AN outbreak of criminal activity, violence and anti-social behaviour on an estate in Ross-on-Wye has been likened to living in a ghetto.

At Monday’s meeting of Ross-on-Wye Town Council Cllr Milly Boylan said: “I understand this area of Ross has the highest crime rate in West Mercia. This really is a ghetto estate. The flats are not fit for living in.”

Cllr Boylan told members: “There were two stabbings in Old Market Close last week. These were not minor incidents but were quite significant in its severity. One victim was a military veteran.

“On Saturday night there was an attack with the culprit using a metal pole. The multiple victims were attacked at random; they were not targeted themselves, but they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“One woman victim will be lucky if she does not lose part of the muscle on her leg.”

“The housing association’s response was that they had been informed that somebody hurt but were not sure what had had really happened.”

 Cllr Boylan proposed that Ross Town Council should be taking action and do something practical about resolving this problem.

“It has been reported locally that there have been at least 35 incidents on the estate this year,” she added.

“However, four stabbings that I know of, have not been reported to the police. How many other incidents have not been reported? You can only imagine the amount of anti-social behaviour, violence that is going on.”

Cllr Boylan suggested that Platform Housing, the owners of the properties should install CCTV amonst other measures, and take more responsibility of their tenants to ensure that the people living there are kept safe.

The council heard that the problem has arisen since the pandemic lockdown when many of the homeless people were re-homed and located to this estate, which has resulted in people with a myriad of mental health issues mixing for known drug dealers living close by.

Cllr Boylan concluded: “It’s time that pressure was applied to the housing association, the police and the local authority to step up and solve this issue.”

The council voted to write to the chief constable of West Mercia Police, the chief executives of Platform Housing and Herefordshire County Council about the amount of crime and anti-social behaviour on this estate and will urge that urgent co-ordinated action needs to be taken by the three bodies to address this.

Inspector James Ashton, who leads the Safer Neighbourhood Team in Ross-on-Wye, said: “We’re aware of community concerns around crime and anti-social behaviour in the Old Market Close area of the town.

“Over the last 12 months we’ve been engaging with the local community, as well as partners such as the local authority and housing and healthcare providers, to understand and address the issues raised.

“Old Market Close is an area of particular focus for the safer neighbourhood team and officers carry out regular patrols. 

 “A new officer, PC Kift, has recently joined the team, with more officers due to start work in the area later this summer as part of our increased efforts to tackle crime in the town centre.

“As always, I would continue to encourage the public to report any crimes to us.  If we don’t know about them then we’re not able to take action.

“Our officers are also always happy to chat about any concerns you may have so please don’t hesitate to speak to us.

“You can also keep up to date with the work the local policing team are doing, as well as contact them directly, by signing up to our free community messaging service, Neighbourhood matters.”

Marion Duffy, chief operations officer at Platform Housing Group said: “We are sorry to hear of the concerns in Old Market Close. We will work with the police and other agencies to support our customers in the area.”