Residents’ group pledges to keep up the fight for decent homes

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Three months after a TV news report shocked the nation, tenants in South Norwood council flats say they are still being let down by the council

The residents’ group that was set up in South Norwood as the state of their mould-infested and flooded council flats was revealed and prompted a national scandal now has a formal organisation, agreed at their latest meeting.

Taking action: Regina Road residents say that they will be keeping the pressure on the council

But the Regina Road Residents’ Support Group is still waiting for its first in-person meeting with Hamida Ali, which the council leader promised when the appalling conditions in the Croydon Council flats were exposed on national television nearly three months ago.

According to one of the residents, “Now that the group is official we plan to continue putting pressure on Croydon Council and national government to keep to their promises and legal obligations and sort out the appalling living conditions in all three blocks.”

What has been described as “a flurry of activity at the blocks”, from both council officials and staff from Axis, the council’s repairs contractor, over the last two weeks. “We are yet to see whether this manifests into action or is just more empty gestures,” the resident said.

There is widespread and justifiable cynicism among the residents about the council’s belated efforts to put right faults and repairs that in some cases have been the subject of complaints for four years, as was confirmed in an independent report commissioned from the Ark consultancy. Another report, from the government’s Social Housing Regulator, deemed the condition of the Croydon flats to be slum-like.

Longer-term residents recall how, more than 20 years ago, the council even then was considering demolishing the blocks, built by Waites in the 1960s, because of ever-rising maintenance bills.

Young mother Fransoy Hewitt being interviewed by ITV News about the state of her Regina Road council flat

Rebecca Williams, a member of the newly-formed residents’ group, told Inside Croydon, “They are going to try and fix the problems that are not fixable.

“They are sending out their sticking plasters and ticking their boxes. Everyone is getting false hope from them, but give it a month and they will be gone again.

“We want better for people here, for people across England. On the back of the Ark report alone, something needs to change. We need legislation that protects people from being treated this way.

“Hamida Ali told us that the council should act as a second guardian for our children, but the children are being failed and left to suffer in these flats and likely in the other similar council blocks across the borough.”

Read more: ‘None of the tenants in Croydon trust anybody in the council’
Read more: ‘Your staff make us feel less than human’
Read more: Ali accused of cover-up over findings on council flats scandal
Read more: Croydon shamed over ‘dangerous squalor’ in council flats

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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