CROYDON IN CRISIS: ‘Do not insult us any longer’ say residents after Hamida Ali breaks her promises to hold an ‘urgent’ meeting and to publish a report from investigation into the ‘appalling’ disrepair of South Norwood flats. EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES
A whole month since ITV News reported on the appalling state of some council flats in Croydon, and Hamida Ali, the leader of the Labour-controlled council, has still not had the meeting she promised with the South Norwood residents forced to live in such squalid conditions.
Described as “the worst housing conditions ever seen” by a senior official of a housing charity, the leaks, damp and mould affect dozens of council flats in three separate blocks on Regina Road. Residents say that they had submitted countless requests, going back months, even years, to the council and its contractors for repairs – to no useful effect.
Yet in an email sent by Councillor Ali, and seen by Inside Croydon, the council leader has now asked the residents for a list of the affected flats – despite Croydon Council having spent at least £16,000 on two expert consultants to conduct an “urgent” investigation into how the borough-owned properties had managed to deteriorate into such a bad state.
The report arising from the work of those £800 per day (each!) consultants has still not been made public, despite Ali’s solemn promise in a prepared statement to a House of Commons select committee to “share those findings as soon as we have them”.
Senior council figures suggest that Ali has failed to meet with the affected residents because council officials “have not managed to find a time in her diary”.
The residents of Regina Road – who already felt neglected and abandoned, after months of sending complaints about the state of disrepair of their homes – are becoming increasingly angry with their Labour council over what they see as repeated broken promises.
“Hamida Ali told ITV, and she told MPs in parliament, that we were her top priority and that she would meet us and get things fixed,” one resident told Inside Croydon today.
“She’s had plenty of time to take selfies with other politicians who want our votes and broadcast them all over Twitter, yet after a whole month and she still hasn’t managed to find the time in her busy diary to speak to us.
“Clearly, that’s how low a priority that families, many with young children, or our elders with health problems because of the mouldy conditions, are for Hamida Ali.”
Today, the Regina Road Residents’ Supporters Group sent another email to Ali. In effect, it is a final warning.
The email says, “We are writing to you once more, this time to inform you that the letter sent to you on Tuesday 15th April has had no response from you or your officers with a firm date for the urgent meeting we have requested.
“This is just another example of how little importance our concerns hold, and how you fail to acknowledge the appalling conditions we are forced to live in.”
The residents have offered Councillor Ali three dates and times for a meeting which, they warn, “which will be on our terms”.
They say, “We no longer wish to wait for you to decide when you feel you can spare a few minutes to speak with us.
“Do not insult us any longer.”
Read more: ‘Your staff make us feel less than human’
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Read more: ‘Is it because the council don’t care? Where is their humanity?’
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