Veteran councillor's council housing wish list
Last year s corresponding fixture also brought controversy with bad feeling between the managers and allegations of spitting by Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas. AS we reach the end of a long and hard year in communities like St Pancras and Somers Town, we n
Last year's corresponding fixture also brought controversy with bad feeling between the managers and allegations of spitting by Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas. AS we reach the end of a long and hard year in communities like St Pancras and Somers Town, we need to make it clear that 2.5 million council tenants across the UK seek from local and national government a promise to update and maintain our council housing; to stop the obscene sale through auctioning council housing stock; to stop privatisation of council housing and other services; to stop the sale of non-housing properties to developers, to stop the crisis we face by the increase in sales to private developers and landlords of our housing stock.
We want a moratorium on all stock transfers and council housing stock sales, more capital funding from national government and reasonable rents.
We need to end the use by local councils like Camden of contractors and an end to the massive service charges inflicted on leaseholders; and we thus need to re-establish the Direct Labour Force employed by the council for capital works, a more efficient alternative judging by the standard of these contractors on some estates in my ward.
We want secure tenancies; we want council housing seen again as a social service as it was when I was elected to the council in 1964. We don't want private landlords taking over our housing stock. We want more accessible housing for all disabled and elderly people and we want more housing to meet the needs of those 17,000-plus people on the current housing waiting list in Camden.
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No more privatisation, no privatisation of our caretakers service; and no sale of council-owned land to private developers/organisations and projects; we have to stop the loss of the land behind the British Library as is planned; we have no real land left for building flats in Camden.
After my many years as a councillor I look around me and despair at the decimation of our housing stock under the auctioneer's hammer. I think of the days when I lived in one room with my mother in Glasgow with private landlords extorting huge rents for a single room and use of a toilet on the landing. I don't think our present Liberal Democrat/Tory controlled council know what it is like to live like that; and why we must always keep our council housing stock and not suck up to the private landlords and property companies.
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I ask all tenants in Camden borough to support their Tenants and Residents Associations in the years ahead.
Cllr Roger Robinson
Opposition Lead on Housing, Camden Council.