Haringey Council to investigate digital aerial 'opt out' after action by Liberal Democrats

Haringey Council will now investigate the feasibility of an ‘opt out’ from the installation of new digital aerials scheme for local leaseholders. The success for the campaign led by leaseholder groups and Liberal Democrats came after a special meeting of Haringey Council’s ‘watchdog’ committee last week (1st October 2009) to hear concerns raised by Liberal Democrats.

The committee agreed that Homes for Haringey should report back on the possibility of an opt-out for leaseholders who do not want the new aerial system installed. Since Haringey Council started the scheme, many leaseholders have paid more than £1,000 for installation.

Liberal Democrats have welcomed the feasibility report but have said that they will not stop the campaign to get a better deal for local leaseholders and will continue to closely scrutinise the financial management of the Decent Homes project, which has come under increasing criticism.

Cllr Richard Wilson, who presented the Liberal Democrat ‘call-in’ last week, comments:

“Whilst we welcome this small step in the right direction it was disappointing that the Labour councillors, once again, rubberstamped this dubious cabinet decision.

“The Decent Homes programme and budget continues to be out of control. Agreed standards of work have been exceeded without finance in place, leaseholders have been ignored, and consultation has been non-existent.”

David Winskill, Liberal Democrat lead on the Overview and Scrutiny committee, adds:

“I was shocked at the lack of understanding of how this £198 million scheme has changed so much. Nobody seemed to know how Homes for Haringey had veered away from the specifications agreed by Haringey Council in 2005 and, more worryingly, nobody seemed to grasp that this may have an effect on the standard or amount of homes that will be renovated under Decent Homes.”

Lynne Featherstone MP, adds:

“The way in which leaseholders have been treated is a symptom of the failure by Haringey Council to get value for money from this project. I’m glad efforts from local leaseholders and my Liberal Democrat colleagues are making progress, but we will not stop there.”

Note: Local Liberal Democrats have set up a petition at http://campaigns.libdems.org.uk/aerialscampaign