Thursday, 6 November 2014

Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands...

This morning, I went with Cllr Scott Ainslie to visit a resident on the Nuneham Sheltered Housing Estate at the corner of Garrad's Road and Prentis Road.

Her story was all too familiar. She is a vulnerable resident and Lambeth Council and Lambeth Living have let her down with repairs. She was being ignored, treated abysmally, and living in dreadful conditions because of the Council's neglect, and there was no accountability.

Part of the problem was a leaking roof, and after two botched repairs it was still leaking water into her bathroom. Paint was pealing off the ceiling, and more damage was being done every time it rained, which would cost more and more money to fix. A patch of plaster in the ceiling that had been repaired weeks ago, was still wet to the touch.

We arranged to meet the latest contractor who had been appointed to do the job. He arrived and insisted there was nothing wrong with the roof. He said it was just damp under the felt that needed to dry out after the last repair. He suggested waiting a few more weeks for it to dry out. We said there were drips. He said that there weren't any. So we showed him the drips. He said they came from the wet plaster that we had just pushed. And so we went backwards and forwards with no resolution.

Finally he said he would come back when it was raining again.

There was no way we were going to let him leave and "come back when it was raining". This is exactly the same thing that has been happening in Cressingham Gardens in Tulse Hill with the leaks there. Contractors say they can't see a leak and say they will have to come back when it's raining. And then when it rains, they say they can't go on the roof "for health and safety reasons", and so nothing ever gets done.

So Scott climbed on the roof and I passed him up buckets of water. Five buckets later, sure enough, the water began to pour down the walls inside. Finally the contractor was convinced, he agreed to go up on the roof and found he leak. He is booked into repair it tomorrow. It shouldn't be this hard. But sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands to get things done.

But while we were there, we also got rid of some ash trees that were breaking up through her patio at the back, but which Lambeth Council and Lambeth Living said was not their responsibility to clear.

The resident asked us to tell this story.

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