Southend homeless charity accused of creating a “ghetto”

A homeless charity has come under fire for allowing its properties to become run down, creating a “ghetto” in the heart of Southend.

The Kilworth Residents’ Association has issued a blistering attack on HARP, which has two properties in York Road and another in Southchurch Avenue. The criticism came after HARP announced a new development in Southchurch Avenue which will house 50 homeless people.

A montage of photos collected by irate residents in recent years depicts a catalogue of discarded waste in front of properties in York Road and Southchurch Avenue.

The association said: “These photos are selected from Google Street View over the years, on the random days that Google has chosen to image our area, and members of the residents’ association personal photos. These photos date back to 2017, although these problems still continue to this date and have been going on much longer.

“This type of behaviour is having an adverse effect on the property values within the Kilworth Estate. People selling or viewing properties within our area will be put off by the state of Harp’s properties.”

It accused HARP of “ghetto creation that denies people normal life and forces people to move”.

The association is looking at trying to get a covenant enforced which states homes must not become a nuisance to surrounding neighbours and fences should be installed.

Nicky Houston, HARP’s director of property development said: “We set ourselves high standards for the presentation and upkeep of the properties that we own or rent, but regrettably we sometimes fall short of these high standards, and certain aspects of property management have been made more difficult due to the ongoing pandemic.

“We have an active staff team, as well as an overnight roving security detail, to ensure that properties are kept safe and trouble is dealt with swiftly.

“We would like to thank the Kilworth Estate Residents’ Association for once again bringing this to our attention, and we will prioritise the work involved in bringing these properties back up to scratch.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter