Resident Michelle on the ‘psychological warfare’ involved in her ongoing battle to stay on Marlowe Road Estate…
I can’t be the only Waltham Forest Council resident that scoffs at any correspondence from them that lands of my doorstep.
Endless residents’ surveys claiming to want to understand what communities think. A consultation about this, that or the other pretending to give local people a voice and an opportunity to influence important planning and policy decisions. Or the yearly revised rent and council tax bills that wreck your day by telling you how much less you will have to live on each month.
Most residents know that councils sometimes have a statutory requirement to consult their residents, but aren’t bound by the results. Sure, get upset over a proposed local library closure or redevelopment and break your BIC scribbling down your replies. Watch them go ahead anyway.
With that train of thought, I shot an angry stare at last month’s letter from the council’s rehousing manager in housing supply headed: ‘Important notice about your housing application: We need information from you by 24th January 2021 or your application may be cancelled.’
For the third (or is it the fourth?) time, I have received correspondence addressed to me personally as if I am a new applicant on the council’s housing register. And not an existing resident of over 25 years being forced out of my home by their redevelopment of the Marlowe Road Estate. I find it tiresome. Why the need to go over the same ground?
This time around, I thought I’d run a few questions past the council’s press office to see if I was missing something. They did not respond by my deadline for this column (nor prior to publication in print).
I’m still being left in limbo about when I might be expected to move off the estate. In last month’s printed column, I told you that the council performed a remarkable volte-face having first informed me last year that the date of demolition was probably going to be delayed for 18 months because of revised plans by estate developers Countryside, they then denied ever saying it this year.
An unplanned conversation with one of my neighbours on a temporary tenancy spun the whole cycle of misinformation around once more. Having telephoned the council to report a pest infestation and water penetration in her property from the external roof, she was advised that residents were going to be moved from the estate this September. I’m told the update was delivered in a way that left her feeling as though she should tolerate the contractual breaches. Like all the temporary tenants I engage with, they fear making any reports about the condition of their properties for fear of an eviction. That’s no way to live your life.
When questioned, the regeneration officer who changed her story, claimed the information I had been passed was ‘incorrect’. Residents in my block do not have to be moved out by September this year. Notably, the officer neglected to provide an actual date for the move. Attempts to obtain an update from Countryside also fell flat. The psychological warfare continues.
For more of Michelle’s column about Marlowe Road Estate, head here.