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.