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The ‘hellhole’ flats in Chatham where people find needles and human faeces daily

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Original article from Kent Live

Residents of a block of flats in Chatham are at the end of their tether due to constantly finding trespassers, discarded needles and human excrement in the car park.

They say Carton House has had numerous problems, including raw sewage coming through sinks due to a blocked internal drain, which then soaked into the carpets in the communal areas, and holes in the ceiling which have not been repaired.

Additionally, used needles, excrement and rubbish is left almost daily by drug users trespassing in their private car park.

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It has been described as a "hellhole" by Maria Wright, one of the residents of the building.

Maria, a key worker, has only been living in Carton House since April, but the problems became noticeable fairly early into her tenancy.

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She feels especially nervous about the CCTV cameras not working in the car park.

"I get jittery when I come home at night because there's always tramps that hang out here, there's drug users all the time, they're always behind the car so you don't actually see them until you get out, and it's quite frightening," she said.

"I'm a woman on my own, and although we've got lights the cameras don't work, there's nobody around.

"What's going to happen when we get raped, mugged or murdered, then what's going to happen?

"All the neighbours have said they're scared, they don't feel safe. The police say it's a landlord matter, the landlord says it's a police matter.

"It's a very unsafe environment, especially for children as well," she added.

Residents have been threatened by trespassers who try to gain access to the block. One neighbour was cornered in the lift, and Maria herself was threatened with a dirty needle by a suspected prostitute.

Drug users in the car park have also created problems with used needles, excrement and blood being left next to cars.

Maria said: "I came out on Tuesday morning and there were ten needles behind my car, there was blood everywhere. I kicked one and I had sandals on.

"It took two days for them (the landlord) to clear them up,"

The entrance to the car park is completely open, and residents have suggested the idea of a gate and railings being installed to prevent non-residents coming in. However, this has been rejected by the landlord.

"I think it's down to money and them being tight and they don't care about our safety," said Maria.

On top of those problems there has been a sewage issue in the building, which has seen sewage come through the residents' sinks and get into the carpets in communal areas.

Mirela Gheorghe, who has lived at Carton House for four years, also made note of the issues in the car park, as well as people gaining access to the building through a gate in the bins area.

In the last year she's also had an issue with a bad smell in her apartment.

"It has affected me and my kids very badly because we stay all day at home, now it's the [school] holiday," she said.

"I've had pain, we feel drowsy, so even when we left the doors and windows open the smell doesn't come out.

"I called them a lot of times, I emailed them, they say it isn't their problem," she added.

Communal carpets near the bins area are still stained from the sewerage issues

Engineers had to be called in but Mirela said they were unable to find the source of the problem, although it may be linked to the blocked internal drain that caused the sewerage problem.

Mirela finds it very hard to sleep at night as a result, as she finds it "suffocating".

"It's become dangerous for our health," she added.

'Unpleasant situation'

In response to these issues, a spokesperson for Town & Country Housing who are responsible for Carton House, said they were working on a number of them.

"We are aware that a small number of people take drugs and discard their needles in the car park," they said.

"We have tried various solutions, including brighter lights, in an effort to stop people gathering here. When we are made aware of drug taking, we inform the community policing team, who assist us.

"As soon as a tenant advises us of needles/waste in the car park, a team is sent round to clean up. This is usually completed on the same day."

They also made note of the faulty CCTV saying contractors would be on site from the week commencing August 2 to investigate, and that the issue that caused sewerage to come through sinks has been resolved.

"We apologise for this very unpleasant situation," the said.

With regards to non-residents gaining access to the building through the bins area they said: "The local council waste team do not always lock the gate to the bin store after use. We have made formal complaints to the council and are now looking at alternative solutions."

Original Article