Residents at Southern Housing flat blocks in Margate told homes will be shut down and then “demolished”

Residents, including Lucy (second from right), have received letters today to say the buildings will be demolished

Exclusive

Southern Housing has told residents in two Margate blocks they must move out by May next year due to structural issues and the company will then demolish their homes.

The formal process to end tenancies for those living in Weymouth House and Stratford House in Eaton Place will begin in the new year due, says Southern Housing, to the ‘significant structural repairs’ that are needed.

The landlord says all tenants of the 78 flat site must be out by May 2024.

Stratford House has 36 one and two-bed flats that are rented as social housing. It is expected that Southern Housing will rehome these residents.

However, Weymouth House, which has 42 one and two-bed flats, is market rental and Southern Housing will not be relocating these residents to new properties.

Lucy Potter has been at her flat in Weymouth House for some seven years after a change in circumstances meant she could not longer afford to live in Canterbury.

Photo Frank Leppard

She says tenants have been trying to get answers about the structural issues for many months.

The 52-year-old said: “Rumours have been flying around for months that the buildings have subsidence and are leaning and there are definitely a lot of cracks and movement in Stratford House.

“Balconies have been condemned for three years plus, windows are falling out, the car park flooding, fire doors have dropped and are now not meeting fire regulations.

“When some of the tenants asked the men inspecting the door what the problem was, they said it’s because of the subsidence. However, Southern Housing have said there is no subsidence and the building is not leaning.”

Lucy says there is now a waking watch at the blocks since the fire alarm buttons were removed and there are properties which have remained empty since last year. In March some flats were flooded and tenants were moved to hotels until insurance work was carried out but Lucy says work appears to have stopped.

She added: “We have been trying to get straight answers from Southern Housing for a long time now, sending emails and making phone calls, however they have been very reluctant to give us much information.

“We felt we had no choice but to contact MP Sir Roger Gale to see if he was able to assist us. Since he contacted them we have started to get snippets of information however it’s all very “on a need to know basis ” and they really don’t seem to think we need to know.”

The mum-of-three, who works as a soft furnishings maker, says the stress has been so bad that she has started to suffer from hair loss.

She added: “We just want to be informed and not treated like idiots, we are paying our rent and we have rights as tenants.

“Southern Housing is meant to be a non-profit charitable organisation ..this is not very charitable to say the least.”

In communication with the housing group North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale said the company proposals had “caused considerable alarm and concern among residents” and he asked “what provision Southern Housing will be making to ensure that all of those currently housed in potentially defective properties will be rehomed.”

The Isle of Thanet News contacted Southern Housing and was told: “We are due to speak to our residents about the future of Eaton Place and it would be inappropriate to publicly share details about any decision before we’ve spoken to them.”

However, just hours after sending that response today (November 24), residents at Weymouth and Stratford houses received letters telling them a decision had been made to close down both blocks and eventually demolish them.

The buildings on the boundary of Dreamland have been standing for less than a decade.

The letter to residents in Weymouth House says: “We have been carefully considering the future of Weymouth House and Stratford House. You’ll be aware there are significant structural repairs needed to both blocks.

“We’ve now made the difficult decision to close both blocks for safety reasons. This means we’ll start moving residents out of their home and end existing tenancies.”

The letter adds: “The formal process to end tenancies will start early in the new year.”

Southern Housing says it will help people to look for new homes but tells Weymouth House residents that their tenancies are the same as a private landlord agreement and “we simply don’t have enough homes to rehouse everyone that will need to move.”

Southern Housing says it has met with Thanet council which has advised tenants who need help to register via Kent Homechoice. But, the letter adds: “However, there is a long wait for social housing in Thanet. Therefore Thanet council encourages you to actively look for your own housing solutions.”

Photo Frank Leppard

Southern Housing says that issues with the blocks are “complex and wide-ranging” and “repairing the blocks has been deemed an unsuitable option.”

The housing group says: “Our plan is to demolish the vacant blocks. We are looking at a range of options for the site but we don’t intend to replace these homes.”

Residents of Stratford House, whose properties are let as social housing, have been told: “We are already looking at our existing available homes in Margate and the Thanet area and we will shortly start the process of matching residents to homes based on housing need and making formal offers.

“We don’t have enough available homes to rehouse everyone straight away so  it may take time.”

Stratford House residents qualify for £8,100 for home loss and disturbance payment for expenses incurred during moving, including disconnection and reconnection of appliances, redirecting mail, replacement curtains/blinds and school uniforms if youngster have to change school.

Weymouth tenants have been told they will be helped by having their deposit released when they find new accommodation, a landlord reference being provided, an offer to keep white goods within the flat and moving expenses provided of up to £1000.

Lucy said the letter has come “as no shock” and queried whether the land would be sold to the next door amusement park. She added: “We apparently are allowed to keep the white goods, lucky us, they are nearly 10 years old.”

An updated statement from Southern Housing, received on November 27, said: “Following the advice of fire engineers, we’ve been carefully considering the future of Stratford House and Weymouth House. We’ve taken the time to thoroughly investigate both blocks, looking at all the options for its long term future.

“There are significant structural and fire safety repairs needed to both blocks and we’ve made the difficult decision to close these buildings for safety reasons. The costs and technical complexity of repairs needed made these buildings unviable. This means we’ll start moving residents out of their home and ending existing tenancies.

“Our number one priority remains keeping our residents safe in their home. We’ll continue to maintain interim fire safety measures to ensure their safety. However, this is not sustainable in the long-term and is one of the reasons why we’ve reached our decision.

“We know moving home under these circumstances is rarely easy, but we’ll be doing all we can to support our residents. We’ve a dedicated team who are reaching out to help them through this process.”

Cllr Helen Whitehead, Cabinet Member for Housing at Thanet District Council, said: “We are aware of the extremely difficult situation many Southern Housing residents currently find themselves in Eaton Place, Margate. We have met with Southern Housing and understand that they are also working with their fire engineer and with the Kent Fire and Rescue Service and that interim measures are in place for the two buildings.

“Southern Housing has asked residents to move out by May 2024, and we are doing everything that we can to support residents and ensure that they are receiving the necessary help, in what is an incredibly challenging time for them.

“I contacted Southern Housing as soon as I was aware of the situation, as did Thanet District Council officers, to seek assurances from them that they would be offering support to all of their tenants to help them find accommodation.

“The council has no direct control over Southern Housing, but we will continue to meet with them to ensure that they do provide support and advice to their tenants. We are liaising with Sir Roger Gale MP to keep contact with all affected residents, and we will communicate with the Regulator for Social Housing if we need to.

“If any residents would like additional advice, guidance or support, they can contact the council’s Housing Options Service. Residents can apply to the council’s housing register if they would like to, and we will do everything we can to help.

“If residents raise any concerns with us about the situation, we would be happy to raise these directly with Southern Housing on their behalf, and we will continue to meet to ensure we are regularly updated and in the best possible position to support anyone affected.”

Southern Housing

Southern Housing, which was formed from a merger between Southern Housing Group and Optivo in December last year, also has a situation in Woking where this week it moved residents out of a 60-home block due to worries over ‘structural safety.’

In June it was announced that the 78,000-home association would also be the subject of a special investigation by the Housing Ombudsman after the landlord’s complaint handling maladministration rate rose from 56% to 81% in the past year.

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “The sharp increase in maladministration rate, combined with number of high or medium risks cases we’re seeing from this landlord, is of concern. Other cases with us relate to similar issues and may indicate a repeated failing.

“Following our investigation, we will publish a learning report highlighting any issues we have identified in the cases investigated and make recommendations to the landlord to support learning and improvement.”

81 Comments

  1. Unfortunately they will soon find out there are Afghans and Ukrainians in the queue ahead of them for the brand new houses being handed out so I don’t fancy their chances of the Council finding them somewhere.

    • Dear Thanetian Blind;

      Again, untrue and inflammatory.

      Previously we were delivering an average of 18 properties a year.

      We have now delivered or acquired 92 in six months, specifically to move individuals into affordable housing faster, and the tiny number of properties acquired to support those on registered central programmes were purchased with the use of central government grants, which allows us to use the revenue coming from those properties to immediately finance more homes.

      The reality, however uncomfortable for you, is that those purchases have actually increased and sped up acquisition.

      Please don’t try and divide people based on a deliberate misinterpretation of something that has been explained to you several times.

      All the best,

      Helen.

      • The 92 extra homes you refer to were already in the pipeline before you retained the leadership of the Council. Many other Councils nationally have benefitted in similar ways. It takes months if not years to extract £s from the present austerity government.

        • I’m afraid that’s incorrect, Edward Jaye-Jones. The vast majority of these are due to our new housing strategy, implemented in the last six months.

