Out in the cold in race to be champion
Published: 20 July, 2012
Islington Council proposes a full-scale election to appoint a Tenants’ Champion for the whole of the borough.
However, when challenged on the subject at a meeting last week, the council steadfastly refused to acknowledge that, since leaseholders constitute a third of the borough’s housing, by reserving the post of “champion” exclusively to a tenant, it automatically precludes a third of all council tenants from being elected to this exalted position, regardless of the overall number of votes they might gain in the process.
Surely, the council should realise that, after suffering the devious machinations of Homes for Islington (HfI) over the last seven years, tenants are increasingly aware that this latest proposal is to all intents and purposes simply a mirror image of the former HfI board of directors, including among its ranks, as if to add insult to injury, a number of former HfI board members.
In a petition I recently posted on the web, I suggested that residents should select their own “champion”.
This, I hasten to add, was not intended to be taken literally. What was in fact being proposed was that all housing groups should be allowed to select, from within their membership, suitable representatives to form a scrutiny panel to generally oversee and negotiate with the council on their behalf.
Unfortunately this concept, it would appear, was way too radical for our council to grapple with and the alternative prospect of meaningful tenant control too tempting to pass up.
But we elected them, so whatever happens this must be our fault, of course.
Dr BS Potter
Chairman, Federation of Islington Tenants’ Associations
Chairman, Islington Leaseholders Association