CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Give us security gates, plead residents on estate used by drug addicts and sex workers

Police called 200 times to £1 million flat development

01 November, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Hand Axe Yard in King’s Cross

RESIDENTS on a housing development sold as a slice of upmarket King’s Cross have appealed for help against drug addicts and sex workers using stairwells and its courtyard.

Camden’s planning team have been deluged with messages urging council officials to allow new security gates at Hand Axe Yard, a complex of homes linking Gray’s Inn Road and St Chad’s Street. Photos of blood on the floor and pools of vomit have been included in the request for planning consent.

Two-bedroom flats in Hand Axe Yard are on the market for £1.1million, while houses go for closer to £2million. Property agents celebrate its proximity to the revamped railwaylands. The development also has an art gallery and a gym.

But horror stories shared with the council by residents are more familiar with the area’s old reputation as being close to London’s red light district.

“People openly urinate, defecate or vomit in the courtyard and then carry on walking by as if it was the most normal thing in the world to use our courtyard as a public toilet,” said one resident. A regular visitor added she had been spat at and “being nearly knocked over by a motorbike was a true highlight”, adding: “Dialling 999 is a daily occurrence as well as walking past faeces smeared up the wall.

The council needs to act and stop this from happening, before the inevitable happens and someone is murdered on the site.”

The objections have been published for public view on the council’s website while officials decide whether permission can be granted.

The 59 new properties were officially finished and opened last year, but the application for new gates says police have called more than 200 times since then, with incidents recorded in the concierge’s log. In its application for new gates, an architect’s report said that the brand new development had been damaged and the courtyard transformed into a place for anti-social behaviours by drug addicts and dealers.

Steel bar gates at both entrances would be installed if Camden gives a green light to the new security measures. One local resident has written to the Town Hall opposing the idea of gates, insisting that the courtyard was helpful cut through and that they had never witnessed any nuisance behaviour.

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