Latest Activity

ian Dowsett posted a discussion

Weekly estate bulletin - 22 October 2021

Please find attached this weeks' estate bulletin.See More
Oct 22
A blog post by Paul Lincoln was featured

Imagine Golden Lane at Net Zero

Imagine a Golden Lane Estate that was going to achieve Carbon Net Zero. Imagine a place that was green, resilient to climate change and committed to recycling, waste reduction and conservation of energy. Imagine a place with lots of trees, new planting, and a real commitment to encouraging biodiversity.The City of London launched its Climate Action Plan last year. Over the past six months a number of open-air events have taken place bringing residents together to look at ideas for improving Golden Lane Estate. Discussions have looked at: • Energy and waste • Working together • Communications • Working with the City • Ideas for greening the EstateAn interactive map has been created which lists all of the ideas discussed to date.On Saturday 16th October a…See More
Oct 19
Paul Lincoln posted a blog post

Imagine Golden Lane at Net Zero

Imagine a Golden Lane Estate that was going to achieve Carbon Net Zero. Imagine a place that was green, resilient to climate change and committed to recycling, waste reduction and conservation of energy. Imagine a place with lots of trees, new planting, and a real commitment to encouraging biodiversity.The City of London launched its Climate Action Plan last year. Over the past six months a number of open-air events have taken place bringing residents together to look at ideas for improving Golden Lane Estate. Discussions have looked at: • Energy and waste • Working together • Communications • Working with the City • Ideas for greening the EstateAn interactive map has been created which lists all of the ideas discussed to date.On Saturday 16th October a…See More
Oct 19
Ian Dowsett posted a discussion

Major projects update -September 2021

Please find attached the major projects update for September 2021See More
Oct 19

Forum

HEALTH & WELLBEING

116 discussions

ESTATE OFFICE ANNOUNCEMENTS

597 discussions

GENERAL COMMENTS & QUERIES

1318 discussions

MAJOR WORKS & PROJECTS

116 discussions

COLPAI

Site of former Richard Cloudesley School

168 discussions

BERNARD MORGAN HOUSE

16 discussions

COMMUNITY CENTRE

17 discussions

ITEMS FOR SALE OR RECYCLE

215 discussions

@GoldenLaneEC1

Text Box

Facebook

There are four Golden Lane Estate related facebook accounts and you can follow them here: goldenlaneEC1 

Golden Lane Estate / RCS site 

Save Bernard Morgan House

City of London

CITY OF LONDON CORPORATION FAILS ITS RESIDENTS

CITY OF LONDON CORPORATION FAILS ITS RESIDENTS

I've called on the City of London Corporation to use some of its £2.6 billion quasi-public “City's Cash" to fund an acceleration of the renovation of its social housing estates, which - due to decades of neglect - are in poor condition.

My call has been rejected by the leadership. The Corporation is happy to spend what is needed to put up new non-residential buildings within a short time frame, but refuses to spend what is needed to complete the renovation of its social housing estates within a similar time frame, or indeed any time frame: the works proceed at a glacial pace, often delayed and uncoordinated, and with no end date in sight.

I reproduce below the text of my email to the Corporation’s Chair of Policy explaining the situation, comment on her reply, and ask questions about a photograph taken last month.

EMAIL SENT BY ME TO THE CITY OF LONDON COURT OF COMMON COUNCIL ON 6 JULY 2021 (addressed to the Chair of Policy and copied to all members)

Dear Policy Chair,

During the last month, I have called on the Policy and Resources Committee to take urgent action on a matter that blights the Corporation’s reputation and many of its residents’ lives.

For decades, the Corporation has neglected the maintenance of its own social housing estates. When I gave the Chair of Policy a tour of Golden Lane Estate four years ago, I believe you were shocked to see its poor condition. When I gave Keith Bottomley, Vice Chair of Policy, a tour of the estate last month, he had a similar reaction. Any member can go to the estate to see for themselves peeling paint on the buildings and railings, patched and leaking roofs and rotten window frames. The buildings bear the insignia of the “Corporation of London”, a name which the City of London Corporation hasn’t used for the last 15 years. The shame of the neglect is compounded by the fact that this estate is grade II and II* listed and part of the City’s rich heritage.

