WARRING neighbours could be asked to pay up to £300 to cover the cost of mediators – working at £150 an hour – to sort out their problems.
The scheme is just one of the tools available to Redditch Borough Council after the authority’s executive committee recommended a tough new anti social behaviour policy for approval by full council.
The policy incorporates a number of new measures including those which give the council extended powers to evict anti social tenants in certain circumstances.
However Councillors heard that ideally, as a landlord, it was better to tackle anti social behaviour, nuisance and ongoing disputes early and amicably.
This could lead to reductions in costs to the council for repairs, damage, house moves and legal fees.
There is also the option to recover the costs of anti social behaviour, damage and vandalism to council property directly from the perpetrator if a case is proven.
Another option is to use the mediation process.
This would be at a rate of £140 to £150 per hour plus costs – with both parties being asked to contribute to the bill, failing that the council would pick up the tab.
Under questioning from Councillor Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) council officer Bev Houghton told the meeting: “The minimum time is an hour to get to the root causes.
“Then there’s the potential for the two parties to be brought together or shuttle mediation by the mediator.
“If it’s unlikely to be successful after two hours the process would not continue.”
She added that the aim was to train council officers up to be mediators, thus cutting costs.
Coun Craig Warhurst (Con, Aswtood Bank and Feckenham) portfolio holder for housing said: “Residents have the right to live in tranquility and safety and often it’s a small number of people who create hell for other residents.
“The council has a responsibility here and this policy does that – we have to demonstrate that we can deal with anti social behaviour in Redditch and I welcome this policy.”