          All the best,

          Helen.

        • I ask because elsewhere ( not in articles associated with thanet) it’s been reported that under the refugee housing programme rents are set at “affordable rents”, which is generally considered to be 80% of local market rents.
          If so this rather under mines the protestations of equality for all those seeking housing. In addition it points to councils being “bought off” with the promise of additional revenue in exchange for participating in the scheme.
          A little open and honest transparency ismperhaps in order?

          Information taken from

          https://www.london.gov.uk/mayor-announces-funding-600-new-homes-ukrainian-and-afghan-refugees-anniversary-russian-invasion

        • Dear Mildly Interested (I have to say I really like a lot of the names appearing on this page),

          The properties will be rented in line with our tenancy strategy, as our view of what “affordable” is differs from the central government view.

          Our Affordable Rent is either 80% of market value, or LHA rate, whichever is lower; in Thanet, for obvious reasons, this means that our Affordable Rent is pegged to the LHA rate.

          All the best,

          Helen.

    • So why is that of concern Thanetian Blind you pillock! As Spike Milligan once said when he was asked by Major Bloodknock, what are you doing here, and he replied by saying everyone must be somewhere! Its ignorant, and ill informed people like you that stir up racial hatred, similar to what happened in Dublin recently apparently, is that what you are trying to do? If so you should get help, because you are suffering from acute low self esteem, and self loathing causing bullying of people who are unable to defend themselves!

  2. 18 properties a year doesn’t cover those to be made homeless, both Southern housing and TDC have a responsibility to house these people. End of discussion. This shows the shoddy planning allowed in Thanet by unscrupulous organisations exploiting TDCs continued evident incompetence.

    • Dear Steve;

      I’m not sure how you have worked out 18 properties a year from 92 properties in six months.

      I’m also very certain that it’s not appropriate to hijack something this upsetting for residents just to target TDC; again.

      Housing Associations are independent organisations; they have responsibility for their buildings, and their tenants. We have a responsibility to support residents, ensure that Southern Housing fulfil their legal responsibilities, and do our very best to support residents into housing if they want to apply; and that is exactly what we will do.

      All the best,

      Helen.

      • Helen,its well and good if you live in Stratford house as manyin the property’s where over crowded and where waiting on larger accommodation, so in a way this will assist them in getting the type of accommodation they need to meet their needs. However us Tenants in Weymouth house will not be offered alternative accommodation or a even the chance of the Home loss payment, even though many of us are private market rent so we are puzzled as to why we are not being offered this payment as this would certainly help us with deposits, rent in advance and so forth..Could I and the other tenants left out in the cold have the home loss payment rather than a 10 year old fridge please as a “goodwill” gesture,could you put that to SHG and see how much they really want to help us tenant’s as they have stated..or is that just lip service as per normal ..I won’t hold my breath!
        Is this something yourself or Sir Roger Gale could look into for us residents ,as it would at least look like SHG are trying to be charitable 😆

        • How many of the occupants in the ‘over crowded’ properties put themselves in that situation? Too many people have children when their living situation cannot support it. I guess their constant procreation outside of their means is TDC’s fault as well?

          • But , have enough kids and you soon end up in a situation when a flat is very unlikely to have the space the deems necessary and so become eligible for a house, may take a while but ending up in a nice new house on the westwood estate or similar at social rent and you’ve just landed what would cost any working person around £15,000 plus of pretax earnings.
            Easy to see why some choose to play that game.

        • Can you tell me Helen why Residents of Stratford housing (social housing) attended a meeting at The Council offices on a Saturday to meet yourself and others,whilst us Residents in Weymouth house were not inviting along..the council has a private sector housing department so surely we should have attended..or is it we simply don’t matter? I await your response.Regards Lucy ( Weymouth house market rent tenant)

          • Dear Lucy;

            I had no meetings arranged for Saturday, no external meeting invites, and had in fact just returned from hospital, so definitely did not attend any meeting on Saturday.

            The Council Offices are closed on Saturday, so I am not certain what meeting is being referred to.

            All the best,

            Helen.

        • Dear Lucy,

          More than happy to help, and think it might be useful to have a meeting with you and others affected if that would be something you’re interested in?

          I run a housing surgery each Thursday; I’m unwell at the moment so am physically “off”, hopefully not for long, but if you drop me an email I’m more than happy to sort out a meeting as soon as I’m back in; I’m at [email protected].

