Hollow words leave estate residents feeling neglected
01 February, 2019
• ON Tuesday evening residents on Highbury Quadrant estate attended a meeting organised by their wonderful tenants’ and residents’ association (TRA). On the agenda of this long and well-planned meeting was an update about the ongoing major works programme.
Unfortunately, no one from the council turned up – neither liaison officer Richard Berwick nor other council representatives (only one had a serious reason because of bereavement leave). Neither did officers from contractor Breyer. Some cancelled on a short time notice – two, three hours before the meeting.
In contrast, residents defied a rainy evening and cancelled other appointments because they were hoping to get an update from their council representatives. They felt neglected because no officials had the courtesy to turn up.
To our council officials: It’s not about hiding and hoping things will go away. It’s about explaining the situation and listening to residents’ concerns. Liaison means building a positive relationship with residents, not turning their back on the problems.
And a word to the behaviour of Islington’s executive member for housing and development, Diarmaid Ward: residents want to see leadership, which means action and not hollow phrases written week by week.
An example is what Councillor Ward wrote on May 4, 2018, in the Tribune: “I have been working with residents of Highbury Quadrant estate to ensure the concerns they have are fully investigated and any necessary works are carried out.
“I completely understand the frustration that some residents feel, and I want to thank them for their understanding and for the positive ongoing discussions we are having to resolve any problems.”
All hollow words. Neither is he working with residents on the estate, nor are there any positive ongoing discussions.
None of the things he promised has happened, despite residents trying hard to get him on board, and copying him in on every conversation about things that have failed on the estate. (Unless he is thinking that discussions with his two fellow Labour councillors living on the estate count as residents’ talks?)
It’s time for officials to show responsibility and turn up at the next TRA meeting on Highbury Quadrant estate.