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.
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.
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’
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