Hackney IWCA has opposed transfers of Council housing to private landlords or housing associations on the grounds that – among other things – at least with the Council you know if you don’t like what they’re doing with your housing you can vote to get rid of them. Evidence from all over the country also suggests that rents go up when housing is transferred to profit making landlords and services like estate cleaning and caretaking are the first to be cut to satisfy the demands of business to make money. Marcon Court appears to be another estate the Council are looking to get rid of. Janine Booth, Chair of the TRA explains below and invites people to support the tenants and residents on the estate.
Marcon Court is a Council estate of 81 flats in central Hackney. It has not been refurbished for two decades and is in a poor state of repair.
Hackney Council – after several broken promises to refurbish the estate – is now putting us through a ‘pilot’ process, which will determine whether to refurbish the estate or to transfer it to a new landlord to be demolished and rebuilt.
Our Tenants’ & Residents’ Association wants refurbishment not privatisation. Through bitter experience, we can not be confident that Hackney Council shares our view or has residents’ interests at heart. We suspect that there is an agenda for Marcon Court to be the next in line for the building of costly private housing at the expense of public provision, located as it is near Hackney Downs station – commuter route to the City – and Hackney’s ‘cultural quarter’.
Our TRA is negotiating with the Council on behalf of residents. We know that we will also need a powerful campaign to win for residents, and that this will be most effective if we link up with our allies in the wider community and working-class movement.
So we are holding an open campaign forum, to learn from others’ experiences, to better understand what is happening, to rally support and to generate ideas:
MONDAY 12 MAY 7.30pm
ASPLAND & MARCON COMMUNITY HALL
corner of AMHURST ROAD and MARCON PLACE.
Hackney Council leaves estates to rot! One week after the bin strike and Haggerston estates are left full of rubbish
Wenlock Barn TRA chair and Hackney Independent member, Tony Butler comments on the latest news about attempts to gentrify the area.
It is not the fault of Shoreditch council tenants that our homes ‘have been allowed to be run down to the condition where they are now deemed worthless’. Over the years, our rents have been paid only to be mismanaged by Hackney Council in whatever scurrilous means it has allowed it’s self. I wonder if any councillor’s homes are up for the draconian affects of demolition. These people are the very apologists who put us in this situation and laud up the value of such schemes as it means they do not have to take responsibility for council housing and pray, if it ever comes to it, that they will escape surcharging for the incompetent way it has managed our affairs. P.S. Which Housing Association is Hackney Labour M.P. Brian Sedgemore chair of?
The Wenlock Barn Estate 4 years ago made it plain to the council that we did not want Stock Transfer and caused them to back down when the overwhelming majority signed a petition to reject stock transfer and stay council tenants. Our insistence on this has not changed we do not view our homes as been decrepit or our social lives as impoverished. Yes, there are problems with our homes but using social engineering as a mechanism to destable our values is not going to work. We know what we are worth and what we want. We have paid for the maintenance of our homes over the years and have the moral right to be acknowledged for this and not used as a tool to encamp essential/key workers (what ever they are?) in to our homes our area.
My block was once referred to as a ‘bad social mix’. Where the consultants got this from, I cannot imagine because I get on with every one in my block. I can only allude this has come from a set of prejudices that have no connection with the culture and value system that has grown up over the 30 years this estate has lived. 1477 properties cannot be wrong.
The spectre of demolition still haunts the minds of every one but the council tenants concerned. We buried it before and we will bury it again.
WENLOCK BARN IS NOT FOR SALE. IS NOT FOR DEMOLITION. IS NOT FOR STOCK TRANSFER. If they do not believe us, let them come and take us on. We are organised, informed and ready. Take note Lord Falconer we know where you are at. You owe us and not the other way round.
Hackney IWCA (Hackney Independent as of summer 2004) member and Chair of Wenlock Barn tenant association, Tony Butler replies to Housing Minister Lord Falconer’s comments that Shoreditch tenants need to be “realistic” as reported in the Guardian on February 14th.
