Entry phones

I go to Cranley Dene sheltered housing to meet with residents and officers – which is something I do twice yearly so that residents can raise any problems they are experiencing.

Cranley Dene is a pretty happy home. The new residential manager is absolutely great and really caring and active on the issues that arise. Consequently, I think, the officers try their best and reading the list of action points from the last minutes six months earlier – almost all the problems raised then have been resolved.

But not quite all. The really serious outstanding problem is that the entry phone on which all of the residents rely does not work. This means that visitors often cannot get in. Even more seriously – sometimes carers or chemists delivering vital prescriptions also cannot get in if the warden is not on duty.

The officer promises that he will get a new system installed. I make it clear that I regard this as vital (and should be the most obvious basic provision) and if he has any trouble getting the budget for it – to let me know and I will harass, nag and publicise until the council does their duty.

Even worse, after the meeting he tells me about how many entry phone systems across the borough need replacement at the cost of around £3million and how his budget for the whole year is around £300,000. And there are areas of Haringey where the high levels of crime make these installations and maintenance absolutely vital.

This always makes me angry. In some ways it’s just such a vital but everyday requirement of blocks of flats – whether residential or sheltered residential. If that much is need to repair or replace to an adequate standard in Haringey you have to know they have been appalling in their programs over previous years.

I did, however, have confidence that this officer was tackling the issue to the best of his budgeting ability – but will have a think about where the council should find the money to fulfil this basic function. Labour always find money for glossy brochures and publicity puffs – better spent on entry systems…