‘Get problem tenants out’

ANTI-social council tenants in Dewsbury could face eviction as part of a new action plan for the town.

Tougher enforcement was called for on Tuesday as the area committee began to formulate measures for tackling Dewsbury’s problems.

Coun Khizar Iqbal (Con, Dewsbury South) said enforcement should be on a priority list of anti-social behaviour, burglary and drugs.

“We need to focus on this,” he said. “There are problem tenants who need to get the message that they must behave as everyone else does or we will enforce eviction.”

Coun Iqbal and Dewsbury West councillor Karam Hussain have prepared a report on problems facing the town, with crime being the main concern.

But community cohesion was also in the spotlight.

Coun Iqbal said Dewsbury, in the main, did not have cohesion. “Sadly, this is the case,” he said. “We need to seriously consider that what we have done in the last 10 years has not achieved cohesion. We need to be more innovative. Integration is the way forward and for that we need people to be able to speak frankly.

“Difficult dialogues must take place or we will still be talking about this in 10 years’ time.

“This is a diverse community and it is vital that there is understanding, tolerance and respect.”

Sgt Jo Wolfe said in recent months offences such as burglary had been on the rise - up from 116 to 157 in the year to July.

Dewsbury Moor had seen the most marked increase. “We flooded the area with officers but that only works as long as police are around,” she said.

Thornhill Lees and Dewsbury Moor are to be specially targeted for action as from the autumn. “It’s not a rose garden out there but we are doing all we can,” she said.

Christine Gunnerson of Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing said the organisation was reviewing its approach to community cohesion and repoted a massive generation gap on some estates.

Kirklees Council’s cohesion manager Amayat Mohammad said there was a great deal of fear in Dewsbury. “And we can’t ignore that,” he said.

“There is a long way to people getting on together.” He said work would continue on schemes such as school twinning and meetings with young people.”

The action plan will be reviewed next year.