Posts

Love amongst the Leaders: Councillors Clare Coghill and Simon Blackburn

For the past few months, Labour members in Waltham Forest have been agog about the evolving private life of their supremo, Cllr. Clare Coghill. Now Cllr. Coghill has set the record straight, posting that she is happily embarked upon a relationship with the Leader of Blackpool Council, Simon Blackburn. People of goodwill from across the political spectrum will no doubt join this blog in wishing the couple well. Nevertheless, the story is not without its entertainments. Three pieces of background information are essential. Cllr. Blackburn, most appropriately, is an ardent fan of Blackburn Rovers football club. Near neighbours Blackpool and Blackburn football clubs are bitter rivals. And one de... »

Fire safety in Waltham Forest: Cabinet portfolio holder for housing, Cllr. Louise Mitchell, responds but fails to convince

Following on from this blog’s earlier post about fire risks at LBWF’s Goddarts House in Walthamstow, the East London & West Essex Guardian has published a related story, which includes a response from Cllr. Louise Mitchell, Cabinet portfolio member for housing: www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/17824818.man-handed-eviction-notice-raising-fire-safety-concerns-council/ Much of what Cllr. Mitchell tells the paper consists of predictable platitudes about putting residents first, etc., but she also makes more specific points which seemingly are aimed at disarming her and the council’s critics. First, she observes that the annual Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) of council housing facilit... »

LBWF and fire safety in its housing stock: Goddarts House sheltered housing in Walthamstow, a new low which shames the council

Following on from recent discussion of fire hazards in LBWF housing provision, this post presents a further case study, which is certainly the most disturbing yet. Goddarts House in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, is sheltered accommodation and consists of 27 flats, with the ‘occupancy types’ officially described as ‘Elderly, Hearing Impairment, Mental Health, Sight Impairment, [and] Wheelchair Users’. Unsurprising, as the body legally responsible for Goddarts, LBWF has always classed the property as ‘high risk’, which means it ‘must’ be fire risk assessed at least once a year. Given these circumstances, many people will probably assume that fire safety at Goddarts is and always has been exemplary.... »

LBWF and customer service: ‘I wouldn’t even give this council 1 star’ UPDATED

LBWF likes to project itself as a ‘forward-thinking’ and ‘innovative’ council, listening to the preoccupations of its residents in order to deliver ‘high-quality public services’, and thus improve everyone’s lives. But as this blog periodically points out, projected image and hard reality are often two very different things. A further depressing example of such divergence is the way that LBWF handles customer service. For though the oft repeated official mantra promises openness and responsiveness, many of those who rub up against the Town Hall at close quarters find that these are exactly the qualities which seem to be most lacking. Phones and e-mails are rarely answered, documents ‘l... »

LBWF and fire hazards in its housing stock: the appalling case of Northwood Tower in Walthamstow (3)

Lest there is anybody out there who still thinks that LBWF’s handling of fire risks at Northwood Tower has been commensurate with its boast that ‘The safety of our residents is always our top priority [emphasis added]’, reproduced below are the overall Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) provided by the assessor Ridge and Partners LLP from 2014 to 2018. Nobody, of course, would want to live in a property where there was ‘significant potential for serious injury or death’ and ‘improvements should be undertaken urgently’ (as in 2017 and 2018), but most people would baulk, too, at the prospect of living in a property where ‘essential action must be made ... »

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