A number of Ballymoney residents of Shiels Court have hit out at the anti-social behaviour they are being subjected to.
According to a number of callers to the Ballymoney and Moyle Times, ‘younger residents’ are being rehoused into the retirement/sheltered accommodation at Castle Street and holding parties and using the it as a ‘drinking den’.
One elderly resident explained: “Anti-social behaviour is happening regularly. Our quiet homes are becoming drinking dens for youths. Only yesterday (Wednesday) two police cars and an ambulance were called to Shiels Court because of the rowdiness - this is happening all the time.
“I am in my 70s and Shiels Court is meant to be for ‘older people’ to enjoy the quieter life. Their website says that ‘new residents are accepted from 60-years’. However people in their 40s are being rehoused here and some of them have no respect for any of those living around them.
“We really can’t live with this carry on with people using our homes as a place to have parties until 6.30am. The drinking is serious and they really are destroying the place inside and out.”
According to another elderly man who has lived at Shiels Court for over 16 years, most of the 38 residents have been traumatised by the anti-social behaviour and are desperate for help.
“There are 38 residents at Shiels Court and some of them are middle-aged and causing us concern. We have held various meetings with the housing officers to try and resolve the problem but it’s only getting worst. We have also made numerous phone calls to Oaklee Housing Association appealing for something to be done but nothing.
“We really are getting desperate and have asked our local MLA and the DUP representatives for help, they to have tried to get answers - but they are still waiting for a response from the from officials.
“We can’t live like this anymore, our homes are becoming a prison where we are to scared to come out of our rooms.”
In previous years, Shiels Court has been recognised as a first-class retirement/sheltered housing facility and has even received Best Kept Awards on numerous occasions.
Concluding, another concerned Ballymoney resident added: “Since all this has happened there have been three requests for transfers. I’ve been here for many years and I want to get out. Luckily I’m able to move however I feel sorry for those elderly residents who are in their 80s and 90s and have come to Shields Court expecting the quiet life where they can end their days. Unfortunately they are being subjected to constant noise and fear and they are too old to get out. They are being put through a living hell.”
In a statement to the Times Oaklee Trinity said: “On 7th August 2014, we received complaints from tenants about nuisance being caused by visitors to a flat, including deliberate activation of fire alarms and rowdy behaviour. Further similar complaints were received in relation to incidents on 12th August 2014, 20th August 2014 and 21st August 2014.
“The complaints are the subject of an ongoing investigation which has included a meeting with tenants held on 1st September 2014. A full report into the incidents, including liaison with the police, is being completed and action will be taken against any tenant found to be in breach of their tenancy agreement.
“We regret all nuisance caused to all those tenants whose peaceful enjoyment of their homes has been disrupted and it is our intention to restore a harmonious environment to Shiels Court as soon as possible.”
Cllr Mervyn Storey added: “This is a matter of grave concern. We have been in discussions with the Police and Oaklee Housing about the issues raised by residents with us. More needs to be done to give the residents peace of mind and assurance that they are not going to further subjected to this totally unacceptable behaviour.
“Every available step needs to be taken to protect the residents of Shields Court and to bring the actions on those involved in anti-social behaviour to an end.”
Police in Ballymoney have confirmed there have been a number of incidents at Shiels Court.