A programme of renovation works is being undertaken on the estate, but during the last few years it has achieved relatively little in the context of all there is to do. Promises made to residents have not been kept. Covid cannot be used as an excuse, because the programme was slipping before the pandemic began, and the Corporation anyway proceeded with construction work during the lockdowns on a new project only a few metres away from the windows of the existing estate buildings. While the renovation programme continues at its current glacial pace, the condition of the unrenovated parts of the estate continues to deteriorate, causing costs to escalate. The lives of the residents, most of whom have no other homes, are continually disrupted by the slow and sometimes unco-ordinated works.

The residents on social housing estates owned by the Corporation outside the Square Mile face a similar problem.  

The cause of this problem is a lack of resource. It is not realistic to expect a relatively small team of officers to reverse decades of neglect on several estates within a reasonably short time frame as well as dealing with their day to day running. Following the Grenfell fire disaster, the emphasis moved to fire safety, and another raft of projects had to be added to the major works programme but with no additional funding or resources. What is needed to renovate the estates within a reasonable timescale is funding for additional resources. What is spent will be less than the cost resulting from the delays inherent in the current programme.

We are told that financial prudence is required within the Corporation, hence the "fundamental review” and TOMS. But the inability to recruit staff within the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) to cope with the expanded major works programme has not been financially prudent. It has also had a cost for the quality of life of many of those living on the Corporation’s estates. 

The Corporation is undertaking a major new project consisting of building new courts, a police station and an office block off Fleet Street. We can be sure it is not entrusting this project to a few officers to deal with on top of their existing duties, but is employing a range of professionals to ensure that the project is delivered on time and on budget.

If the Corporation can afford to put up large new buildings within a relatively short time frame, why can’t it do the same for its existing buildings where its residents live? The answer is a lack of political will, but that is not an excuse.

There is no doubt that the Corporation - which is by far the wealthiest body in the country to exercise local authority functions - can afford to renovate its relatively few social housing estates in a similar timescale to its large new building project. The HRA has limited funds. The obvious solution is for the Corporation to use City’s Cash, its quasi-public fund, to supplement the HRA.

There is precedent for this: the Corporation has set aside up to £50 million from City’s Cash to provide Covid recovery support to small businesses in the Square Mile, who have not historically suffered from the Corporation’s neglect in the same way as residents. It’s already clear that only a fraction of that £50 million will actually be spent for the benefit of small businesses, even with the extension of the application deadline to the end of this month. That will leave a lot that could be applied to funding the resource needed to renovate all the social housing estates within a reasonably short, rather than indefinite, timescale. 

The committee with the power to take this decision is the Policy and Resources Committee, hence my addressing this email to you.

Unfortunately, my call has so far been met with a series of evasions. Attempts have been made to minimise the problem, although its existence is literally visible. A report will be coming to the Community and Children’s Services Committee this Friday (9 July) which catalogues what renovation has been done, but omits how much has not been done and when it will be completed. Reasons are found for constantly slipping timescales. We hear how hard the officers work, but no acknowledgment of the burden placed on them to do so much with so little resource. The Policy and Resources Committee has pushed the problem back to the Community and Children’s Services Committee, which has no access to City’s Cash, and can’t do more than it currently does of in supervising an unsatisfactory cycle of slow progress, more delays and escalating costs.

A particular reason for the Policy and Resources Committee not grasping this nettle of the Corporation’s own making, seems to be sensitivity around using City’s Cash for the benefit of residents. The Corporation includes its residents as “stakeholders”, and wouldn’t have the status of a public authority without them. It has shown no hesitation in using City’s Cash for the benefit of its other “stakeholders”, who include big businesses and, with the recent support scheme, small ones. So why not the residents?

