At last night’s Cabinet Meeting Ms Fransoy Hewitt, the lady whose Regina Road mould-ridden soaking wet flat, was filmed by ITV News in March, gave the Labour Council an update on the leak and disrepairs affecting her home.
In an emotional speech and through some probing, critical questions, Ms Hewitt gave aghast Labour councillors a piece of her mind and said that she and other residents are still suffering terribly. It was patently clear that Ms Hewitt and her family have been experiencing the most appalling time - but it was so shocking to hear that there is still no-one at the Council listening to her or other residents.
It has been more than 8 weeks since the Council was alerted to the news that it had been identified as a slum landlord and it is appalling to hear that no-one has personally taken ownership of her case. This poor lady and her children deserve a gold-plated service after everything they have been through but it sounded like she is still not getting any service at all.
Ms Hewitt explained the impact which this whole situation has had on her mental health and should be applauded for her bravery in coming forward. She has shone a light on an appalling situation which has not only affected her but also hundreds of Croydon tenants right across our Borough - who are all living in unacceptable accommodation.
Whilst Labour Councillors are big on words – its action that residents need.
Quite frankly, if her flat had been owned by any other landlord, the council would have taken them to Court.
In the few minutes I was given to speak, I asked Cllr Patricia Hay-Justice, the Cabinet Member for Homes, to take personal ownership of Ms Hewitt’s case and to give her and her family the support which she desperately needs – this should not have taken 8 weeks and a personal appearance by Ms Hewitt to plead for.
Sadly, the publishing of the ARK report – the report commissioned by the Labour Council to investigate the Regina Road flat disrepairs and its housing service, is yet another shocking indictment of the way in which Labour has been running the Council.
requests for a leak repair stretched back 4 years
the Council has been found to have failed to deliver the most basic of housing services
the Council treated tenants with contempt
the Council left residents, including children, to live in such squalid conditions for months
is both shocking and completely unacceptable and they have, perhaps unsurprisingly, now been found to be in breach of social housing regulations.
At the meeting, I asked Cllr Hamida Ali, as Leader of the Council, to let me know how she would ensure accountability for the Councillors responsible for oversight of the Housing Department - Cllr Alison Butler who was in charge for much of the time with Cllr Hay-Justice as her Deputy.
However, this was brushed aside by the Leader who pointed to the report which identified staff and manager failures. So, I have to wonder what Cllr Butler and Cllr Hay-Justice, now the Cabinet Member for Homes, knew about the repairs service and complaints in their Housing Department.
If they maintain they knew nothing – then what on earth are we as council taxpayers paying them for?