Action needed on housing security

Concern is growing for the safety of local residents living in a housing block in Alexandra ward after Haringey Council and Homes for Haringey failed to take action to improve security despite many incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour over the past year.

Tenants and leaseholders in Bolster Grove have been forced to put up with constant vandalism and intimidation as local vandals use the main stairwell leading to residents’ homes as a hang out. Recent visits to Bolster Grove have revealed many incidents including the windows of the main entry door have been broken, windows in the stairwell forced open, window frames burned, fires being started as well as the area being regularly strewn with dropped food, litter and used condoms.

However, since the most recent incident on 11th October 2009, Homes for Haringey has not repaired the main entry door, leaving smashed glass in place and homes unsecured.

Local Liberal Democrats have continued to raise the issue, along with the need for door entry systems, with Homes for Haringey bosses and even brought the issue to the attention of Cllr John Bevan, Labour’s Cabinet member for Housing, at the last Full Council meeting on 19th October 2009. Despite this, no action has been taken by Haringey Council.

Cllr Nigel Scott   (Alexandra ward), who has alerted the local safer neighbourhood team and visits the area regularly, comments:

“It is unacceptable that after months of incidents including fires, antisocial behaviour and damage to property, residents of Bolster Grove still do not have an idea when their homes will be made safe.

“Some residents are afraid to leave their homes unoccupied whilst the entrance door is broken. It needs to made safe now and the Council should not wait until a more serious incident occurs before they take action.”

Lynne Featherstone MP adds:

“Local residents should feel safe in their own homes. Yet the lack of action by Haringey Council at Bolster Grove only leaves people feeling harassed and their homes unsecured.”

Calls for Housing Cabinet member to apologise as auditors sent in

Labour’s Cabinet member for Housing, Cllr John Bevan, is facing growing pressure to make a public apology for misrepresenting leaseholders in the ongoing issue of £1000+ bills for the installation of digital aerials.

At last week’s Annual General Meeting of the Haringey Leaseholders’ Association (HLA) it was confirmed that the HLA had never voted in favour of Haringey Council’s expensive digital aerials scheme despite Cllr Bevan saying publicly that they had.

Cllr Bevan publicly stated, at Full Council on 19th October 2009 and at the special meeting of the Council’s ‘watchdog’ committee on 1st October 2009, that leaseholders in fact voted for the scheme. Cllr Bevan was not at the AGM, but attended a previous HLA meeting in February 2009 where leaseholders voted in favour of an opt-out from the digital aerials scheme.

Local Liberal Democrats are calling for a public apology from Cllr Bevan to set the record straight.

Opposition housing spokesperson Cllr Matt Davies, who attended the HLA meeting on Thursday 22nd October 2009, comments:

“The Chair of the HLA asked the meeting to agree the minutes from February, which clearly state that leaseholders voted for an opt-out from the digital aerial scheme. She also asked all those present who had been at the previous meeting to confirm that this was an accurate recollection and not one single person has the same memory of the meeting as Cllr Bevan.

“Cllr Bevan must now apologise to the HLA as he was clearly mistaken. It is not surprising leaseholders get such a raw deal from Haringey if even when Labour try to listen they only hear what they want to hear.”

With the huge cost of digital aerials not the only complaints being raised by leaseholders with Councillors and Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone, further questions are being asked about how Haringey bills leaseholders.

Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, comments:

“It is unbelievable that Cllr Bevan has so far refused to correct his statements or apologise. He must do so immediately. It is typical of Haringey Labour that they feel they can just say what they like and ignore leaseholders – treating them like a piggy-bank they can just smash open whenever they want.

“After personally hearing so many serious concerns raised individually by leaseholders, I have asked the auditors to look at how Haringey gets money from leaseholders. I will also be meeting with the HLA to discuss their concerns as a group and would encourage any other leaseholders who have complaints about their bills to contact me. We will not be letting this drop.”