Lives could be lost unless Fenland clamps down on illegal homes says MP

LITTLE is being done to clamp down on the growing number of houses in Wisbech being used illegally for multiple occupation by migrant workers and their families, says MP Steve Barclay.

“Unless action is taken urgently, lives may be lost in a fire,” said the MP for NE Cambs.

He said tonight he had asked Fenland District Council to take new measures to tackle the growing problem and to equip officers better to close those houses known to be breaking the law.

“There is ongoing inconvenience and often anti social behaviour linked to these properties which impact on neighbours,” he said.

He said it was not just an issue in Wisbech “but the problem is particularly evident here.”

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Mr Barclay said he met Marco Cereste, the leader of Peterborough City Council, to learn the lessons recently applied in Millfield and he wants Fenland District Council “to take a similar robust approach in Wisbech.”

The MP has met Paul Medd, the chief executive of Fenland District Council, and welcomed his commitment to host a meeting to bring together various parties to tackle the problem locally.

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“Last year there were 55 interventions by council officers across Fenland, but it appears very few houses were actually taken out of use,” said Mr Barclay.

“This issue is also linked to the recent emergence of a number of properties being used to sell alcohol without a licence.”

Mr Barclay said: “We need a step change in the approach which sends a message out to the community that those breaking the law will face enforcement action.

“We need to raise the profile of this issue, have a clear programme of action, and ensure there is real change on the ground.”

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