In the first of a series of articles on how Mainstay teams are working to solve site issues, we spoke to property manager James Livesey-Clarke about how collaborative work with the local council, police and residents, helped make one of his developments safer.
Manchester’s Chatsworth House development was suffering from a spike in antisocial behaviour in the area, which quickly spread to the site. A nearby alleyway had become a favourite haunt for rough sleepers, drug dealers and users forced to relocate from another area following a local police crackdown.
Residents were understandably concerned about the situation, which was worsened by the drug dealers taking refuge in the site’s underground car park in the colder weather.
James explains: ‘The drug users and rough sleepers were also creating unsanitary conditions in the car park, making the area very unpleasant, as well as potentially dangerous. None of the residents were harmed, but at its peak, Mainstay was receiving at least two to three reports a day.
‘There are no 24-hour staff on site, so an urgent solution was needed, we organised a residents’ meeting for them to voice their concerns and for us to get a feel of the extent of the issue.
‘We immediately secured the car park, replaced a wooden door, which had been damaged by rough sleepers, and installed additional lighting. We also made sure that any faults with the electric gates to the car park were attended to the same day as reported. Previously, if the gates became inoperative, they would be left open, sometimes overnight. We also reminded residents to close the gates after use.’
James adds: ‘You can make somewhere as secure as possible, but if someone wants to get in, they’re going to do it by any means possible. We spoke to the City Council and Greater Manchester Police, who were unaware of the problem, so we ensured residents knew the correct channels to use to report any antisocial behaviour around the site. We also held a meeting with the council, police, and residents to discuss concerns and understand how the residents could play an active role in helping to combat the issue.’
A safer environment for our residents
While reducing the issues of antisocial behaviour ultimately required action from residents, as well as the police and local council, Mainstay’s proactive approach meant that residents understood what actions they needed to take. Meanwhile, the police and council could work with the community to understand the problem and take appropriate action. All of this ensured that residents could use the facilities at the property knowing that they were safe and that their property management company took an active part in ensuring that safety.