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Tenants angry after housing association takes away trampoline - but leaves scaffolding up for over a year

PUBLISHED: 17:10 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:10 18 July 2018

Children from O'Neill House on Cochrane St, St John's Wood with their trampoline that was dismantled by Octavia. Isaac Lang (8), Kairon Henry (5) and Maisie Meere (8). Picture: Polly Hancock

Children from O'Neill House on Cochrane St, St John's Wood with their trampoline that was dismantled by Octavia. Isaac Lang (8), Kairon Henry (5) and Maisie Meere (8). Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Housing association tenants in St John’s Wood are furious after landlords banned a communal trampoline on health and safery grounds but left scaffolding up for over a year.

Children from O'Neill House on Cochrane St NW8 are back to climbing on the scaffolding since their trampoline was dismantled by Octavia. From left Paddy Meere (12), Isaac Lang (8) and Maisie Meere (8).  Picture: Polly HancockChildren from O'Neill House on Cochrane St NW8 are back to climbing on the scaffolding since their trampoline was dismantled by Octavia. From left Paddy Meere (12), Isaac Lang (8) and Maisie Meere (8). Picture: Polly Hancock

The trampoline had been jointly purchased by residents of O’Neill House on Cochrane Street, which is part of Octavia Housing Association, for their children to play on.

Tenant Sarah Powell said: “We’re fuming. We all pooled money for the trampoline. If that’s a health and safety hazard, surely the scaffolding is. That’s what they’re playing on now.”

Sarah lives in O’Neill House with her partner Dave Sarre and her eight-year old son.

Dave told the Wood&Vale: “I don’t get why they haven’t made a long-term fix. The general disrepair has even begun to turn us against one another.”

Meanwhile tenants are also upset by the property’s condition and Octavia’s attitude towards complaints.

One, who has lived in O’Neill House since the early 1990s, wished to remain anonymous but said: “They see us as a cash cow. I’ve had a whole slew of complaints. It has been what we feared would happen in 2001 when they took over St Marylebone housing association.

“They’ve allowed the building to fall into a state of disrepair.”

A spokeswoman for Octavia Housing told this newspaper: “The trampoline was in a communal area and you have to be careful as we would be liable. The scaffolding has been fitted with coverings and foam to make it safer.”

According to Octavia, the work on the balconies has been delayed as residents complained to ask for particular wooden sash windows to be fitted.

The spokeswoman added: “During the course of planned works, a structural issue with balconies was identified. The scaffolding remains in place so we can repair the balconies. The balconies have been assessed and we have gathered quotes for the work.

“The funding for the repairs is due to be agreed in the next few weeks. We have written to residents explaining this and assuring them that action is being taken.”

Octavia Housing was formed after Octavia Hill housing merged with the historic St Marylebone housing association which was founded by Cicely Davies - a great friend of the Queen Mother, who opened O’Neill House in 1953.

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