The series of pledges were made during a meeting organised by umbrella group West London Citizens and attended by council leader Nick Paget-Brown, housing boss and deputy leader Rock Feilding-Mellen, and Robert Black, chief executive of Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) - the organisation responsible to repairs and the upkeep of the council stock.
The meeting was arranged after West London Citizens - an alliance of communities and institutions such as schools, colleges, religious groups and residents’ associations in the area - carried out a four-month project and published its North Kensington Housing Inquiry Report.
The borough is undergoing large-scale regeneration with many council properties being knocked down and rebuilt.
The report is the culmination of action taken by 15 institutions and community groups in the North Kensington area, and made a series of demands across the spectrum of social housing.
Among the report’s recommendations were:
- For tenants to have a right to return to new property on the same terms and conditions, including rent, services and tax
- Input on the designs of the new builds
- The creation of a residents’ charter which will allow regeneration to take place more swiftly and to benefit residents
- For residents to be decanted locally when not possible to move from their existing property into their new property
- Tackle overcrowding, after tenants reported using living room as bedrooms
- More affordable housing linked to local income
A better service provided by TMO, including feedback loop and the creation of an online platform to improve diagnosis of repairs and communication between tenants and the TMO
The meeting was chaired by Paul O’Shea, St Charles Sixth Form Catholic College principal and chairman of the West London Citizens, and Hear Woman CEO Deqa Salad, and held at Kensington Aldridge Academy on Tuesday (July 7).
Cllrs Paget-Brown and Feilding-Mellen agreed to the recommendations put forward but warned the process of regeneration was long and complicated and would not be straight forward.
TMO chief executive Mr Black also agreed to look at implementing the recommendations of the report and apologised to the “tales of woe” he heard.
Afterwards, the leader told getwestlondon: “I thought it was a very good evening and West London Citizens did a wonderful job of getting a lot of local people to attend.
“This is a chance to rectify the design faults that came about in the 1950s and 1960s. That was not about building neighbourhoods, it was about building housing units.”
His deputy agreed, saying: “I’m very glad West London Citizens had the initiative to set this up. Local residents here have the same concerns that we as an organisation have.
“They want to be more involved in the process and understand the complex issues.”
Mr O’Shea was pleased with the assurances he received from the leaders. He said afterwards: “I thought it was a successful meeting. It was a good example of council decision makers listening to the concerns of local people and being generally responsive of them.
He said it was now up to council to deliver on their words, and said more clarification was need around affordable housing issues, but added: “I think they really want to listen to local residents and listen to West London residents.”