Our Reply To The Deputation Response
We responded to Cllr. Stephanie Cryan's reply to our deputation points. We have not received any official response to this.
1) Who is accountable when Fire Risk Assessment recommendations are not implemented? Do you have any idea of why they failed so drastically at Ledbury? Livingstone’s emergency motion of 12th July states that fire marshals will be ‘fully trained and equipped to perform their roles’ - but a false fire alarm on the night of Friday 14th at Peterchurch House was not handled properly. Residents found that some marshals were not in place. There was no radio communication to raise the alarm from marshals and residents had to run over to the TRA headquarters to do so themselves. Multiple breaches of protocol followed, including marshals seeking to find the source of fire themselves, using the lifts, rather than escalating the matter to LFB and so residents were forced to call out Southwark’s Fire Safety Manager; David Rowson who came down late Friday night to implement the proper procedures and harshly reprimand the staff that were on duty. David Rowson agreed that multiple aspects of protocol were breached on Friday night by the marshals and the night managers - so clearly they have not been fully trained or instructed as promised. What further training will be implemented? 2) Can you conclusively confirm that Southwark are committed to undertaking a major works programme to repair the towers? When will ARUP’s further assessment be completed? Richard Livingstone’s motion mentions a ‘compensation package for disruption and distress’ as well as for redecoration. Additionally, Gerri Scott has yesterday offered residents a payment of £5,800 each to ‘assist with moving costs.’ Can you confirm if Gerri’s payment is meant to also cover the ‘disruption and distress’ that Livingstone mentioned? Or would that be a separate payment? Can you also confirm that all tenants wishing to move will receive cleared payment PRIOR to moving, so that it does indeed cover moving costs, rather than as a reimbursement? (Many residents are stating that they won’t be able to afford the costs to move in the first place, unless a payment is made prior to a moving date.) Are you able to confirm when payments will be made and how each resident will receive them? What further payments can residents who wish to stay expect for redecoration? Are they also entitled to anything for ‘distress and disruption’? Are you aware that the Housing Options Team (now based at the Ledbury TRA hall) are reporting that residents who previously did not wish to move are now incentivised by the offer of the moving payment? 3) No questions arose 4) The 'no leaseholder charges' needs to be more explicit on what constitutes works 'needed.' Not just for ‘safety works’ but actually for any work found to be required now that there are experts in the towers looking at all aspects of problems. I have already suggested to Richard Livingstone and Michael Situ that a 2-year period might be considered whereby leaseholders receive no Section 20 notices or other bills. What other measures are being put in place to protect leaseholders? I.e - against loss on the value of their homes. 5) Can you confirm that whatever to outcome of the investigations/repairs that all residents would have the guaranteed right to return, importantly - on the same tenancy basis and rent rate? Evacuations cannot yet at this stage be completely ruled out, can you confirm that Southwark are taking active steps to increase their property assets in order to clear the waiting list in band one, but also for use in the case of an evacuation. Can Southwark offer of an idea of how long residents wishing to move would be likely waiting in band one? 6) Many residents were alarmed by this response. Can you clarify? Residents understand that you PLAN to do works to keep the towers on site, but if those works are not possible or cost-effective, can you confirm that you would not be selling off any part of the land covering the Ledbury Estate and that it will always remain exclusively for council housing, even in the unlikely event of demolition and rebuilding? 7) Residents welcome an investigation into the historical cracks on the estate and why they weren’t remedied sooner, however, what residents are asking is that Southwark will reassess their entire repairs strategy for the benefit of all council tenants in Southwark. They are calling for a broader overhaul of the entire repairs system - from the first point of call (repairs line/website) to housing officers on the ground, to ensure that multiple reports of similar issues in one area are escalated immediately and additionally, that measures are put in place covering all repairs, a system that requires repairs to be ’signed off’ by tenants upon completion, to ensure satisfaction. Can Southwark commit to that? 8) Whilst residents welcome the drop-in surgery planned, the wording insinuates that this will just be one session. Can you confirm that you and the local councillors are happy to facilitate further surgeries if residents request them? Residents note that Gerri Scott and the councillors also agree to meeting with the TRA Committee - that would indicate that residents would not have the opportunity to ask questions themselves in person, only through the TRA. Can you confirm that residents will be entitled to regular meetings with Fire Safety Officers and other such professionals to address finer aspects of safety as requested? Who are the members of the new Resident Liaison Team? How do residents contact them? 9) No questions arose