Drugs, gangs and safety concerns - Oxford man takes on housing association to fight for residents

  • ITV Meridian's Ciaran Fitzpatrick spoke to Ben Jenkins about how bad the issues were getting in his housing block before he took action

An Oxford man who took on his housing association to resolve a host of problems set up a website so he and others impacted can air their concerns.

Ben Jenkins felt he and other residents in the Rose Hill area of the city were being ignored., and that complaints were not being dealt quickly enough with in their shared ownership homes at Maureen Christian House.

"We weren't talking about paint peeling off," said Ben.

"We're talking about health and safety of lifts, fire alarms, gangs of youths causing intimidation, stealing, smoking drugs in corridors - these were serious issues being ignored."

The block is managed by Green Square Accord who have been accused by residents of not taking their concerns seriously.

Images shared with ITV Meridian show gangs of youths in the block of flats Credit: ITV News Meridian

Ben said the website was a way for him to give people the chance to publicly air their grievances.

He added: "We can say it's in the public domain, you know about it, you can't ignore this."

But as it started to gain traction, residents not just in Maureen Christian House started to post concerns. People from "across Wiltshire, Swindon, Birmingham" started to contact Ben through his website about similar issues in their homes.

Following a Housing Ombudsman report, which highlighted that issues were not being dealt with appropriately by Green Square Accord, the company awarded £1,200 in compensation to each resident.

Since this, the company says they have improved security in the building and there has been a reduction in anti-social behaviour complaints.

Green Square Accord last month pursued legal action against Ben. He agreed to a legally binding undertaking not to contact them in the future - in turn the case was dismissed.

A spokesperson for Green Square Accord told ITV News Meridian: “We are sorry that our leasehold customers at Maureen Christian House did not receive the level of service they should have.

"We know we should have responded more quickly to the concerns being raised and we have taken learnings from this.

“Following a Housing Ombudsman review of a complaint by one customer, we decided it was the right thing to do to make a compensation payment to all our leasehold customers at Maureen Christian House.

“Mr Jenkins’ actions have significantly affected our customers, who have been encouraged to report issues with their service or home to him through his website rather than directly to us, meaning their concerns can’t be dealt with effectively.

“Over the last few years, Mr Jenkins has contacted GSA many hundreds of times through various channels...This has had a significant and detrimental impact on these colleagues and their ability to provide services to our customers."