Council promises security doors at drug use hot-spot ‘next year’

Goodman Square in Norwich, where residents have been dealing with drug-taking and excrement in the hallway

Goodman Square in Norwich, where residents have been dealing with drug-taking and excrement in the hallway - Credit: Google Street View

A Norfolk council has promised to tackle anti-social behaviour at a council flat block, but measures will not be in place until next year. 

Stephen O’Connor, a Goodman Square resident, is the latest council flat resident in Norwich to raise concerns about drug use and antisocial behaviour, including people defecating in the stairwell.

“We have had numerous issues with antisocial behaviour in the access stairwell to the block,” Mr O’Connor told a Norwich City Council meeting.  

The council has agreed to make steps to overhaul drug policy and treatment in Norwich. File photo de

The council has agreed to make steps to overhaul drug policy and treatment in Norwich. File photo depicting heroin use. Picture: Paul Faith/PA Wire - Credit: PA

“People using drugs and defecating in and under the stairwell, leaving behind used needles, sharp objects and excrement.  

“On occasions, myself, my partner and other members of the block have to pass drug users with needles hanging out of their arms to get to our homes.” 

Mr O’Connor said they call the police, but the users are often gone before they arrive. 

He added: “Not only is the door not secure but it also will not close automatically making it not an operational fire door, my partner who is a full-time firefighter finds this extremely concerning.". 

Gail Harris, cabinet member for social housing, responded: “I can confirm that in addition to completing our upgrade program on flats with existing systems we are planning on an installation programme for new door entry systems across the city from April 1, 2022.” 

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Ms Harris said it was a complex programme, but promised Goodman Square was a high priority. 

Gail Harris, Labour's candidate for Catton Grove in the Norwich City Council 2012 elections.

Labour's Gail Harris, cabinet member for social housing - Credit: Sid Frisby

A council spokesperson clarified not all council properties will get security systems and priority will be “based on many factors including demand from residents, complaints received, ASB and crime information and reporting.” 

Ms Harris encouraged residents to continue to report incidents, which she said informs the council’s decision making on prioritising security doors. 

Speaking after the meeting Mr O’Connor said he was pleased the council would be installing the security doors, calling it a “positive response”, even if he wished it could happen sooner. 

Speaking ahead of the council meeting, Green Party councillor Martin Schmierer expressed concern that existing doors upgrades being prioritised over new security measures.

"No-one deserves to find faeces, drug paraphernalia or urine outside their front door," he added.

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