Money could be raided from homes budget for satellite tv

Haringey Council s corporate logo originally symbolised the radiating signals from the first regular public television broadcasts in 1936, from the first TV mast at the now much-neglected Alexandra Palace. Today, for council leaseholders, the zigzag logo

Haringey Council's corporate logo originally symbolised the radiating signals from the first regular public television broadcasts in 1936, from the first TV mast at the now much-neglected Alexandra Palace. Today, for council leaseholders, the zigzag logo has come to represent electric sparks and high-voltage shock.

I was surprised to read of the extortionate demands the council is making on leaseholders in blocks of flats for communal TV aerials that are often unwanted.

The demands look so inflated and so irregular that leaseholders could be forgiven for wondering if facilitating inducements were made to ensure the council bought the most expensive digital system.

When Haringey contracts with the private sector, there is normally one winner and one loser: the private sector runs rings round the local council and the loser is the residents. And an arrogant council refuses to admit any mistake.


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The individual who authorised this fiasco tried to justify the 1,100-channel system in a recent full council meeting. We were told the council 'consulted' a Quango (Digital UK) so everything was okay. But were leaseholders consulted? He looked out of his depth, saying he has not heard any complaints about installation. But it appears he has not listened to any complaints at all.

Haringey's favoured 'future-proof' digital system is likely to be out of date in under 10 years when fibre-optic cable comes to front doors. And their satellite system has about 1,000 more channels than most people need.

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The charges are unreasonable and an abuse of the council's position as freeholder. It looks more like a neighbourhood protection racket than the action of a council with residents' best interests at heart.

Council tenants who are not being punished in this way directly will nonetheless suffer because the platinum-plated service is so costly overall that in order to help pay for it, it appears at least �8.6m will be raided from a separate budget set aside for Decent Homes Refurbishment.

Is this another example of Haringey playing fast and loose with public funds? What does the government think about management that sees funds allocated for one purpose - essential bathroom & kitchen repairs - being used for an unrelated purpose?

Clive Carter

Stapleton Hall Road, N4

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