Balliniska ‘brawl’ flags up problem tenancies

A view of the apartment complex in Balliniska Heights Northland Road. DER1619GS-034
A view of the apartment complex in Balliniska Heights Northland Road. DER1619GS-034

A ‘brawl’ filmed and widely circulated online was the latest in a string of anti-social flare-ups at the Balliniska Heights complex in Derry, it’s been claimed.

Horrified onlookers reportedly filmed several persons engaged in an open-air fracas recently and footage uploaded was widely shared online.

A spokesperson for Clanmil Housing, which owns the development, said it takes the security and safety of its tenants very seriously and invests heavily to ensure people feel safe in their homes.

“We have been working with the PSNI to deal with a small number of households whose unacceptable behaviour has been unsettling this neighbourhood.

“We have been taking, and are continuing to take, action against those involved. As a result, a number of these people no longer live at this development and legal action is ongoing against others.

“We are committed to safeguarding the confidentiality of the people who live in our homes and cannot comment on individual tenants.

“Following this recent incident we are meeting with the PSNI to pursue action.

“We would ask anyone who witnessed the incident to contact us and the PSNI to assist with our investigations,” said the housing association.

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper said: “I have been in constant contact with Clanmil Housing in relation to ongoing issues at the Balliniska Heights housing development which have been published online.

“Clanmil Housing have worked hard to remove problem tenants and the remaining issues will be addressed in coming weeks through legal avenues. This a much-needed modern housing development and its vitally important these activities are nipped in the bud.

“I will remain in contact with affected residents in the apartments and the Foyle Springs area in the times ahead,” said Colr, Cooper.

On the wider issue of problem tenancies generally, a spokesperson for the Housing Executive said it was committed to ensuring anti-social behaviour is tackled appropriately. “While most of our estates are safe and popular places to live we recognise that nuisance and anti-social behaviour (ASB) are real issues which can have a significant impact on individuals and communities,” a spokesperson said.

“Our offices are usually the first point of contact for those wishing to report anti-social behaviour and we have in place very robust policies and procedures for dealing with ASB which clearly identifies a range of responses available to deal with complaints.

“In the majority of cases our approach is to seek to resolve the nuisance and address the unacceptable behaviour of perpetrators which would allow them to remain in their homes. This may include the use of interventions such as issuing warning letters, obtaining agreement for acceptable behaviour contracts, support for underlying issues and/or mediation,” said a NIHE spokesperson.

The housing agency said that in instances were dialogue and mediation didn’t work it would not hesitate to use its statutory powers to repossess properties from perpetrators, or seek an injunction from the court in circumstances where it is required.