The Chair of Finance described the application of City’s Cash for their benefit as “complicated” - but so are many things, including initiatives in which the Corporation engages for the financial City. On being pressed, he cryptically responded that “we must not compromise the national picture with anything we do”. What does that mean? And why is the “national picture” our concern - isn’t that the government’s role? I asked these questions three weeks ago, but haven’t received a reply.

Could the reason for this apparent reluctance to address the subject be that if the Corporation supplements the HRA out of City’s Cash, it might in future get less government grant? But why should taxpayers’ money be used to subsidise an institution like the Corporation that has money of its own which it could use to bring the condition of its own social housing estates quickly up to a decent standard? 

This matter doesn’t appear on the agenda for the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee this Thursday (8 July). I ask that you propose to the committee that it address the matter.

 

MY COMMENTS ON A REPLY SENT BY THE CHAIR OF POLICY TO ME ON 20 JULY 2021 (and copied to only a few members of the Court and a few of the Corporation's officers, including the PR director) 

The Chair of Policy’s reply was lengthy, but continued to evade all the issues I had raised in my email.

  1. I wrote:

“Unfortunately, my call has so far been met with a series of evasions. Attempts have been made to minimise the problem, although its existence is literally visible. A report will be coming to the Community and Children’s Services Committee this Friday (9 July) which catalogues what renovation has been done, but omits how much has not been done and when it will be completed."

The Policy Chair in her reply described what renovation had been done, but omitted how much had not been done and when it would be completed.

  1. I wrote:

“The Corporation is undertaking a major new project consisting of building new courts, a police station and an office block off Fleet Street. We can be sure it is not entrusting this project to a few officers to deal with on top of their existing duties, but is employing a range of professionals to ensure that the project is delivered on time and on budget … If the Corporation can afford to put up large new buildings within a relatively short time frame, why can’t it do the same for its existing buildings where its residents live?”

The Policy Chair replied:

“The major projects you mentioned are not all-new initiatives as they support areas of work in which the City has been involved for years, replacing out of life facilities for our police, courts, markets and museum. All these existing buildings would need considerable work even if they were not being relocated.”

The point of my question was why is the Corporation spending money on putting up these new functional buildings within a short time frame but not spending money on renovating its residential buildings within a similar frame? If a choice needs to be made (although it does not), why prioritise putting up new buildings where no-one lives over renovating existing buildings that contain peoples’ homes (and in most cases their only homes)?  

  1. I wrote:

“The Corporation includes its residents as ‘stakeholders', and wouldn’t have the status of a public authority without them. It has shown no hesitation in using City’s Cash for the benefit of its other ‘stakeholders', who include big businesses and, with the recent support scheme, small ones. So why not the residents?”

The Policy Chair replied:

"We are conscious of the need to strike a balance in our spending across our various stakeholders. The City Corporation provides extensive services for the benefit of all Londoners, and crucially supports the competitiveness of the UK during challenging times for the global economy.”

The Corporation does not "strike a balance” between its “stakeholders”. It spends large amounts out of “City’s Cash” promoting the financial City, which can easily afford to fund its own promotion. The current condition of its social housing estates is proof of how little it has spent on its residents. The slow and often unco-ordinated programme of renovation, that has no clear end date shows how it continues to underfund work for its residents.   

  1. I wrote:

“The HRA [Housing Revenue Account] has limited funds. The obvious solution is for the Corporation to use City’s Cash, its quasi-public fund, to supplement the HRA. There is precedent for this: the Corporation has set aside up to £50 million from City’s Cash to provide Covid recovery support to small businesses in the Square Mile, who have not historically suffered from the Corporation’s neglect in the same way as residents.”

The Policy Chair replied:

“The City does not subsidise its local authority functions from City Cash; the Covid grant to the Housing Revenue Account in March 2021 was exceptional given the unprecedented situation.”

But why does the Corporation not subsidise its local authority functions from “City's Cash" when it can do so (unlike any other local authority) and has set a precedent by putting aside up to £50 million to support small businesses in the Square Mile?

