Morningside Estate: Where lifts don't work, doors don't lock and repairs aren't done
PUBLISHED: 10:09 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:09 30 May 2018
Security doors that don't lock, lifts that don't work and repairs that don't happen. That's what people living on the Morningside Estate in South Hackney get for their money.
The huge estate off Morning Lane is run by housing association Sanctuary, but the vast array of issues means it is anything but for the hundreds of families living there.
Young mothers and elderly neighbours have been left to help each other up and down staircases with shopping or pushchairs, while many of the blocks are now used for dealing drugs thanks to the absence of any security.
The problems have been going on for years, while homes are being rented for as much as £1,700 for a two-bed flat.
Now, having gone on a presumably eye-opening walk around the estate with fed-up tenants, Sanctuary has announced plans to bring forward major investment – although the project to install new door entry systems and lifts won’t finish until April next year.
Homerton’s three ward councillors, who have been speaking to tenants for months, have now written to Sanctuary chiefs to tell them they will be keeping an eye on what happens.
Mother-of-four Buki Adesanya lives in Cresset House, a five-storey block where the door-entry system was removed six months ago and the prospect of both lifts working at any one time is nothing more than a pipe dream.
“It’s an absolute joke,” she told the Gazette. “One of the lifts has completely broken and the other has gone now too. The last time it worked was two weeks ago. Since then a poor man had to go to hospital and his family had to carry him down from the top floor. It’s mainly young families and elderly people in here.
“There’s wires hanging out the door. Now we’ve got people coming in smoking weed in the block because the doors don’t lock.
“Sanctuary have shown a complete lack of care, and we are left feeling ignored and powerless, but our service charge is still going up.”
Buki said other blocks are worse. Recently the estate’s tenants’ and residents’ association compiled a list of all the problems in each block. It’s as long as your arm.
Ribstone House’s door entry system hasn’t worked for four years. A new system was installed in February last year but doesn’t work, though tenants say they are being billed for it. The communal bins are locked, fly-tipping is an issue and so is drug dealing and smoking.
Fieldwick House’s lift does work but doesn’t go to the ground floor, there’s a reported pigeon infestation and the bins there are also locked.
Rowe House has no lifts or entry systems, no lights in the communial areas and problems with fly-tipping and drug dealing.
Thomas House also has fly-tipping and problems with the lifts, as well as a leak in the shared area.
Cllrs Rob Chapman, Anna Lynch and Guy Nicholson said in their email to Sanctuary that it had become “very clear” the estate was in “dire need of a significant amount of maintenance and that estate-wide management was inconsistent”.
Regarding the promised investment, they called on Sanctuary to provide a timetable for the works, adding: “I am sure you would agree this investment is not before time.
“The majority of the lifts don’t work and have not done so for many months, door entry systems don’t work including in the new build properties, and in most cases the emergency door release locks do not work.
“Anti social behaviour of one description or another is present around the estate and the reactive repairs service is inadequate and does not provide a consistent and effective service to residents.
“We acknowledge there is now a recognition within Sanctuary that works need to be brought forward to rectify these long standing issues as a matter of urgency and residents have been assured by representatives of Sanctuary investment is forthcoming.”
John Hanson, Sanctuary’s head of housing, said: “We are working closely with the Morningside Residents’ Association and can reassure local residents that we are committed to making sustained improvements on the estate.
“We have undertaken full block inspections across the estate with residents and identified work that will be carried out.
“As part of a major re-investment plan for the estate, we will be replacing a number of lifts and all the door entry systems by April 2019.”