FEAR is growing among residents due to anti-social behaviour linked to Winchester City Council hostels.

Around 50 residents near Milford House in St Cross are pressurising civic chiefs to tackle crime in the area and introduce more housing for the homeless.

They believe incidents such as violence, intimidating behaviour, drug dealing, aggressive shouting, syringes being thrown into neighbours’ gardens and loud music are predominantly linked to the residents and visitors to Milford House and some to Gordon Watson House, both in Christchurch Road.

Hampshire Chronicle: Gordon Watson HouseGordon Watson House (Image: Newsquest)

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The group of neighbours, led by Terry Butler and Martina Plesec, both of Lansdowne Avenue, launched a petition to review the need for more appropriate accommodation and safeguard the future of Milford House as a “matter of urgency”.

The petition’s aim is for Winchester City Council to only admit “responsible” people on the council house waiting list to Milford House.

The home of Mr Butler, an ex-director of social services for Hampshire County Council and former chairman of Emmaus Hampshire, was the target of an attempted burglary in September.

In a letter to Winchester City Council, he said: “I would guess that the more responsible occupants of Milford and Gordon House must have been experiencing a torrid time recently. We have lived here for 23 years and several other neighbours considerably more than that and have never known such poor management of these units.

“I am fully aware of the legal duties of the county and city council with regard to the health and social care of their populations, their responsibilities towards homelessness and their duties to people living in adjacent neighbourhoods to their social housing units, whether they be run by themselves or by partner organisations. This latter duty is clearly failing badly.

“For brevities sake, the petition only scratches the surface of the many incidents Martina and I have heard from a hitherto supportive and tolerant diverse community, many of whom are elderly, frail or have special needs, as well as children and young persons.

"As a matter of urgency, in cooperation with your county colleagues and in consultation with your partner agencies and ourselves review the need for more appropriate accommodation and implement the solutions effectively. Thus safeguarding the future of Milford House as a well-run, well-supported and valued unit providing temporary placements for responsible individuals and families awaiting transfer to your council accommodation."

The Milford House petition letter, from the group of 50 residents, read: “The ongoing issues continue to seriously impact the sense of safety and overall well-being of all of us in the neighbourhood community.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Milford HouseMilford House (Image: Newsquest)

"Children walk up and down Lansdowne Avenue to and from school making the resulting mess on the street that much more concerning.

“These incidents have subsequently left the homeowners involved and the rest of us feeling an even greater sense of fear as was already the case. We have repeatedly over time raised concerns with council, without seeing effective changes made to how the facility is being managed.”

The residents sent the letters in hope of having them discussed at the Economy and Housing Committee on Tuesday, February 20 but as no one was able to attend in person they were not heard.

Meeting chair, Councillor James Batho, said: "A petition from residents near Milford House has been received by the officer team and we will be responding to those residents and working with them during the consultation."

The Chronicle also contacted Cllr Chris Westwood, Cabinet member for housing, and awaits his response.