          I’m supporting a few cases that have come via Roger Gale’s office but it would be good to meet in person and make sure everyone is receiving the support they need/talk about what can be done.

          All the best,

          Helen.

          • Hi Helen,in normal circumstance the council offices are closed on a Saturday, however they were opened for a meeting with members of TDC,the newspaper reporter a councillor & also someone called Glenn Gray.
            Im not sure of exact numbers that attended however I do know this meeting was held.
            Thank you for your offer of a meeting at your clinic ,I would be very happy to meet with you to discuss the numerous issue and problems we as residents of Weymouth house will be facing so I shall be booking .

            Regards
            Lucy (Weymouth house)

      • Dear Ms Whitehead , I am one of the effected tenants in Weymouth House, will you publicly speak out and urge SH to pay the home loss payment to all the tenants, rather than just the ones in Stratford House?, as with local rates being what they are, many residents in Weymouth House will be forced to move out of area.

  3. How old are these flats They don’t look that old. A life span of modern housing doesn’t seem to a very long with construction methods used today .

    • 9 years old.Ive lived in the property for 7 years and now after months of asking SHG what’s going on we receive letters today saying we are to be evicted..on the plus side as a good will gesture we can keep the fridge!! Why SHG…so you don’t have yo pay the disposal cost! SHAME ON YOU SHG

      • As a matter of interest what form did the eviction notice take, ie Sec21 etc? First step would be to approach TDC and ask for housing and see what they say, then go to Citizens Advice and Shelter, see what advice they give.
        It’ll present a bit of a problem for TDC , as you have until May , the building obviously doesn’t present an immediate risk to your wellbeing and that won’t suddenly change on the day you are meant to leave.
        Ordinarily you’d be advised to stay until the bailiffs arrive to evict you and then present as homeless and then be eligible for emergency housing, but that in the meantime you should seek housing in the private sector. Be interesting to see what TDC do in this instance, as they can hardly be seen to ve favouring people evicted from social housing over those already seeking accommodation.
        Additionally a landlord would normally be expected to have insurance that covers the cost of alternative accommodation for tenats who have to vacate a building for issues relating to its condition ( within policy exclusions etc).
        See if you can’t get this into the national press , the Independent would be a good start.
        Good luck.

        • Hi I live in Weymouth house, i am market rent so will not will not be rehoused along with any tenants from this block of flats
          SHG have said we are market rent so have no duty to house us or pay the home lose payment scheme, which the residents of Stratford house will be receiving even though the council will be find them new accommodation…I don’t find this to be right.We have been living in a building that is structurally unsound for a long time, and SHG have known about this and have still be collecting rent in a building that is unsound..how could they continue to charge us rent on a building that they know to be condemned? They have stated in previous letters to use that there is NO “subsidence” and the building is not “leaning” however when fire officers came to inspect the doors the did not meet fire regulations and when asked why they said it was because of the “subsidence “!! Someone is lying to us..if ,and I do believe this building has subsidence then why..and I believe I know why,so will be asking for a structural engineer to do a report on the building.. especially the footing and what type of where used 🙂

    • What’s he actually achieved? Has he got a commitment, in writing, that all these displaced tenants will be appropriately rehoused?

      • That is true but he has made them reply quickly and at the same time show them to be very unfit and unfair to it’s Tennant’s.thats more than an if you want from tdc

        • Words are easy. Those residents are still without accommodation, despite Sir R’s efforts.
          He could, of course, throw his weight behind getting the Manston site approved for housing.

  4. Less that 10 years old really. Architects and structural engineers should have an indemnity insurance in place. My structural engineer when he retired he still has to pay insurance if there’s any historic problems. Less than 10 years old that’s just crazy

  5. Aside from the usual racist tropes from the usual ill informed source and the usual silliness from Checksfield, there are serious questions for the Govt,TDC and Southern Housing.
    For the Govt,the sale of social housing is a disaster and was a piece of expensive social engineering, that has caused no end of problems.
    The Labour Party, Ms Whitehead, should end, pause(permanently), stop, the sale of social housing as a policy.How can this bad policy continue to sell housing when you have a housing crisis?
    TDC failed in the planning and building control oversight to ensure that social tenants living in blocks of flats, are living in a building that is safe. Did TDC not recall the failings of what happened at Grenfell tower?
    Southern Housing cannot just say sorry you have to find a solution for our problems.
    The shocking managerialism of Southern and other housing associations is testament to 40 years of failed housing policy. Now I wonder who it was who said he was Mr Change?

