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Council tenant on Parkside Estate responds to leaseholders who wanted major repairs stopped

PUBLISHED: 14:36 06 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:18 06 July 2017

Blocks on the Parkside Estate. Picture: Polly Hancock

Blocks on the Parkside Estate. Picture: Polly Hancock

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A council tenant has spoken out after leaseholders launched a campaign to stop major refurbishment at their South Hackney estate.

Blocks on the Parkside Estate. Picture: Polly Hancock Blocks on the Parkside Estate. Picture: Polly Hancock

The woman, who did not want to be named, has lived on the Parkside Estate for more than a decade, and like others has endured years of damp and mould problems.

But when Hackney Council billed leaseholders eye-watering amounts of between £20,000 and £40,000 for major repairs to fix the problem in January, the homeowners were not happy.

They argued the external wall insulation (EWI) that made up a large chunk of the cost, and was designed to stop damp problems, wasn’t suitable – or safe.

Their fears were brought to the fore following the Grenfell Tower inferno, and work on the cladding has now been postponed by Hackney Council, which is also reviewing the amounts dished out.

But for council tenants, the work was the result of years of pestering the town hall, during which they set up a tenants’ and residents’ association in a bid to have their voices heard.

Since the work was announced though, meetings discussing the work with the council have been tense. “They have been full of disagreements,” the tenant told the Gazette. “We’ve been very outnumbered and they can be patronising. There’s a suggestion the work needs doing because council tenants don’t look after properties and they do.

“We’ve had three independent surveyors come and say external insulation is the way to go.”

The tenant said at one meeting a leaseholder stated: “None of us need new windows because we clean ours”.

One architect leaseholder told the Gazette two weeks ago the best solution was insulating affected flats internally, but the tenant said the council had tried that.

“I had it done because the damp and mould as so severe,” she said. “We were moved out while they did it and now it’s come back, four years later.

The tenant said things are awkward on the estate between the two groups.

“It’s really awful,” she said. “Of course they have been saddled with huge bills but it’s hard when you have been here so long with problems and someone finally says ‘we are going to come and make it better’”.

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