  1.  I wrote:

“The Chair of Finance described the application of City’s Cash for [residents’] benefit as “complicated” - but so are many things, including initiatives in which the Corporation engages for the financial City. On being pressed, he cryptically responded that “we must not compromise the national picture with anything we do”. What does that mean? And why is the “national picture” our concern - isn’t that the government’s role? I asked these questions three weeks ago, but haven’t received a reply. Could the reason for this apparent reluctance to address the subject be that if the Corporation supplements the HRA out of City’s Cash, it might in future get less government grant? But why should taxpayers’ money be used to subsidise an institution like the Corporation that has money of its own which it could use to bring the condition of its own social housing estates quickly up to a decent standard?” 

The Policy Chair replied:

"The City is not the only authority suffering from the effects of Covid on their HRA and we are building a case to seek central government compensation to HRAs for COVID losses. We must not compromise the national picture with anything we do.”

No other local authority will be “compromised” by the Corporation supplementing its HRA from “City’s Cash” because no other authority has a similar fund from which to supplement its HRA. The rest of my questions remain unanswered.

  1. The Policy Chair wrote:

"In any case City’s cash is running at a deficit at revenue level and is having to draw down on reserves to finance its budgeted activities, so there is no scope for to provide the support you suggest.”

It is disingenuous to suggest that the Corporation can continue to fund the promotion of the financial City but not find the money to renovate its social housing estates. Why not reduce its "budgeted activities” in other areas that it has not historically neglected? Alternatively, why not solve the alleged “asset rich, cash poor” state of “City’s Cash" by selling some of its many assets.

  1. The Policy Chair wrote:

“It is important that the City Corporation plays its role in delivering high quality affordable housing in the City and neighbouring boroughs. As part of this, the City Corporation has embarked on an ambitious new housing development programme that is expected to deliver up to 3,700 new homes on sites across London by 2025.”

The reply does not mention that a few years ago the Corporation sold a housing block for key workers on Golden Lane Estate to a private developer, which demolished it and built an oversized block of luxury flats. It also does not mention that the Corporation previously set a target that it failed to meet it. Even if the Corporation does this time meet its target, how is that relevant to renovating its existing housing stock, which it has let fall into such disrepair?

  1. The Policy Chair wrote:

"Housing shortages and high costs are a threat to the capital’s competitiveness and the ability of the City, and London businesses, to attract and retain the workforce it needs. Therefore, it is important that the City Corporation plays its role in delivering high quality affordable housing in the City and neighbouring boroughs.”

Aside from the points just made that the Corporation has in recent times not done much about developing new housing stock and that this project is, in any case, irrelevant to the renovation of its existing stock, the words just quoted reveal how the Corporation seems to think of homes only in terms of supporting the City’s workforce. People with no connection to the financial City have always lived in the Square Mile, and still do. Many of our older residents have spent over 50 years living on the estate. There is a long-standing prejudice within the Corporation that residents are a nuisance and get in the way of it promoting the financial City. But the Corporation would not have the status of a public authority without residents. Perhaps a solution for residents to consider is that the Corporation ceases to be a public authority.  

  1. The Policy Chair wrote:

“With an overall satisfaction level among residents of 97% over the last 12 months, we are heartened that residents are pleased with the service we are providing and the present levels of investment in our housing.”

That claim is as incredible as it is false. Living on Golden Lane Estate, I know what residents think, and it isn’t that. Barbican residents have different issues, but the summer of discontent shows they do not have a high “satisfaction level” either.

A PHOTOGRAPH THAT RAISES QUESTIONS

 

A resident sent me this photograph taken on 26 August showing the Policy Chair, Deputy Chair, Chair of the Housing Sub-Committee and two officers in discussion in the middle of Golden Lane Estate.

The photograph raises the following questions:

  • Why was I not invited to join them? As the only member of the Court of Common Council who lives on the estate, I know it better than any of them.

 

  • Are they visiting each of the other estates owned by the Corporation? When I first called for an acceleration of the renovation of the Corporation’s estates, I made clear that this was for all of them, not just Golden Lane.  

