It’s one of the four distinctive tower blocks located in the city center, often passed by on the way to a Utilita Arena concert. However, at the formidable Norton Tower, it seems that everything is going awry.
In our previous report, we highlighted the ordeal of Fredrick Balding, a disabled resident who had to endure a wait of over six weeks for new windows after they were vandalized. Now, Fredrick has disclosed a series of other problems plaguing the tower.
Fredrick, a 55-year-old suffering from long-term health issues including anxiety and depression, has been residing there since 1995. Norton Tower accommodates a blend of council tenants and owner-occupiers.
According to Fredrick, the condition of the tower has deteriorated significantly, with residents terrorized by unruly youths who break in and engage in drug-related activities. He expressed feeling unsafe in his home of almost three decades.
During our visit, BirminghamLive observed evidence of bolts being removed from a solid door. Fredrick claimed this was done to allow drug-using youths to enter and exit as they pleased. “They are using drugs within the building,” he asserted. “Especially during inclement weather, or they would come in and loiter near the stairs.”
Fredrick mentioned that there would sometimes be “twenty or thirty” people in and around the block. He had installed a camera outside his home, but the council instructed him to remove it.
To exacerbate matters, Fredrick stated that a barrier which previously prevented unwelcome individuals from entering was no longer functional. He questioned, “How can it be considered private grounds when it’s wide open? We have outsiders who treat it like a free parking lot while residents struggle to find parking spaces despite paying council tax. It’s absurd.”
“People arrive late at night and on weekends, and it’s clear they are engaged in drug dealing. We have to live here, and it makes residents feel uneasy knowing they are lingering around. We shouldn’t have to endure this. There are other places, such as parks. Why don’t they engage in such activities there?”
Fredrick acknowledged that the council had undertaken some maintenance work. Recently, repairs were made to the tarmac and drains were unblocked. However, similar to his window situation, Fredrick lamented that it could take the local authorities “an excessively long time” to address these issues.
He implored the council to take decisive action and demanded increased surveillance cameras, enhanced policing, and functional barriers. He stated, “People are growing increasingly frustrated with the ongoing incidents here. All we want is a pleasant and secure living environment. It’s becoming ludicrous.”
“We are residents who pay council tax and rent. All we ask is for the council to assist the community living in these blocks.”
A spokesperson from Birmingham City Council responded, saying, “The parking scheme and the barrier at Norton Tower are managed by a private company. We have contacted them regarding the raised concerns. As for outstanding repair claims, apart from three repairs issued in May that are currently being addressed, there are no pending repairs for the block.”
“Nevertheless, if there are any other outstanding repairs, we encourage tenants to report them to us. If residents have experienced break-ins, witnessed drug-related activities, or encountered anti-social behavior, they should immediately report it to the police.”
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