Marshall voices drug fears and calls for houses to be razed

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FEARS are growing that the derelict Eastfield flats could become a haven for drug users.

The empty properties, which are predominantly owned by Scottish Borders Housing Association and a couple by Waverley Housing, are an eyesore and are regularly targeted by vandals, with windows smashed and rubbish strewn in closes.

And at Tuesday night’s community council meeting, Councillor Stuart Marshall called for them either to be tidied up and made safe, or bulldozed to the ground altogether.

Councillor Marshall spoke after receiving several complaints from neighbouring residents.

He said: “I have had two or three calls from people absolutely furious about the state of the place. It has to be seen to be believed.

“As I understand it there is nobody living there any more, and I am seriously concerned that the flats are fast becoming a gang hut for drug users.

“It’s time the housing authorities grasped the nettle and sorted them out, either by taking them down or money being spent on them.

“People are sick fed up of phoning the police and I can’t help but feel sorry for them.”

It is understood that the flats, which are in low demand and in a poor condition, require a significant investment to bring them up to Scottish Housing Quality Standard, while flooding issues from the nearby River Teviot are also believed to be a problem.

Julia Mulloy, chief executive of SBHA, revealed that a review of various options to identify the future of the Eastfield properties is currently being carried out.

She said: “We wish to ensure any of our vacant properties are managed and do not present problems to the public due to break-ins or vandalism.

“I wish to reassure the community council and the public that SBHA will check the security of these properties on a regular basis, and will advise of the outcome of the review in the near future.”

While Councillor Marshall welcomed the latest news, he hoped that action would be taken sooner rather than later.

“I feel we must keep up the pressure to make sure these flats do come down,” he said.

“After revisiting this area this morning [Wednesday], I was quite alarmed to find running water pouring through the place, many ceilings are down and access was very easy