To respond to Lord Faulkers comments “the community need to be realistic” because we choose to have our homes refurbished rather than knocked down – Reported in your article (Flagship scheme under threat) 14 February.
The opposition in Shoreditch to demolition is based on sound reasoning as we know it is backdoor privatisation. No new build homes in Hackney have been council homes. Redeveloped estates Hackney never have the same amount of social homes as before demolition and tenant returnee rates have been abysmally low.
The fact is there is a homeless crisis in Hackney and London. Temporary decantees from demolition in Shoreditch are unlikely ever to return as the Council’s policy is to house those who are the destitute and most vulnerable as an absolute priority. Holly Street is the classic and typical example. Lauded by the PM and in Re-gen circles. 3000 homes demolished 2000 home new build, 800 RSL’s homes, and the rest open market sales. A report commissioned by London Borough of Hackney acknowledges only 1 in 10 tenants returned.
The change in the economic profile of the new residents in Holly Street has been celebrated as an added bonus. New Build, New people, and hey presto! The Government & Hackney has solved the social problems of poverty, deprivation. Simply by dispersing it. We don’t fancy being replaced with anyone including those middle income KEY WORKERS.
We know that talk of ‘Tenure diversification’ of working class areas is all the rage Re-gen circles. Its funny how they never talk about merits of Tenure diversification in Surbiton, Barnes, Hampstead, Buckinghamshire, the Home Counties or any other up market areas where they live. The bottom line is that gentrification/social cleansing is pushing working people out of inner London through the combination of Government/Local Authority housing polices and good old market forces.
Most people in Shoreditch know that they will never be able to afford, or be eligible for the Shiny new homes on offer after demolition; all we want is for our existing homes to be renewed.
That is being realist Lord Faulkner
Wenlock Tenants and Residents Association
Roger Tayor of JSS Pinnacle paints a glossy picture of how the company could secure more work for its profit-driven ventures (Inside Housing June 15). The reality of its existing operations in the Shoreditch Neighbourhood in Hackney is more prosaic. Despite being in the area for over two years, it has failed to significantly improve the performance of Shoreditch neighbourhood (judging by the published key performance indicators) in relation to the rest of the housing management service.
Readers need no reminding that Hackney Council provides the most expensive service which is substantially below par, so JSS Pinnacle does not realy have to try very hard to do better.
In addition, it allegedly managed to overspend its repairs budget by around £600,000. The council, without consulting other residents, decided to generously allow JSS Pinnacle to pay back that deby over two years. This year, again without specifically consulting residents (the item was hidden in a turgid committee report), the council agreed to wipe the slate clean, as it would take too long to pay back and damage Shoreditch tenants’ interests.
This is an interesting point. When JSS Pinnacle make profits, the company gets to keep its ‘return’ on capital, they are not spread round the borough. When it allegedly overspends, the council spreads the losses over the HRA [the name of the budget for day-to day spending oncouncil housing]. Is it possible to know what JSS Pinnacle really makes on its Hackney operation? My advice to others is don’t touch them with a bargepole.
John Calderon. Chair, Dalston Neighbourhood Panel.
Tenant leader and the Chair of the former Hackney Tenants Federation (FOHTRA) takes the fight into the house journal of the housing professionals, Inside Housing, 6 July
The meeting was organised by Hoxton & Haggerston Fightback to enable TRAs to come together and discuss proposals for a public enquiry into the council’s financial incompetence and their insistence that it should be the working class of the borough who once again bail them out.
Fred from Whiston & Goldsmith TRA put the case for a public enquiry, while Noreen from St Mary’s and Anna Maria from Kingsland TRA insisted that tenants had to resist the council’s ‘logic’ that we should all pay more to receive less.
A motion proposing a rent freeze (ie that tenants should withhold the rent increase) was put and agreed in principle. TRAs will discuss the proposals and report back on 12 March to discuss what can be done. Hackney Independent also supports the call for a public enquiry and a rent freeze. If there is widespread agreement for it on our estates we will be involved in the campaign.