Family's joy as crack addicts are finally locked out of their building

A crack addict lights up his pipe in December 2020 in a stairwell in Ebenezer Place, Norwich

A crack addict lights up his pipe in December 2020 in a stairwell in Ebenezer Place, Norwich - Credit: Archant

A housing block blighted by drug users will finally have locks put on its doors to keep addicts out, a month after the problem was highlighted by this newspaper.

Mother-of-two Stacey Bramwell*, 32, said she was “so happy she could cry” when she learned that the council is planning to install a coded key lock on the communal doors of her home in Ebenezer Place, Norwich, today.

She and fellow neighbours have been bombarding Norwich City Council with complaints for eight years highlighting addicts injecting heroin and smoking crack in their stairwell.

In early June we shared shocking footage from Mrs Bramwell’s doorcam, of one addict lighting up his crack pipe in the middle of the afternoon just six feet away from where she and her husband live with their two young sons.

Ebenezer Place

Photos from Ebenezer Place in Norwich of apparent drug taking in the stairwell of flats. - Credit: Archant

Her husband Mark* told us at the time: “Years and years go by and nothing is done. They won’t tell us when we’re getting a new door - but why can’t they just put a lock on the door for now?” 

Now at last they have been told their building is a priority for one of the high-tech high-security doors the council has installed in more than 400 properties since 2017, and will get a lock to tide them over until April 2022 when the next round of installations are scheduled to begin.

In a letter to residents the council said: “As  highlighted by recent calls, the issues you are experiencing with the block need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“As an interim measure we will be fitting a temporary coded key lock to the communal door … this will reduce unwanted visitors to the block and also reduce the issues you have faced.”

Two drug users pass a pipe back and forth between hits, in a stairwell in Ebenezer Place, Norwich

Two drug users pass a pipe back and forth between hits, in a stairwell in Ebenezer Place, Norwich - Credit: Archant

Mrs Bramwell said: “I’m so happy I could cry. It’s been an awful few years, I can’t believe it’s finally being done.

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“It means even if they [addicts] cut through here there’s nowhere for them to go, they can’t get in now - we’re so happy.

“I think the coverage massively helped, thank you for putting the story out there.”

Ebenezer Place where residents are fed up with drug dealers and drug users hanging around the flats

Ebenezer Place where residents are fed up with drug dealers and drug users hanging around the flats and the stairwells. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Copyright: Archant 2021

Green councillor Jamie Osborn who has been campaigning on the issue said: “This is great news for residents who have had to endure, for years, serious drug-related antisocial behaviour due to a lack of security in council estates.

"It shows that the council can apply common-sense measures to help keep tenants safe where there is a will, instead of keeping people seemingly endlessly on hold when they report feeling unsafe in their own home.

“The council should now be looking at where else it can install locks in the immediate term. Residents should not have to feel unsafe for years while they wait for proper security doors to be installed, when common sense interim solutions are available."

He called for a "a clear and evidence-based programme" to establish which buildings would have security upgrades. 

*names have been changed

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