‘Listening’ council gives two hours notice of housing workshop

Blocked off: the council’s ‘engagement’ exercise included giving less than 24 hours notice of a workshop in South Norwood

Part-time Mayor Jason Perry’s half-arsed commitment to “listening” to locals was exposed yet again today when the council’s propaganda unit got round to issuing a press release about housing workshops less than two hours before the first session was due to begin.

The council announcement also offered less than a day’s notice of an in-person tenants and leaseholders’ workshop in South Norwood, supposedly aimed at young people aged between 15 and 18. Tomorrow’s event is being staged a short walk from Regina Road, where the appalling state of council flats caused a national scandal last year.

“It’s almost as if they don’t actually want anyone to attend. They don’t actually want to listen to anyone,” one underwhelmed council tenant said today.

Eighteen months on from the television news reports that shocked the nation, the workshops are part of the council’s lackadaisical response to the fall-out from the Regina Road scandal, when council staff and their contractors were accused in a report by independent consultants of having “a lack of care and respect for tenants”.

As Inside Croydon revealed exclusively yesterday, on-going repairs to the flats in Regina Road are failing to meet standards expected for decent homes.

‘Essential’: Part-time Jason Perry might attend some of the housing workshops

Despite Mayor Perry calling the workshop sessions “essential” towards improving the council’s under-fire housing service, publicising the events was clearly low down on the council’s priority list, waiting until the last minute before promoting the events.

The council’s website lists only 12 events between now and September 8, some in-person, some via Zoom, and says that each can accommodate only 15 people at a time. According to the council’s own figures, it has tenants living in 14,000 homes around the borough.

And attendance can only be booked if you have broadband access to the council’s online site.

“It is no secret that Croydon’s housing services are not where they should be, and we have a lot of work to do to put things right,” the application form states with a degree of frankness often missing from other council publications.

“Help us co-create a picture of the future for Croydon housing services by attending a workshop during August and September 2022. The workshops are free but places are limited (max 15 people), so you must book to attend.”

The council says, “The workshops will ask for [tenants and leaseholders’] views about Croydon’s housing services and what changes they want to see. The views and feedback from residents will help the council develop its housing improvement plan.

“There will also be the opportunity for people to feedback on the Residents’ Charter.”

For those who get really unlucky, there’s even a chance that Mayor Perry and the cabinet member for housing, Lynne Hale, might show their faces at one or more sessions. “I look forward to hearing everyone’s views and ideas on how we can improve the service from the residents’ point of view,” the £81,000 per year Mayor said today.

The sessions listed on the council’s application form are…

Tuesday 23 August | Online – Zoom | 2-3.30pm
Wednesday 24 August | Samuel Coleridge Centre, South Norwood SE25 6XX | 10.30am – 7pm (for young people 15-18 years – half hour session only)
Wednesday 24 August | South Norwood Library, Lawrence Road SE25 5AA | 6.30pm-8pm
Thursday 25 August | Main Hall, The Fieldway Centre, Fieldway, New Addington CR0 9AZ | 10.30am – 7pm (for young people 15-18 years – half hour session only)
Thursday 25 August | New Addington Library, 61 Central Parade, New Addington CR0 0JD | 6.30pm-8pm
Thursday 25 August | Longheath Community Centre, Longheath Gardens CR0 7TD | 6.30pm-8pm
Monday 5 September | Old Lodge Lane Baptist Church, Purley CR8 4BQ | 3:30pm-5pm
Tuesday 6 September | Online – Zoom | 6.30pm-8pm
Tuesday 6 September | Addiscombe Boys and Girls Club, 45 Stroud Green Way, Croydon CR0 7BE | 6.30pm-8pm
Wednesday 7 September | Norbury Library, Beatrice Avenue, Norbury SW16 4UW | 6.30pm-8pm
Wednesday 7 September | Shrublands Community Centre, Shrublands Avenue, Croydon CR0 8JA | 6.30pm-8pm
Thursday 8 September | St George’s Church, Barrow Road, Waddon CR0 4EZ | 6.30pm-8pm

  • Inside Croydon wants to hear from council tenants who apply to attend these sessions. What was your experiences? Did you get into a workshop, or not? How easy or difficult was it for you to access the application process for the workshops? At the workshop, were you given time to speak about your views? How were your comments noted? Email us at inside.croydon@btinternet.com

Read more: This is the stark human cost of the borough going bankrupt
Read more: Investigation finds systemic failure and incompetence in council
Read more: Council’s flats scandal caused by ‘complete corporate failure’

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About insidecroydon

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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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