A shared bin area in Cambridge has become a ‘terrible’ hub for drug users, rats and rough sleepers, according to residents.
Located next to Anglia Ruskin University’s (ARU) eye clinic, the space was built along with the rest of the building around four years ago.
As part of the original planning permission for the building, ARU agreed to provide the shared bin area for the residents of Petersfield ward.
But in the last couple of years, according to resident Azadeh Moaveni, the space has become a “magnet” for antisocial behaviour.
She said: “It has become a hub for hardcore drug use. There’s needles, there’s people throwing up, there’s people using the area for a toilet.
“Between the needles and the rats and the human faeces, it’s becoming quite urgent.”
Mrs Moaveni claimed the problems have made her feel unsafe in her own home.
She also said she fears for the safety of her eight and 10-year-old children.
She said: “They used to play there a lot. They would take out the rubbish for me. I don’t let them go back there at all anymore.
“Sometimes I will want to take the rubbish out at 10pm. People who are high can be unpredictable, they can be violent. I will often not go out there at dark anymore because I feel unsafe.”
Mrs Moaveni is frustrated with ARU, who is responsible for the maintenance of the area.
She said: “I went to an Anglia Ruskin meeting around a year ago and said ‘this area is dangerous.’
“I told the whole collective meeting there was a man who had overdosed and was lying in a pile of his own blood. I had to call an ambulance.
“They just blinked at me. They have been utterly awful.”
ARU’s proposed solution after the meeting was to brick the area up completely.
However, this was refused by the council as it was considered a breach of the conditions of the planning permission the university had originally agreed to.
A spokesperson for the council said they had been working proactively with residents and ARU to find a solution to the issue.
They said: “All parties are due to meet up to discuss this matter soon and come up with a satisfactory solution to the issues. In the meantime our waste team has been working to secure the residents’ bins to prevent them being moved so easily.”
A spokesperson for ARU said: “Unfortunately this area has been used for drug taking and rough sleeping for a number of years, which sadly has an impact on both the university and the lives of local residents.
“ARU always aims to act responsibly and last year sought consent from the Council to permanently block off this area to prevent it being used for illegal activity.
“However, the Council’s planning committee refused this on the grounds of a loss of amenity for local residents. This loss of amenity would have meant residents would have to store their bins in their back gardens.
“We continue to want to be a good neighbour to the local residents, and will contribute our part to helping resolve both this problem and Cambridge’s homeless challenges more generally.”
News from Cambridgeshire Live