Fransoy Hewitt asks Councillors: "It’s just ongoing and when does it stop?"
A mum who had to live with rampant mould and leaks in her council flat with her two young boys has accused councillors of “not giving a s***”.
Fransoy Hewitt and other residents in a tower block on Regina Road in South Norwood in London had been complaining to their landlord, Croydon Council, since October 2019.
After 18 months of neglect, an ITV News investigation exposing the squalor tenants were staying in finally led to offers of new homes.
But Ms Hewitt, speaking at a Croydon council meeting, addressed leader Hamida Ali and said none of the tenants “trust anyone in the council”.
In an emotional speech, she added: “It’s like you guys put them in homes and said you might as well go commit suicide.
“Because we don’t really give a s***, because we’ve done our job already, we’ve housed you, we’ve put a roof over your head and that’s it.
“We’ve put the files in the archives and that’s that, and you move on to the next person and you do the same thing to the next person, and the next person, and the next person…
“It’s just ongoing and when does it stop?”
A damning, independent report into the failings of Croydon council earlier in May found they put the health of residents at risk through a lack of competence and care.
Its housing department operated with “a poor operating culture with a lack of care and respect for tenants” resulting in accommodation in terrible conditions.
Council leader Ali, responding to Ms Hewitt, said: “It stops now as far we’re concerned and I hope you can hear from cabinet colleagues here and from what we’ve said and the resolve that we have to change this, because we absolutely agree that this has not been acceptable.”
She added she is “really keen to meet with residents of Regina Road” and that she has already met a “handful” two weeks ago.
See the appalling and dangerous conditions some people in a tower block in Croydon have been forced to live in for months
“You and other council residents should be the judges about whether we are making a difference,” she told Ms Hewitt.
“Because your expressions – passionately and eloquently – about the lack of care that you’ve experienced from us is something that we all abhor here.”
Earlier in May, a spokesperson for the council said: “We were very concerned to learn of these issues at these properties, and the photographs we have seen show conditions that are clearly not acceptable.
“We are sorry that these residents have not had the level of care for their homes that they rightly expect, and we will be looking into what has happened as a matter of urgency.”