A NEIGHBOURHOOD has been “destroyed” by antisocial students whose bad language and noisy parties have driven families away and caused house prices to plummet, said a father-of-one.

Adam Newell moved into his home in Hawkwood Crescent, St John’s, three years ago and says he has seen neighbours either side of him move out and his property value sink to “virtually worthless.”

The 47-year-old said it wasn't just the "decibels of noise” but also the obscene content of conversations and chants – meaning he can’t allow his young child, five, into the garden.

He said: “It’s impossible to sit in your garden with your family because what we are having to listen to and witness is disgusting.”

Mr Newell said he’s watched students “on a trampoline peeing over my fence” and others “hanging out of the window with their jeans coming down.”

Asking them to stop and even taking his daughter round to show them why he is complaining hasn’t helped, he said, and he claims in retaliation his car has been scratched and a wiper ripped off.

Other residents – many with young families – are too scared to speak after having bottles “thrown into their gardens,” Mr Newell claims.

“These landlords need to be making sure this doesn’t happen or they should lose their licences,” he said.

Mr Newell has attempted to sell his house, but believes the student issue has made it impossible and dropped the value to “nil.”

He claims some of the landlords used to live in the properties in question but due to the disturbances from other student houses decided to leave and rent them out – adding to the problem.

And once one batch of students is replaced with another, the issue remains the same, he said.

“I’m happy to live here and fight it to the death,” he continued. “All of these houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) have ruined the community. Everyone knows it’s a problem. The council, police say the same – you shouldn’t have to live like that. Then I say, what do I do? And they say 'I don’t know'.

“There’s a lot of older people and these students have ruined the last years of their lives and nothing has been done. Us homeowners have got to take it back from the HMOs or get the landlords to take control of the situation or lose the income.”

Mr Newell has turned to city councillor Chris Mitchell, who has successfully pushed for changes to the process in which complaints against HMOs are made.

Cllr Mitchell said the council's complaints process was “neither robust, well-understood or transparent” for anyone.

Now, officers have “formalised” the process so that there’s “no ambiguity” if a resident needs to deal with a “rogue household”, said the councillor.

He said an easier to follow complaints procedure will mean a sufficient audit trail can be built up in line with the council, university, Worcester Regulatory Authority and the police.

“Now we have a process where the council, if [the landlord] doesn’t affect changes, the council can ultimately, and it’s the ultimate sanction, remove their licence.”

Cllr Mitchell said the majority of landlords and HMOs are not a problem – though he said in his eight years as a councillor the four or five cases he’s dealt with have all related to students.

“Either the landlords are not engaged or the residents are not listening and if it’s the case, as a responsible business holder, as far as we’re concerned they should try and get rid of them.”

He said he has had meetings with the University of Worcester (UoW) which has the “ultimate sanction of removing the university place” from any troublesome students.

But he accepts, once students are off campus, they are just young people “living in their own houses” and the university’s power “is limited.”

The university does fund two PCSOs, but Cllr Mitchell said: “There’s a potential conflict there because the PCSOs are employed by the university, and the university’s customers are the students.

“At times some people just need to be told, you cannot do this and if you do it again, there is a consequence. It’s been so long that it appears there is no consequence to the student or the landlord of having a disruptive HMO,” he added.

A UoW spokesman said the university takes its "responsibility as a member of the Worcester community very seriously" and works hard with local residents and students to "maintain a harmonious relationship."

“Our Student Services team and specialist Police Community Support Officers work in tandem to provide advice, guidance and if needed, mediation to resolve any issues which may arise and to find peaceful ways to live side-by-side.

“The PCSOs are employed and are responsible to West Mercia Police. They are seconded to work at the university for most of their duties in exchange for the university’s funding and it has always been clear that their role is to prevent crime and support residents who live near the university’s campuses as well as students and staff."

The spokesman added the university works closely with the Students' Union to encourage students to "behave in a sensible and courteous manner."

All students sign up to a Code of Conduct. The code includes a "range of disciplinary measures, which the university robustly applies when appropriate," said the spokesman.

“If residents are concerned about the behaviour of students, we would ask them to report these to us as soon as possible so that we can work with them to resolve any problems swiftly.

"Residents who wish to report a problem can call 01905 855000.”