Drug-blighted Leeds tower blocks shut to non-residents in landmark court ruling

The tower blocks have suffered from years of problems

The tower blocks have suffered from years of problems

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TWO Leeds tower blocks blighted by drug-fuelled anti-social behaviour have been declared off-limits to non-residents after a landmark court case.

Leeds magistrates granted closure orders banning anyone who does not live at Clyde Grange and Clyde Court in Wortley from entering the high-rise flats.

It comes after the Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team found law-abiding tenants had endured years of misery at the hands of groups congregating to take drugs and binge drink.

The disturbing catalogue of problems included:

- Addicts leaving used needles strewn around communal areas

- Walls smeared in blood

- Lifts and stairs being used as toilets

- Homophobic and racist graffiti daubed on walls in blood and excrement

- Sex workers using corridors and stairs to ply for business

Marina De Haviland, 79, has lived in Clyde Grange for 31 years.

She said there had been problems for two decades.

“There have been times when you couldn’t get in the lifts without wellies on – they were so full of urine,” she said.

“At one stage you didn’t go onto the 10th floor unless you wanted drugs – there was a dealer up there with a Rottweiler.

“You couldn’t touch the hand rails on the stairs because drug users would stick their needles into them.

“There have been times it was like a living hell.”

While the council and police have previously taken action to close individual properties under anti-social behaviour laws, the action in Wortley is the first time entire blocks of flats have been covered by closure orders.

Adrian Tonge, representing Leeds City Council, told magistrates the problems were so widespread residents had come to think of them as normal.

He said: “There’s almost a culture within the blocks that this is something the residents have to put up with. Very clearly it’s not something they should have to put up with.”

In a witness statement PC Neil Haywood said: “Some residents have become accustomed to the behaviour in the block...They didn’t see this as an issue and had come to accept it as part of their daily life.”

The closure orders, which last for an initial period of three months, do not prohibit legitimate visitors.

Council makes home improvements at Clyde Court and Clyde Grange – click here

FLATS WITH A TROUBLED PAST

Clyde Grange and Clyde Court have been the scene of a number of incidents over the years.

January 2001: an 18-year-old dies in a plunge from the eighth floor of Clyde Grange

August 2008: A 40-year-old woman dies in a fall from the 12th floor of the same block

August 2011: A 23-year-old man and his 20-year-old partner leap to their death from Clyde Court after calling police to pre-warn them

May 2015: A flat in Clyde Grange and one in nearby Wortley Heights are closed after drug problems