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Morland Mews tenants feel they are being railroaded

30 July, 2019

• IN response to Barnsbury Housing Association chief Susan French (Existing Morland Mews tenants will get ‘first dibs’ on new flats, July 19), Morland Mews was built 51 years ago as social housing and an exceptional community has developed.

Past housing managers brought about positive change WITH the tenants and not TO THEM; hence a strong and cohesive community of good neighbours.

If as Susan French states that “half of the flats on Morland Mews are now home to just one person” I feel the inadequate build of six dark, small, units in garages will not meet the purpose she plans in offering to half – calculated at 77 – of the existing tenants. Moreover BHA has excellent homes for older people at Highbury View Ronalds Road which can provide good quality housing for those residents wanting to downsize.

Morland Mews residents are categorically saying they do not want to move into dark, cramped, garage conversions; they also say that bringing in six more families into a high-density housing area will be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of all tenants.

To railroad a community into accepting something that they strongly object to disempowers and disregards those who contribute to making  a good community that models neighbourliness, equality and self esteem.

Ms French states that the six garage flats will be at genuinely affordable rents but does not state just how much this rent is set at! What she may consider affordable and what someone living on low income in London today considers affordable I am sure will be greatly different.

How it will be possible for existing tenants to remain living in their homes while some 30 to 33 small garages are structurally changed?

She is correct that only a few of the garages are now used for cars, as their design does not cater for the wider modern vehicle – however mobility scooters, prams and buggies, shopping trolleys, bikes and scooters along with personal belongings are kept in these much-needed storage spaces.

The practice of BHA over several years of not renting out but keeping to themselves these resources has been to the tenants’ detriment.

I am pleased Ms French says BHA has a good relation­ship with tenants or rather “our tenants”! I would disagree. Most tenants on Morland Mews feel their views are being ignored and their homes and lifestyles being disregarded.

And as for: “We are determined to do our bit as a high-quality, low-cost housing service for Islington” a precious and exceptional flagship community is being browbeaten away.

I believe those who make the decisions that affect the lives of others should live in their shoes before they start implementing their own agendas. How about a 12-month home swap for tenants and management?

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