FIREFIGHTERS are being called to a Huddersfield apartment block three times a day, a tenant has claimed.

James Capon is worried that the Southgate Flats are being left to rot while their future remains uncertain.

The 38-year-old lives in a one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of Ibbotson Flats, which is due to be knocked down to make way for a new Tesco.

Mr Capon accused Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) of neglecting the town centre flats.

“We’ve got small kitchens with poor ventilation,” he said.

“Sometimes the fire brigade turns up and you don’t even hear the alarms. They can come three times a day on false alarms.”

Mr Capon added that KNH was not doing enough to keep tenants safe.

“Security do not patrol at nights, they’re not doing their job,” he said.

“The entry system at the front doors hasn’t work since I moved in four years ago.

“Squatters come in and sleep in the stairways. They shouldn’t get into flats if the security was right.

“The flats are just not up to a liveable standard.”

Ibbotson Flats and neighbouring Lonsbrough Flats are due to be knocked down to make way for a huge new Tesco.

In February Kirklees gave the retail giant permission to build a 24-hour store with 4,585sqm food space, 2,275sqm of non-food space and parking spaces for 746 cars.

However, the Government has decided to launch an inquiry into the development following opposition led by Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman.

Last year Kirklees set aside £2.18m to renovate Richmond Flats – the only one of the three tower blocks at Southgate which is due to remain standing.

Mr Capon said this week that Kirklees should go ahead with the upgrade – regardless of whether the other two blocks are demolished to make way for Tesco.

He said: “They are on about doing Richmond up when there are seven tenants in there.

“If the money’s already there for renovation then why wait?

“I would be quite happy to live in Richmond. I don’t want the flats to go into decline while we’re waiting for a decision.”

A spokeswoman for KNH said: “Both Kirklees Council and KNH understand residents’ frustrations about the issues at Southgate flats and the uncertainty regarding their future.

“The council and KNH take fire safety and repair issues seriously and all essential repairs are being done as normal at the flats.

“Fire safety is also regularly reviewed. We are aware of problems with security and are meeting with the company that provides the patrols to make sure these are dealt with properly.

“We are also meeting with individual residents to discuss their specific needs and will work with them to find suitable alternative properties where needed.”

The spokeswoman added: “The future of the flats – and the work that will be done to improve them – is very much dependent on the outcome of the planning decision about the proposed Tesco store, which will now be the subject of a public inquiry on a date to be agreed.

“However, in light of the further delays we will look at what interim work can be carried out to improve the condition of the properties.

“The council is considering further options for the flats if planning permission is refused.

“Although this position has not been reached, the council and KNH recognise that this uncertainty is difficult for residents, but will be ready to deal with whatever planning decision is reached after the public inquiry”.