 

 

The Policy Chair’s reply gave no indication that any action would be taken to accelerate the renovation. What, then, were those in the photograph discussing? Is a PR campaign being planned to show how much the Corporation has done on Golden Lane Estate and how “our residents are very important to us”? Spin won’t work: residents live with the truth. It will be another freezing, damp winter for many. It’s time the Corporation faced the fact that it is failing its residents, and that this matter will not go away until it spends a small part of its vast wealth on accelerating the outstanding work.

 

Views: 682

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of goldenlaneestate.org to add comments!

Join goldenlaneestate.org

Comment by David Graves (your Alderman) on September 17, 2021 at 19:04

Paul, I'm surprised that referring to an audience caused you such upset. By "audience" I mean those who follow this site and the conversations/discussions which happen here. I expect that most of these are residents, but not necessarily only residents. I do know that you live locally Paul, so I don't need to be reminded about the Golden Lane resident-focus of this site. However, just in case anyone else thought as you do I am glad to have the chance to correct the record. By "audience" I mean those who take time to look in here in the same way that those who watch the BBC or listen to the radio are an "audience". We are speaking to a wider group of people. Also, I was not objecting to campaigning as such, but for example, if you wanted an unbiased view on the merits (or otherwise) of HS2, would you ask the anti-HS2 campaign for a briefing and simply accept uncritically all that it says? And not even consider whether there is another view to consider before coming to a balanced view having considered both sides of the argument? On Sue's points. I have said what I have said, so won't repeat them, and in life it is not always possible to impose one view on everyone else. That's why Paul and I am debating and why there is an audience out there (I assume mostly Golden Lane residents) reading what we write. 

Comment by Paul Lincoln on September 14, 2021 at 6:47

David Graves makes a fascinating comment in his reply to Sue Pearson:

'However, I realise that there is an audience on Golden Lane for the "campaigning" style of some people, and I tend to find that those deeply committed to campaigning will feel obliged to see matters and to process facts only from the perspective that suits their campaign.'

We are not an audience, we live here.

We pay the community charge, rent and service charges. We are residents, both tenants and leaseholders and we are voters.

We elect members to represent the interests of the estate and of Cripplegate ward generally. It is a source of massive concern that our right to vote has been cancelled without any justification. London wide elections for the Mayor and Assembly took place in May without any problems.

Campaigning is a good thing.

If a local authority fails in its duties, if something is broken or if there is an injustice that is not addressed, campaigning to change this is not only legitimate but absolutely essential.

This is about the accountability of public servants. It is astonishing for residents who are Cripplegate voters to be referred to as an audience.

Sue Pearson had made a wide-ranging analysis of the many ways in which Golden Lane Estate has not been maintained. It is a source of great concern that our only Alderman is unable to understand the validity of these arguments.

We are keen to engage in dialogue and yet our Alderman has chosen not to stand for election despite coming to the end of his term of office. 

We are keen to discuss the work of the City of London and yet our Alderman has not convened a residents' meeting or a Wardmote for the whole period of the pandemic despite the fact that Zoom meetings have been shown to increase accessibility and public participation especially for those unable to leave their homes. This is now overdue and essential.

It is also worth remembering that the City was due to meet the requirements of the Decent Homes Standards which cover kitchens, bathrooms, windows and insulation.

The deadline for this was 2010.

Comment by Fred Rodgers on September 13, 2021 at 18:22

Mary Durcan details the works in the pipeline that David Graves’ “campaigners” are quite rightly demanding be done sooner rather than later. Both of them throw around figures that CoL is spending in GLE but both of them ignore the fact that nearly 50% of this cost will be charged back to leaseholders, whether successfully or not.

However, David Graves is correct that there is a resources problem but this was caused by the fundamental spending review before the delays caused by the Target - not “Tomorrow’s” - Operating Model - as he alleges. But even with CoL’s unique attitude to time, these resources should have been put in place long before the FSR and certainly decades before the costly distractions of the Centre for Music and Culture Mile. However, as Great Arthur House has shown, it’s not just resources but attention to contract detail and financial controls that were in short supply. But as everyone knows, City residents are an inconvenience and “those living in council houses are never grateful for what we do for them, so, are we bothered?”

