members of the city council’s sub-licensing committee agreed to renew a HMO (house in multiple occupation) licence for a flat on Grove Street for six extra months – despite a plea from a councillor for it to be refused.

After hearing evidence from neighbours, Cllr Cameron Rose asked the committee to refuse the application.

Cllr Rose said the applicant was “not fit and proper” to hold the licence after police were called out in February due to noise complaints in which someone also urinated on to a neighbour’s property.

He also said that tenants were not adhering to conditions by smoking out of windows and cited the history of problems with the property. His proposition was rejected and the licence was instead renewed for another six months when the current licence expires in November.

In 2013, Grove Street residents fought a battle against “party flats” – with the council seizing control of two properties.

Speaking at the latest committee meeting, neighbour Liz Haggard, described living next to the HMO property as “hellish”.

She said: “There’s only been one year when we haven’t had to complain – some years it’s dreadful. It’s a persistent year-on-year problem – it makes us feel uneasy. We have had eight years and we feel we have had enough.”

The flat is currently occupied by four women – one nurse and three students.

Police were called to a 21st birthday party at the property in February following complaints over noise – and neighbours also witnessed a man urinating on to their property.

Neighbour Patricia Player said the applicant “appears not to be able to get the students to live reasonably quietly”.

She said: “I have had people urinating between my basement, vomiting in my basement. I pleaded with them to close their windows and they totally ignored me.

“After the many years in our flat with party flats, which we fought for almost 11 years, we are now just about at the end of our tether. We are certainly not moving, it has been our home for over 50 years. I think something has to be done.”

Mrs Player was asked by councillors to elaborate on the incidents involving urination. She said: “They just came out of  the flat. We were in the kitchen and someone was urinating – he was also drunk. Another time, someone was hanging out the back window, vomiting into our garden. A couple of years ago, two chaps opened the flat window at 6am and started urinating. I’m not saying don’t have a party – but we are pensioners, we clean that up and I’m fed up with it.”

Carolanne Waters from Cairns Letting on behalf of the applicant, Eric Gardiner, said the company has a two strikes policy regarding action against tenants and had issued the occupiers with an official warning. She added: “This is not party flats. We have asked previous tenants to leave.”