LAMBETH UNDER FIRE 3: “LOCAL COUNCILLOR REFUSED TO REPRESENT US OVER ESTATE DEMOLITION” – CRESSINGHAM RESIDENT  “We found £127,000 worth of repairs that clearly hadn’t been done”

A local councillor refused to represent residents on Cressingham Gardens opposing the demolition of their homes, the meeting heard.

“When I asked her why she said ‘I just can’t’,” Cressingham campaigner Tom Keene told the meeting.

Mr Keene, a programmer, said they had found it difficult to obtain information around repairs data surveys to the estate.

“The council would take months and months to access information. “We had to learn how local authorities work, how FOI (Freedom of Information) requests work. “It’s important you find someone who knows about finance, someone who knows how to talk to the people on the estate.”

He said that in 2012-13 there were large winds that caused damage across the estate. “We’re still trying to get some of the damage repaired.”

“It wasn’t the Green party who started this. “Local councillors refused to represent us. “There were 70 – 80 people at one meeting. “Almost every single person in that room except one or two doesn’t want demolition. “We want support from our representatives.

“The councillor said ‘I can’t support you’. “When I asked why she said ‘I just can’t’. “That’s not representation. “That’s angered me. “It’s upsetting and overwhelming.”

So Mr Keene went off and got funding for a Ph.D – and started looking at housing regeneration databases.

Their estate was the only one in Lambeth that had to have a ward councillor (Labour) as its chair.

“Residents have been telling me what to do. “I’m a complete amateur at this and we’ve built a database of housing repairs on Creessingham.

“We found £127,000 of repairs that clearly hadn’t been done. “I walked round the estate with a Lambeth council surveyor. “He agreed with me. “The ward councillors ignored it.

“I wrote letters to the head of housing and council leader Lib Peck. “They were ignored.”I sent her a spreadsheet of repairs that haven’t been done.  “I’m still waiting on a response.

Mr Keene said it now looked as though some of these repairs are disappearing off Lambeth databases. (Mr Keane told News From Crystal Palace today Monday “We’ve been trying to get repairs information Lambeth and each time we have made a request we have received different information, including a difference in the number of supposedly paid invoices each year. “We are still investigating this and as of yet have not received a satisfactory response from Lambeth.”)

Helpful officers were stopped from communicating with People’s Audit members.

“That’s not a sign of a healthy democracy and what do you get in response? “Smears in the media or online. “It’s the same story in Central Hill estate (Crystal Palace). “It’s the same story in other estates.”

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