Letter : How to sort out bullying neighbours

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The Independent Online
Sir: Nuisance neighbours and bullies cause havoc and can cause mental ill health to their neighbours, particularly on densely populated housing estates. "Sin bin" blocks have been created for problem families. These families are passed on to another area and take their problems with them.

Accelerated procedures to secure eviction in cases of antisocial behaviour (leading article, 18 September) are required. However Jack Straw has not made proposals as to how local people, living in the blocks, can be assisted to use their experience to influence neighbour behaviour.

New legislation alone cannot deal with anti-social behaviour. The law- and-order approach is a costly one. Far less costly and more effective is the community development approach, with elected neighbourhood councils. Housing estate tenants are encouraged to help to care for their own communities, including the elderly, children and those at risk. The whole quality of life on the housing estates is improved.

Nuisance neighbours are visited, mediation arranged where necessary. Only in extreme situations which cannot be handled locally will the police or the processes of eviction be used.

TEDDY GOLD

Director

School Councils UK

London N3

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