This week’s Tenants and residents panel meeting (27th Sept)

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A massive turnout of three Bevin Court residents (Julia, Sue and me) attended this meeting, where residents can discuss their concerns with our housing managers from the Council. Here’s a summary of what was discussed that’s relevant to Bevin Court:

 

  1. Reorganisation of Estate Services

– The council is abolishing the quality assurance officer role. Now all repairs, communal area issues dealt with by a single point of contact – the new role of an Estate Co-ordinator. This will hopefully make the role more accountable as we will be able to see if Estate co-ordinator is doing his or her job properly. All the new Estate service co-ordinators will have to apply for this new job, and anyone promoted into it will be monitored to see that they are competent before they are given it permanantly. This job does not include tenancy management. Plan to have this implemented by start of next financial year in April.

2. Flats used exclusively for Air BnB rental on the estate.

  • The council claim there is little they can do about the rise of Air BnB rental flats across the borough’s estates. We at the TRA (And other TRA’s around Islington) think they need to try harder; Camden for example has a far more assertive approach to housing being converted into effectively hotels. We wish to strongly resist the use of dwellings in Islington for sole use as Air BnB flats for two main reasons: 1. This reduces the stock of available homes during a the worst housing crisis since World War Two, and 2. It creates significant disruption to residents here.
  • I’d like to discuss further campaigning on this issue at the next TRA committee meeting. I think we should also partner with other TRAs to kick the council into action.

3. (Stopping) taking the piss. After some public urination by person or persons unknown on one of the Bevin Court stairways, Julia Barclay researched urine repellent paint. The council have now agreed to trial this anti-piss paint at Bevin Court. Anyone antisocial enough to carry on peeing on our estate should fill their bladder and pray for mercy – if everything works according to plan then the paint’s special finish will spray the urine straight back all over the dastardly urinator and their clothes!

4. Mice – We have asked for the council to implement a block wide programme of pest control. They (the council not the mice) are moving on this at their usual stately pace! Meanwhile for a more immediate solution there are many cats desperately in need of a home: http://www.northlondon.cats.org.uk

5. Satellite dishes – there are a lot of unauthorised dishes on the roof at Bevin Court. It is not allowed to put them there without permission, permission which would also require planning consent as this is a Grade 2* listed building. Its likely that the installation of the dishes may also have damaged the waterproofing of our relatively new and highly expensive new roof. The council don’t see dealing with the dishes as a priority. What do residents think? If there’s a body of opinion one way or the other we can campaign on this issue.

Get in touch if you want to discuss any of these issues

Tom

Flat 13

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AGM meeting 21 9 16

We held a meeting this evening at Margery Street but were not fully quorate – legal language meaning we didn’t hit a threshold of 15 voters attending to make the meeting representative of all residents.

This was because though enough residents came to the meeting, council rules prevented some of them from voting.

Islington Council insists that private tenants in the block are not eligible to stand or vote in these meetings. It also says that residents living together in one dwelling can only have one vote.

We strongly oppose these rules and have decided as a group to fight to have them changed. It is outrageous that private tenants, already denied the security of long term tenure, should not be able to have a say in where they live. The idea that voting rights are allocated by property not by residency is simply not democratic. What if a cohabiting couple disagree on how to vote? Does Islington suggest one partner’s view should take precedence? In an age where housing policy from both national and local government insists that population densities in London should rise, it is inevitable that greater numbers of people will have to share flats. And with central government actively killing off council housing, it is also clear that  more and more residents will rent privately. Unless the rules are changed more and more residents living on estates in Islington will be denied fair representation. We will fight to have these rules changed to make them fair.

We meanwhile agreed to have a new AGM in around 6 weeks time. Tom Cordell was elected chair in the interim (6 votes to 4, with one spoilt ballot paper. Julia Barclay was the other candidate) . We thank Julia for her determined work on behalf of Bevin Court as the previous chair.

We’d also like to thank Val Barnes of LB Islington for chairing our meeting and for all her efforts supporting our TRA through its challenging first year.