Residents living in a block of flats in central Swindon have started a legal battle to take back control of the building.

They claim their serious maintenance and safety concerns have been ignored at Wellington House, owned by Pinnacle Property Management.

The Wellington House Residents Association representing the 61 flats was started after residents discovered the security concerns they reported to property managers were not being reported to the police.

Renter Sophie Christopher said the ‘run-down’ building - with rife drug-use, overflowing bins, blocked drains and people treating it like a ‘human toilet’ – had attracted ‘the worst of Swindon’ over the years.

One main issue was the security door being left open, leading to parcels and mail being stolen and reportedly leading to identity theft, as well as intruders ‘tailgating’ residents into their properties on multiple occasions with no working CCTV to catch the perpetrators.

There were also reports of men trying to unlock doors when they suspected women were home alone and a case of a man allegedly entering a flat when a woman was in the shower, as well as reports of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, where men would queue up outside the building entrance during the day.

The association has legally been awarded the Right to Manage, but say Pinnacle Property Management is refusing to let go, despite being ‘overwhelmed’ with problems for at least eight years. 

Additionally, dangerous cladding, similar to the one used on Grenfell Tower, has been left on the 16 year-old block of flats, posing a potentially deadly fire hazard.

Sophie also says estate agents have asked Pinnacle Property Management to tidy up both the inside and the outside of the building for viewings, but they have failed to do so.

Despite the rental costs being between £700 and £800 per month, many people have been forced to clean faeces, sick and needles to maintain a liveable environment and claim they are still billed with a service charge, which has allegedly doubled. 

“Residents are so unhappy, they are having to pay rent to live somewhere poorly managed where they are ignored. Nobody should go home to this," she said.

“They are going to work to keep some normality but have to deal with issues when they are back and it can’t continue like that.

"People can’t feel safe or relax. We want people to know what’s going on and we want to work with the police to keep it secure", Sophie explained.

“The whole of Swindon knew about the drug issues and people trespassing, but they pretended not to.

"The place is calmer now, but the issues will keep coming back again. It needs to be cleaned, re-painted and needs people to care about it.

“It’s outrageous when you think of some of the things that have happened here in broad daylight. It’s shameful and very shocking to see.”

In a complaint letter last year, the Wellington House Residents Association said: "Wellington House is in a deteriorate state which has been left to rot and get worse in many, many areas." 

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said there were problems with sewage leaking from the pipes. 

He said: "If this is the case then doesn't it mean this is a health hazard if there is potentially human waste leaking above our heads and dripping onto the floor?" 

Sophie does not currently live in the flat due to the conditions and many other renters have developed physical and mental health problems, including one resident who has stress-induced eczema. 

Pinnacle Property Management was approached for comment.