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Labour council U-turns on improvement works across the west of the borough

by Haringey Lib Dems on 7 June, 2013

local Lib Dem councillor Rachel Allison outside Alexander House one of the block of flats affected by delayed repair work on the Hillcrest Estate in Highgate

Works to improve council homes has been cancelled by the Labour council across the west of Haringey. The decision by Haringey Council follows a legal error by the council. The legal error meant the entire process of selecting a contractor for the works had to been done again.

Over a thousand households living in council properties in Haringey were due to have essential repairs to their homes this year and had been informed of this by the council’s housing organisation, Homes for Haringey. However, the Lib Dems have uncovered Homes for Haringey Board papers that show the work to improve council blocks will be cancelled for over 400 households in Bounds Green, Crouch End, Highgate, Stroud Green and Wood Green. In comparison all of the work scheduled for council blocks in Tottenham will go ahead, with some delays.

Opposition councillors are calling for a full explanation and apology for the many local residents who were promised that their homes would be brought up to a decent standard. The Lib Dem opposition are also extremely concerned that so far the council and Homes for Haringey have not said the promised improvement works will be done next year or the year after. It looks likely that the Labour council will drop the delayed plans to repair homes in places like the Hillcrest Estate and the west of the borough entirely.

The list of homes due to be repaired that will now not be improved this year:

  • Hillcrest Estate and Springfield Cottages (Highgate)
  • John Clifford House (Crouch End)
  • Lawson Court, Wiltshire Court, Wall Court, Churchill Court and Connaught Lodge (Stroud Green)
  • Joyce Butler House, Basil Spence House, Nightingale Road, Marlow House, Truro Road and Clarence Road (Bounds Green)
  • Newnham Road (Wood Green).

Lib Dems on the council’s Scrutiny Committee are also demanding a full investigation into the cause of the legal error that caused the problems with the plans for the repairs.

Cllr Richard Wilson Lib Dem Housing spokesperson adds:

“I am livid that Labour has arbitrarily cancelled council home repairs for 400 households in the west of Haringey.  Just 6 months ago the council prioritised work in these blocks, because their roofs and windows are in desperate need of refurbishment. Now, purely due to council incompetence, those residents are to be told the work is completely cancelled, with no promise of when or if it will be rescheduled.

“I am demanding that the council apologises to residents for this unacceptable legal blunder and to reschedule the work for the earliest possible date.  Many of the council flats affected will have damp problems from the dilapidated windows and roofs that need repairing, which is horrible for the tenants and leaseholders living there. The least these residents should expect is a proper explanation of what has happened and why.

“I am also asking for an explanation for why Labour councillors have targeted homes in the west of the borough for cancellation.  It should not matter to the council if you live in Tottenham or Highgate – council homes should be selected for improvement on need not because of politics or geography.”

Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green said:

“I am stunned at the way this issue has been handled by Homes for Haringey. The failure in the tendering process is simply not good enough and I have asked for an urgent meeting to find out what has gone wrong.

“There does not appear to have been any consultation with residents over the decision and I have already been contacted by constituents dismayed that they haven’t been formally notified that the work on their property has been cancelled. Once again the Labour-run Council has bungled the process of communicating with local residents.

“I have already sent an email asking some tough questions of the Homes for Haringey Chief Executive, including when we can all expect work to re-commence. I will make sure that residents are kept updated on the response I receive.”

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