Following the gas being switched off on the Ledbury Estate, and the discovery that the towers had been unsafe for many years the Ledbury Action Group requested that Southwark Council call an emergency meeting for residents, to give them answers.
We were told that the Cabinet Member for Housing Stephanie Cryan and the Director of Housing Gerri Scott were both now on annual leave and so could not attend a meeting. We requested an urgent meeting anyway but were told that they did not want to send their deputies and therefore residents would have to wait for them to return from their holidays before they got any answers.
In the meantime, the Ledbury Action Group called another emergency impromptu meeting for residents outside the TRA Hall on Sunday 13th August. The meeting was an opportunity for residents to get together and draw up a list of short and long term demands and assurances that they wanted met by Southwark Council. A further meeting was held for residents by Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations on 17th August to help shape the demands and requests for assurances further.
These are the questions and demands raised by the residents at the meetings were:
Do residents really have to move out during the major works?
How long have the council known about these dangers?. All historical documentation relating to the towers needs to be released immediately
We want the opportunity to be rehoused on secure council tenancies in the local area
How long are residents expected to stay in temporary accommodation?
Will the cost of the higher rent in Housing association properties be met by the council?
We need the option of a right to return to stay open for all tenants who move out into council or housing association properties with our original secure tenancies intact
The housing application procedure needs to be fast tracked for Ledbury residents
Full transparency about the councils long term housing plans for this land
Secure storage at the councils expense must be made available for tenants who wish to return
An emergency buy up of local new builds needs to be arranged to ease the pressure on the council housing waiting list
The council needs to pay for all extra expenses incurred during our temporary moves
Stop charging us rent now!
Immediate interim compensation paid to all residents directly and not into our rent accounts
Reimburse the Peterchurch residents who have been living without gas for a month for their higher fuel costs
A legal commitment to ensure council housing will remain on this land
The resignation of Cllr Cryan
An apology and compensation for the mismanaged forced entry procedure by S.G.N
More information for Leaseholders regarding buy-back, previous surveys, compensation and temporary accommodation costs
Release the A.R.U.P report and all relevant documentation so far
Release all previous surveys and fire safety assessments of the towers
Consider phasing the major works block by block
Council staff must reach out to tenants with mobility issues and keep them fully informed
Following the meeting, many residents marched to the newly built 'Bermondsey Works' luxury flats, just a few minutes walk away to demonstrate that despite Southwark Council saying that there are not enough homes to rehouse residents locally, there ARE empty flats sitting on our doorstep.