Mary Durcan mentions 11 other CoL HRA estates across London, one being Middlesex Street Estate, but claiming that:

All of our estates have staff and offices on site. I think we are the only local authority in London to have retained these (and one of the few in the country). Most tenants in other areas have to travel to a central office. We think this is an important service to provide.

might be open to challenge. Searching for Hubert Jones House - a CoL HRA block near City Hall, completed a few tears ago - on Google Maps only brings up its estate office in Pakeman House, Pocock Street. Other HRA estates are also served remotely, particularly Southbank. Mary also refers to GLE Community Centre - which residents saved for the community - and the two new flats in Great Arthur House but neglects to mention her enthusiasm for the aborted move of the estate office into the Centre. 

As far as CoLPAI is concerned, one lesson from the Grenfell tragedy should be not to build tower blocks with a single staircase. However, of course, the scheme went ahead without that lesson being learned.

Comment by Mark Bostock on September 13, 2021 at 12:44
Before Mary Durcan posted her comment on this blog, she sent an email to the other councillors in Cripplegate ward detailing what renovation work had already been done. I replied saying she was missing the point of Sue’s blog, which was not about what had been done, but what had not yet been done, and how long it was taking to do it.

 

I mentioned that while “we can’t change the past”, the long neglect of the estates couldn’t be dismissed while the Corporation was claiming it needed "to strike a balance in our spending across our various stakeholders”. From my perspective, it hasn’t struck that balance in the past as regards residents on its estates, hence the need for so much renovation work now. This past imbalance could be corrected by the work being funded and completed within at least the same kind of time frame as the Corporation’s major new projects.

 

I asked whether she agreed that "City’s Cash" should be used to correct the imbalance by funding the acceleration of the estate renovation work, which is what Sue Pearson is calling for.

 

I also asked whether she seriously believed that 97% of residents were satisfied with the Corporation, as claimed by the Policy Chair. In my experience it’s more like the other way round.

 

She replied to say she could only repeat her comments, and repeated what had been spent on Golden Lane so far.
I pointed out that this spending had never been in dispute, so it took the matter nowhere. This was also not just about Golden Lane, as Sue keeps emphasising.
None of Mary's comments address the points I had put to her.    
Mark Bostock
Councillor, Cripplegate Ward
Comment by JoJo on September 13, 2021 at 10:57

Rather feel that Mary Durcan is understating matters by saying CoL estates 'were' neglected for several years when have been neglected for several decades would be more accurate. Why is it taking so long to replace leaking windows that should have been replaced 15 or 20 years ago? GLE residents also care about all other estates and particularly our sister City estate Middlesex Street so perhaps we could have some details about them - and a reasonably accurate time frame for the outstanding works, as well as an explanation as to why they haven't been done already.

Comment by Mary Durcan on September 12, 2021 at 16:26

I very much agree that Golden Lane and our other 11 housing estates across London were neglected for several years but that was well before my time. We can’t change the past so let’s concentrate on the future.

I’m proud to represent Cripplegate ward on the City Corporation. I wouldn’t be a Common Councillor if I didn’t think there were things needing improvement but let’s also acknowledge the positive things that have happened.

Golden Lane is our second largest estate with almost 50% of its properties sold under Right To Buy.

So what has the City of London Corporation done to improve things since 2017 when I was elected. I hope these facts and figures will allow you to make a fair assessment of the City’s works.

The Major Works Programme has a budget of £75 million. In addition some works were carried out by the City Surveyors. £39.5 million is earmarked for Golden Lane.

We’ve already spent £15 million on:

  • renewal of curtain walling on Great Arthur House

  • refurbishment of passenger lifts across the estate

  • heating upgrades across the estate

  • remedial concrete works across the estate

  • electrical upgrades across the estate

  • renewal of concrete balustrades on Cullum Welch

  • replacement of kitchens and bathrooms across the estate

There remains £24.5 million for Golden Lane Major Works:

  • replacement of windows on Crescent House

  • replacement of all other windows across the estate

  • replacement of front entrance doors across the estate

  • replacement of roof coverings across the estate

  • installation of sprinklers in Gt Arthur

  • a communal heating system in Crescent House and Cullum Welch House

In addition we have totally refurbished the Community Centre (£1.3 million) and provided a new children’s playground (£300,000)

We have also spent £3.9 million on repairs from 2017 – 21 (20% of the budget) including redecorating and installation of energy saving lighting.

