RESIDENTS and council housing officers should take more care of council property, councillors have urged.
The council’s housing overview and scrutiny committee met on Tuesday to discuss a new housing strategy for the borough.
Councillors said while new homes are desperately needed, existing homes and garages must be better cared for and more closely monitored by council officers.
Joycelyn Redsell, Conservative councillor for Little Thurrock Blackshots said: “I think we need to get officers out on the street to check council properties more often than we do. I think we leave it too long.
Six months is too long to catch up on what’s happening behind garages and everything. I know there’s a lot of work that has been done and I applaud what has been done but we’re not quick enough. There’s a lot of garages falling down, falling apart. Most of the garages are not used for cars anymore because they are not big enough. I don’t know why we are not looking at lock ups. Somewhere for people to use [the garages]. They pay roughly £12 week. That’s something we should be looking into.”
Lyn Worrall, Labour councillor for Grays Thurrock, said: “I feel like there is a lot we’re missing on estate management. Any councillor could put you in a car for the day and take you to some estates that have really been neglected. It used to be that neighbourhoods worked with neighbourhood teams. Now you get people that think it’s okay to have a car in their front garden -and rip it to bits – it’s a council house.
“You’ve got people that think it’s okay to do an oil change on our roads. The grass verging, the flytipping, the alleys, they are abusing our properties. We’ve got some officers that do not know their patch. We’ve got to get tighter on how we run our estates.
Ms Worrall added: “People will treat their estate how they see their estate and if they see rubbish on the floor they will throw rubbish. If they see a kicked down fence and its not been replaced or they’ve not cut their hedge then it almost becomes like its okay to do it. That’s something we need to have in the strategy and antisocial behaviour.”