A RESIDENT says he will not pay a council tax bill until the authority can explain to his children why they have failed to take action against his neighbour for smoking cannabis.
Richard Williams (33) is refusing to settle with Rotherham Council over an unpaid council tax bill from 2015 for his three-bedroomed house in Thrybergh, because of a nine-year row over his council tenant neighbour.
15Mr Williams (right) said he was refusing to pay the £884 bill because he had complained multiple times about his neighbour smoking cannabis and the council had not taken any action against him.
Rotherham Council said it took allegations of drug dealing and criminality seriously and urged Mr Williams to pay up before the bill increased.
Mr Williams said he looked after his children, aged nine and seven, at weekends, but he said he couldn’t let either of them use his rear bedroom because of the stench of the drugs from next door.
He said he began having problems in 2011 when he converted a room in his three-bedroomed terrace into a nursery for his daughter.
“Some days it might be fine, but some days it’s horrific,” he said.
“Why should I subject my children to that smell?”
Mr Williams, who is in he process of selling his house, said he had reported his neighbour to the council about once every couple of months.
“Someone from Rotherham Council just came out one day and said I can’t smell anything,” he said.
“I kept sending them notifications as to when they should come out but they said they were not coming out of hours.”
Mr Williams said he had reported it to the police and they had replied to say they were aware of it \_ but he said they had not taken any action.
He said he had decided to refuse to pay the council as a way of making the authority listen to him.
“I said I will pay if someone from Rotherham Council can give my two children an explanation about the smell, where it’s coming from, what it is and why they can’t share a bedroom,” he said.
A Rotherham Council spokesperson said: “The council takes allegations of drug dealing and criminality very seriously and would advise anyone to report any acts of criminality to the police to be investigated appropriately.
“It is important that people making reports provide as much information as possible in order for the police and where appropriate the council to take action.”
The spokesperson said the council had investigated Mr Williams’ complaint at the first stage of its process and it had not been supported, but he had the right to take the complaint further.
“There is no provision in the council tax legislation for a resident to withhold payment as a result of being unhappy with the service they have received, just as an individual cannot refuse to pay any other sort of tax,” said the spokesperson.
“In order to reduce the likelihood of the debt increasing due to recovery action we would urge Mr Williams to pay as a matter of urgency.”