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Council intervenes after witness spots 'refugees' moving into Blackfen house

PUBLISHED: 10:05 12 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:50 12 July 2016

Men spotted outside the home on Friday, July 8

Men spotted outside the home on Friday, July 8

Archant

Cllr Teresa O'Neill has advised locals not to 'inflame the situation with rumour and hearsay'

The house on Penhill RoadThe house on Penhill Road

Enforcement officers at Bexley council were called into action last when more than a dozen men were seen moving into a two-storey house in Blackfen.

One witness claimed on social media: “16 male refugees moved into a house” in Penhill Road last week.

Bexley council received a number of calls about the property being used as Home Office accommodation, despite the council not giving any prior approval.

A spokesperson from the council said: “The house was occupied by three people but evidence clearly showed that a much higher occupation was being planned.

“The accommodation provider was notified that the property was unsuitable for the proposed multiple occupancy and was provided with a list of works required.”

Despite the council’s refusal, the Home Office accommodation provider placed “multiple people” inside the home over the weekend.

The spokesperson continued: “Following representations from the council they were removed and the council will be demanding a further meeting to ensure that this does not happen again.”

Leader of Bexley council Teresa O’Neill, said: “We fully understand the concerns of residents in Penhill Road.

“Our council enforcement officers acted quickly and were able to stop this property from being used in such an unlawful manner.

“We thank Penhill Road residents for highlighting this issue to us. However, we must take care when something like this arises not to inflame the situation with rumour and hearsay. Bexley has a proud tradition of community cohesion and partnership. We are a diverse and tolerant borough and I would hope we would all think twice before engaging in rumour that can quickly turn into something more serious.”

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