More than 30 served eviction notices in troubled Southsea street

MORE than 30 people have been handed eviction notices in a troubled street, The News can reveal.

Friday, 12th August 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:13 pm
From left, PCSO Kevin Newby, Sgt Dean Juster, PCSOs Donna Needham and Susan Smith, and community speed watch co-ordinator Kevin Chippindall-Higgin in Waverley Road gardens

Police and Portsmouth City Council have won praise from residents in Waverley Road, Southsea, for tackling a decades-old problem.

Drug use, anti-social behaviour and crime have marred what was a holiday destination lined with guest houses.

Last night at St Simon’s Church a neighbourhood watch meeting heard 32 residents living in houses of multiple occupancy at 32, 81 and 75 had been told to leave.

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New management has taken over after the landlord issued notices and homes will be turned into flats for students and professionals.

Sharp focus was brought on the problem when Christopher Butler, 27, was murdered by 33-year-old Brendon Willis, with an axe on January 1 in a room Willis was squatting in.

Work to tackle the road’s problems started prior to the killing, which Willis was jailed for last month.

Sgt Dean Juster said: ‘Something has got to change, you can’t allow that.’

He added: ‘For the first time it feels like there’s real progress being made.

‘The statistics show that the majority of the anti-social behaviour and crime disproportionately comes from a small number of addresses.’

Each house in the street has been assigned a police officer to work with. Sgt Juster said it would be better to reduce the concentration of people with problems in the area.

He added: ‘There’s a number of people in a very small concentration with a number of issues and it makes it a combustible mix.’

People were not given notice to leave as a result of anything they had done but instead a desire to clear the houses for refurbishing.

Yesterday police were out with the council in the area.

Housing and drug teams set up shop at one of the houses to help those being evicted.

Mike Forbes, chairman of the neighbourhood watch and owner of Abbey Lodge guest house, said: ‘We feel we’ve been banging our head on a brick wall for years. Things are improving now.’

Resident Emily Gould, 48, said people did need help. She added: ‘The concentration in one area is just so intense.’

A community fun day was due to be held from 2pm to 6pm in Waverley Park today.