A community blighted by anti-social behaviour has fought back to breathe fresh life into their estate.
For the last 10 years residents of Monarch Parade in London Road, Mitcham, have suffered from vandalism, physical assaults, and street drinkers which has left them fearing for their safety and unwilling to let their children out to play.
The privately owned block of flats is said to have been left to ‘rot’ by its freeholder prompting residents to band together and take control.
By taking over the block's low level gardening and cleaning duties residents were able to reduce their service charge to build up a pot of money, and also secure two community funding grants to purchase security gates and doors for their estate.
Zoe West, who has lived at the block of flats for the last two and a half years and is chairwoman of the Monarch Parade residents association said: "We were blighted by anti social behaviour with men urinating and drinking, people smashing windows and graffiti.
"Before we could sort any major work we had to make the building secure.
"Through a number of people including the MP Siobhain McDonagh, Councillor Geraldine Stanford, Councillor Agatha Akingiya and Inspector Stuart Buchan we were able to get funding to put toward the cost for installing of gates and security doors."
Residents marked their success by holding a community day on Saturday where they made further improvements by painting the halls and stripping out a burnt out garage to store the block's bins.
Police and London Fire Brigade also attended to give free advice on crime prevention and fire safety, as well as officers from Merton Council's environmental health, Safer Merton and waste services teams.
Ms West said: "There is a big sense of achievement but also everybody feels so much safer now.
"Neighbours feel they can let their children out which before they could do because men would be drinking and urinating and throwing their bottles down.
"For me that’s the most important thing and it brings community cohesion as well."