South Shields dad furious after South Tyneside Homes removes turf and trellises over 'fire hazard' concerns

A tenant is demanding housing bosses apologise for their actions after removing fixtures from his home without warning.

Private tenant Andrew Blenkiron is furious with South Tyneside Homes after turf and trellises he installed at his home were removed by workers he says turned up unannounced.

Despite the dad’s flat in Longleat Gardens, South Shields, not being managed by South Tyneside Homes, the shared areas outside the flats are owned by the housing association – and bosses say the fixtures and fittings go against their policies.

But Andrew is unhappy about how South Tyneside Homes handled the situation, which he said had caused his family distress – including his step-son, who he says has social anxiety problems, and his partner, who he said also suffers from anxiety.

Turfed stairway

“We didn’t receive any warning or a proper explanation as to what was so wrong about what we had done to the property,” he said.

"We are only trying to make where live a nice area and this is how we’ve been treated. I just can’t understand their decision.”

Andrew said the family have lived in the flat for around a year and laid turf on staircase some time ago.

He said they had not received any comments from South Tyneside Homes about any safety concerns, and they had consulted their neighbour who was happy for them to make some upgrades.

Stairway after turf removed

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After paying for trellises and using masonry paint to touch up paintwork, Andrew said the family received a letter from South Tyneside Homes stating their fixtures and fittings were unacceptable.

He said the letter from the organisation, which runs the borough’s council housing, did not state when the fittings had to be removed, or that workers would come out to remove them.

Andrew added: “We’ve been made to feel like we are bad people and we’ve done something wrong when we are professional people and good tenants.”

The turfed staircase before and how it looks now after fixtures removed

After challenging the decision and what he feels is the poor treatment of him and his family, he says he has received no further contact from South Tyneside Homes regarding the matter.

A spokesman for South Tyneside Homes said: "All communal areas must be kept free from obstruction.

"The items that had been attached to the walls, handrails and floor of the shared areas were a fire hazard and could have resulted in all exits being blocked in the event of a fire.

"We understand the tenant's disappointment but fire safety must be the top priority.”