When you hear Labour Councillor Nicola Taylor say at a public meeting that she knows of
forced to live in
a house with no roof you would be forgiven for thinking “Come off it Nicola
even Bexley Council is not that uncaring” but you would be wrong and thinking
back a bit you realise it should not really come as all that much of a surprise.
I have been reporting on the house which has been progressively destroyed by L&Q for four whole years and no one at Bexley Council has taken a blind bit of notice.
Exactly a month ago one of Bexley’s housing bods told me that “the [housing] rot in Bexley has truly set in” and asked “does Bexley Council care about the homeless?”
The answer must be a resounding “No”.
The budget cut housing posts by 17 when the demand was rising. Is Bexley’s Cabinet mad? The answer has to be a resounding “Yes”. It can’t be incompetence, even a numbskull cabinet must be able to see that cutting jobs is not going to help. Doesn’t that make them callous and inhuman?
In August last year a list of houses was published here that were all bought on the same day. Some believed that Bexley Council was behind the £10 million shopping spree.
42 Coleman Road, Belvedere, DA17 5AN, £450,000
41 Coleman Road, Belvedere, DA17 5AW, £450,000
8 Claytonville Terrace, Belvedere, DA17 6AQ, £450,000
169 Halcot Avenue, Bexleyheath, DA6 7QA, £573,333
82 Halcot Avenue, Bexleyheath, DA6 7QD, £573,333
83 West Street, Erith, DA8 1AG, £450,000
1 Winifred Road, Erith, DA8 1AJ, £450,000
16 Winifred Road, Erith, DA8 1AJ, £450,000
37 Alexandra Road, Erith, DA8 2AX, £450,000
12 The Nursery, Erith, DA8 2EZ, £450,000
300 Bexley Road, Erith, DA8 3HB, £450,000
153 Birling Road, Erith, DA8 3HR, £573,333
140 Birling Road, Erith, DA8 3HS, £573,333
18 Halstead Road, Erith, DA8 3HX, £573,336
10 Elmstead Road, Erith, DA8 3JA, £573,333
12 Stelling Road, Erith, DA8 3JH, £573,333
8 South Road, Erith, DA8 3RA, £450,000
22 South Road, Erith, DA8 3RA, £450,000
97 Lensbury Way, London, SE2 9TA, £573,333
The house currently in the spotlight must be a different one because it was purchased for £301,500 and the owner presumably went laughing all the way to the bank, the most expensive sale in the road by a margin of around £50k.
An amazing price for a house that was found to have dry rot and a chimney stack which could fall down at any moment on to the unsuspecting lady and her children moved into it by Bexley Council. Maybe they should employ her as a surveyor because she spotted the problem which the Council didn’t - or maybe did but didn’t care as alleged by the housing officer mentioned earlier.
It is not yet clear how long the lady was forced to live
in a roofless house but Councillor Taylor negotiated her removal by last Saturday.
Unlike Newham Council (the only other Council I know a little about) which allows three rejections of “suitable” property, Bexley Council in its own inimitable way only allows the one. Say no and you buy a tent.
To ask what the hell was Bexley Council playing at is not really doing the horror justice but I have asked the Cabinet Member if there are any excuses. All I have so far is that “it is not quite as it seems”. Maybe, but I don’t think many would go along with the lady’s children wrecked the place as if it was a John Lewis insurance advert.
Councillor Sue Gower cannot possibly be held directly responsible for what appears to be another Bexley housing fiasco because she was elevated to her Cabinet post only five months ago. However she has a good record of answering questions from the public. If she answers my enquiry it will be the first time any Cabinet Member has contributed to this blog. Will she feel able to break with tradition?
There are more and bigger pictures in the Photo Features pages.