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Page last updated at 22:00 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Migrants live in Slough Sheds
By Emma Midgley
BBC Berkshire Reporter

Slough is home to an estimated 800 converted sheds

An estimated 800 to 1,000 converted sheds have sprung up in Slough to house migrant workers, vulnerable people and failed asylum seekers according to Slough Borough Council.

The Berkshire town has seen an increase in this local phenomenon, which they have dubbed 'Slough sheds with beds'.

The council describes these as residential chalet style buildings at the back of occupied properties.

Most are converted garages or out-buildings, which often lack sanitation.

Slough sheds can be found throughout the borough, but the highest concentrations are found in Upton, Baylis, Central and Chalvey wards.

Joan Horton, a Slough resident and magistrate, said she could see a shed from her house.

"From my house I can see one that's further up the street," she said. "It's been going on for years.

"Some of them they actually look like mini-bungalows. They've got proper front doors and little lamps outside and curtains at the windows.

"From the road they can't be seen. It doesn't cause me any problems personally, but collectively for the town as a whole it's sucking in all sorts of social problems. "

Slough Borough Council is in the process of setting up a specialist agency which will focus on housing being used by migrant workers.

The agency will work closely together with existing community and landlord organisations, establish a training regime for landlords and use a combination of existing legislation and high profile publicity to achieve this aim.

The projects will be delivered in the three most deprived wards where statistics including the recent housing conditions survey, indicate the highest migrant population in accommodation.

The teams will also be working with community groups such as the Roma liaison group.

The council is considering enforcement actions to deal with the Slough Sheds problem.

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Bernard Bowden

You are focusing on Slough, But I believe this story is much bigger , ride on the train from Reading to Paddington and you see Dwellings like these on all of the journey .

This is not just a problem in Berkshire but also west london and other places I expect.

Dr RJ Elliott, Slough

hello there, is there anybody in ? this has been going on in Slough for years now and its a scandal. Why should these people flout the law !!

Why have they been allowed to get away with it for so long? open your eyes town planners go take a look at the rear of people's homes, it wont take you long to see it for yourselves. Manor Park, Stoke Poges Lane and many others. I know, I have seen them. The town is becoming a slum. If the Council carry out their investigations correctly, they will be ordering lots of these ' dwellings' to be demolished. 'Come friendly bombs, come fall on Slough' To quote a phrase.

Dave Kelly, Slough

This a typical of our local authority. A basic failure to look facts in the face.

You don't need a landlords workshop to work out that if you have multiple occupancy homes, there will be more rubbish. More use of utilities. More of a drain on local services.

We have had increase upon increase in our local taxes to fund what the national goverment have failed to fund. Which is a massive influx of people into this country.

Many of the houses that carry out this practice are council owned and therefore it's illegal to use them for profit.

Christine, Slough

I have grown up in areas with these 'Sheds with beds' for many years. I one area I could see five or six just looking out of my bedroom window. They are more like bungalows than sheds, with double glazing and guttering. Full electrics in some cases. I think they make the area look ugly, especially when you can see them from the roads. The local council needs to do more to get affordable housing in the area. There is definitely a shortage of council properties.

Foxy, Slough

This has been going on for years and only now the council are doing something about this. The council turned a blind eye as they do.

My street is full of these sheds.

Beryl Davis, Middlesex

This problem has going on for years, in Fact one of my sisters neighbours went to the Council about thes Bunglows in Hayes and he was told in no uncertain terms that they had every right to build these Bunglows at the bottom of their gardens and he was raciest for thinking otherwise and theirs Hundreds of them all over the Area so its a bit late now to worry about it.

Local lass in Slough

Yep- 8yrs and SLOUGH council did nothing about it..My guess is their lax attitude was adversely encouraging such 'sheds with beds' hence the rise in the outbuildings- maybe the council refrained from clamping down as they saw the possibility of slamming massive fines on the perpetrators when least expected? If the council did not want such a problem, why not be quick on their heels from day one, and set an example to all others planning on doing the same thing? ... Oh. and sort out the housing issue whilst they were at it. The council don't seem to have done much in the past 10yrs let alone 8years bar knocking down most housing to build offices or pokey cardboard flats. On an end note, lets not all tar the people living in such schemes or renting out such builds with the same brush. Not all are greedy nor 'failed asylum seekers' or 'benefit fraudsters'..

The councils move to actually do something about it NOW is too little, too late as this will probably just see a massive increase in demand for council housing and funds for 'housing benefit' etc will drain from the budget... Brownie points wont be issued this time around.

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