AN OSWESTRY woman has spoken of her fury after a council blunder led to an angry dispute with neighbours.
The disabled woman complained to Shropshire Council about anti-social behaviour issues with her neighbours, but the council response outlining their investigation was sent to her neighbours following a mix-up with addresses, sparking an angry confrontation with them and what she describes as an ‘ongoing nightmare’.
The 41-year-old council house tenant has now received a full admission of the unitary authority’s breach of confidentiality, but says the error has caused her severe distress which is still continuing.
She told the Advertizer: “The first I found out was when my neighbour came round screaming at me, they [Shropshire Council] did not admit it until then.
“The consequences have been dire. It has been a living nightmare since June – I get verbally abused all the time now. I’ve had to get the police involved. I am disabled anyway and do not need the extra stress – they have a moral duty to look after tenants.”
She has asked Shropshire Council to increase security around her property, including a request for a new security light after she felt unsafe.
However, she claims that during a visit to her home she was told by a council official that work would only be carried if she dropped her complaint.
“They [the council] started to use it as a bargaining tool. I think it is absolutely disgusting,” she continued, adding that her grown-up son had moved in with her and her daughter after he became concerned for their safety.
She also explained that the breach is now being investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office and human rights group Liberty who are looking into possible breaches of human rights, and was due to take the matter up with North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson on Friday (November 9).
She added: “I have followed the corporate complaints procedure, but they [Shropshire Council] need to stop hiding behind the complaints procedure.”
Councillor Mal Price, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for housing, said he was aware of the complaint and said housing officers had visited the woman concerned to apologise for any distress caused.
He continued: “We offered the installation of extra security measures, which was made to make her feel more safe at home and as a means of successfully resolving her complaint. We are also in contact with the police about any issues with anti-social behaviour in the area, although they have not received any reports since August.”
Cllr Price added that housing officers will continue to investigate anti-social behaviour and will keep Mrs Dudley informed.