London boroughs 'expelling families to Essex'

image captionCouncil leaders from across Essex have written to senior politicians including London's mayor

Dealers from rival drug gangs have been placed almost next-door to each other in an "unacceptable" rehousing process, a council leader claims.

Tendring District Council's Neil Stock also said families "expelled" from London had "no say" on where they went.

He is one of 16 leaders in the county to sign a letter to senior politicians calling for action.

Mr Stock said it was "not fair" for London authorities to "dump their problems" on Essex.

Issues raised in the letter include a lack of communication between authorities when people are rehoused, the additional pressure on local services and people being moved away from their families and jobs.

The letter will also be sent to the Mayor of London and the leaders of every London borough.

image copyrightTendring District Council
image captionNeil Stock said dealers from rival drug gangs had been placed next-door to each other

Mr Stock, who is also chairman of the Essex Leaders and Chief Executives Group, told how previous concerns raised by Essex councils had been "largely ignored" and said he hoped the letter would "shame" London authorities.

He told BBC Essex: "We've got people who've come from rival drug gangs who have ended up housed almost next to each other with all the conflicts and tensions that you can imagine go with that, not just for them but for all the neighbours and the existing local community.

"We don't want someone else to dump all their problems on us and that's the concern we've got with London sending out problem families and people they don't want in London any more."

He added: "Compared to London, property in Essex looks very attractive and cheap, but it's not fair that the hard-pressed taxpayers of Essex are having to subsidise London's problems.

"We don't want to stop people moving to the county but it needs to be because people want to move here, not because they are being forced or financially encouraged to by their London council as way of removing a problem."

Terry Cutmore, leader of Rochford District Council, added it was "important" authorities worked together to "monitor and manage this situation".

"This letter reinforces our view that people should only relocate to Essex if they choose to do so," he said.

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