Since the terrible Grenfell fire tragedy we have checked all of our properties for cladding and improved fire safety measures. We continue with that work.

All of our estates have staff and offices on site. I think we are the only local authority in London to have retained these (and one of the few in the country). Most tenants in other areas have to travel to a central office. We think this is an important service to provide.

In addition to improving and maintaining our estates we are also committed to providing additional housing. The COLPAI development is well on the way to completion and we now have planning approval for a new development at Sydenham Hill in Lewisham. At York Way in Islington we are progressing the plans for additional social housing.

On Golden Lane we are in the process of converting the ground floor of Gt Arthur into two much needed flats adapted for those with mobility issues.

Of course there have been delays. We all regret that things have not moved faster. Listed buildings have their special needs and not being able to get into properties during COVID held up some works but I think we can be proud of our record and my aim as Chair of Housing Management is to continue providing and maintaining homes of a high standard of which we can all be proud. I welcome your support.

Mary Durcan

Common Councillor Cripplegate Ward

Chairman of Housing Management and Almshouses Sub Committee

Comment by David Graves (your Alderman) on September 8, 2021 at 16:02

However tempting it might be to simply say yes to a lengthy post which features a critique of a range of responses from the City Corporation's Chair of Policy & Resources (some would say the equivalent of the Leader of the Council) that isn't my style. 

If the gist of the "complaint" is that the City Corporation is claiming to have no money for repairs and related works while sitting on hundreds of millions of pounds in assets which it could use to fund necessary works, I think this misunderstands the position. 
Over £75 million has been budgeted for spending up to 2025 for works to Golden Lane and the City's other housing estates within the Housing Revenue Account. Of this nearly £40 million is for the Golden Lane Estate. So as I see it, the issue is not that the City is claiming to have empty pockets. 
As I see it, the problem is in the human resource to progress the projects as quickly as one would like. The problem there is the hiring freeze that was imposed as a consequence of our project to improve efficience and delivery - known as "Tomorrow's Operating Model" or "TOM" for short. That project has in my view adversely affected the ability of the Housing team to recruit for the progression of the works already planned and lined up for implementation. Releasing City's Cash is in my view a red herring here. 
I have lobbied the Chair of the Establishment Committee and the Chief Officer of our HR team about this to get that log-jam sorted out. I believe this has had some effect to enable Officers to access the additional human resource they need to get the works done - or at least moving forward more expeditiously. In my personal opinion, making an issue about use or non-use of City's cash is a diversion away from what is really needed if you want to see faster progress. It might offer a good slogan that will suit some people but I really don't think it helps at the practical level. 
I have seen a long list of works that have been done recently including during the covid period which has not helped in moving things forward. However, I realise that there is an audience on Golden Lane for the "campaigning" style of some people, and I tend to find that those deeply committed to campaigning will feel obliged to see matters and to process facts only from the perspective that suits their campaign. I wouldn't expect to get an objective view from a campaigner regarding the issue their campaign is pursuing, but it does offer a valuable perspective which I appreciate.
Comment by William Pimlott on September 8, 2021 at 15:17

I support Sue completely - thank you for this detailed post.

Comment by David Henderson on September 6, 2021 at 22:46
The claimed satisfaction rates with service provided do not reflect the experience or feelings of most on the estate. Based on what sample size?
Comment by Jacqueline Swanson on September 6, 2021 at 10:35

Thank you, Cllr Pearson and Cllr Bostock.

We have 8 Cripplegate Councillors and an Alderman. I'm very keen to hear from all of them on this issue as many residents of Golden Lane Estate feel badly represented by the people they have entrusted to represent them.

© 2021   Created by Paul Lincoln.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service