Half of Camden tenants don’t ‘feel safe at home’ according to housing survey

The Crowndale Centre in Mornington Crescent. Picture: David Howard (Flickr, CC by SA 2.0)

The Crowndale Centre in Mornington Crescent. Picture: David Howard (Flickr, CC by SA 2.0) - Credit: Archant

Only half of Camden Council tenants "feel safe at home" according to the results of a survey of residents conducted by the town hall last year.

The figure was revealed in a report presented to its Housing Scrutiny Committee on Monday night, provoking concern from councillors.

Residents cited a variety of reasons for this, including fire safety worries, fears of antisocial behaviour and drug dealing in blocks and security concerns.

In the survey, answered by more than 10pc of council tenants - 3,500 people - 12pc answered they did not know if they felt safe, and 38pc said they did. A "concerning" 64pc said they did not know how they would report a safety concern.

Cllr Steve Adams (Con, Belsize) said the report was worrying. "I am still concerned that just over 50 per cent feel unsafe," he said.

"And the concern is that 15pc of people felt issues with building maintenance made them feel unsafe doesn't gel with some of the other statistics but it chimes with me."

In response, a council officer said that although some of the responses were concerning, "we've had some really good comments back" and it was important to take the figures in combination with "qualitative responses" about residents' concerns.

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At the same meeting Cllr Meric Apak, the town hall's housing chief, also delivered his annual report, paying tribute to "officers through the ranks" who had helped improve satisfaction with repairs and cut telephone waiting times from up to an hour to a couple of minutes.

He also said: "My vision has been to fundamentally change the way we work in order to better understand our tenants and leaseholders."

Cllr Apak however admitted the online facility for reporting repair issues in council homes wasn't good enough. He told the committee: "In all honesty the online service is not fit for purpose and that's what we are looking at here, we are looking at improving that."

Cllr Leo Cassarani (Lab, Swiss Cottage) asked: "Is there a plan or can we request the result of these focus groups to come before this committee? You mention one per cent as the take-up for online reporting. That clearly needs to improve."