    • Nokesy, amongst your usual demented and over-long ramblings, can’t you find it in you – just this once – to praise Sir Roger Gale for helping these people out?

      • As always Pinkysi, your inner Checksfield gets the better of you.Because you are so ill informed you call people names, when your pointless unpleasant name calling is called out. If Sir Roger gets all these people rehoused in good quality housing, then of course he will receive my approbation.Why not? So there, your pink fox is shot.
        This is yet another example of Broken Britain, and I am afraid the country is fast losing patience with the managerialists in Govt,Councils and Corporations.

    • TDC may well not have had any input into the building control function of the buildings construction, in fact it’s very unlikely ( around 2003 the council of mortgage lenders required newbuilds to have insurance backed building guarantees, to my knowledge TDC chose not to move into this area of building control )and so it’s very likely that a private building control company was used. ( the decision is also why council building control has bery much changed as many of the experienced staff left for the private sector and the council also lost a lot of its bread and butter building control fee income as the small house builders went elsewhere)
      As for grenfell, despite being built and managed by the council , it never complied with fire safety requirements in that it had no wet riser, which was partly why the fire service had so much trouble dealing with the fire, the fire service additionally were the inspection authority for many years and so should have highlighted this failuer on many occasions , but there seems to have been some failings in that area. The council and fire service were able to distance themselves as legislation moved responsibilities elsewhere , either by the fire service no longer being the inspecting authority and the council using an “arms length management organisation “ amlo.
      These historical failures haven’t received much publicity.

  6. More proof that housing associations are unfit to be landlords. I went round these blocks a few years ago. Electric intake cupboards left wide open with no secure locks, rubbish and lumber left on stairs and roof accesses easy to get into and totally insecure. Council housing is the only solution. Publicly run, publicly owned and democratically accountable. Does seem lessons are being learnt at last but have every sympathy for the tenants and leaseholders paying for past dogmatism and neglect.

  7. Sums up modern England, really.
    Poor quality, cheap housing inadequately maintained. High rents.Housing Associations that act with the indifference of private landlords.
    And nasty minded individuals exploiting the shock of the tenants by blaming immigrants. Like they always do.
    And when a newly elected Council actually starts to address the problem, they get denounced for not doing enough!

    • The issue is that people are wedded to the idea of traditional low council rents. These where they exist apply to older housing stock , built in times when land , labour , materials were cheap and the homes long paid for.
      Provision of new housing is expensive , it can’t be rented at traditional council rents, ( as TDC calculations have shown in new homes needing 18 years to be revenue positive at current LHA rates , though this will be much reduced when new rates are set next year) though wether that 18 years makes allowance for new heating systems in that period remains to be seen, though is heated by electric resistive appliances that won’t be a great expense)
      The only way you could go back to council rents of old is through huge taxpayer subsidy, but seeing as the rents are often met by LHA they effectively are, those that really lose out are the working households who aren’t elegible for benefits and so have next zero chance of social rent housing and so are left with the social sector or trying to buy. Hence the rise of the scam in the making shared ownership and the ridiculous Help to Buy schemes.
      There really comes a point where you can’t keep cheating economic realities , you can’t have expensive modern housing for all in a low skill low wage economy , eventually the financial wizardry has to fail. No matter how many visas you issue to try and enable the illusion of growth.

  8. I think in this case the blame lies on design and construction. Is there a 10 year warranty on the build. Most housing associations are poorly run but you can’t blame them for poor foundations . There’s 83 houses in Cambridge all worth 850 k each new builds due to be demolished due to faulty foundations .

  9. Tony Benn in 1990 after 11 years of the Tories

    Local government has been crippled. Across the river is the county hall of London county council–the seat of government of the greatest city in the world. It is empty and is to be sold because the Government wanted to cripple local government, and they have.

    The poll tax, the centralisation of the business rate and the punishment of Liverpool and Lambeth councillors were designed to take all power from local government and to put it in the hands of the Government who claimed that they did not believe in the role of the state.

    Many people–I am one of them–feel strongly about the undermining of the trade unions, who now have fewer rights than their counterparts in eastern Europe, the tax cuts for the rich and the benefit cuts for the poor, the censorship of the media, the abuse practised by the security services, the restriction on civil liberties, the Falklands war and now the Government’s readiness to send more troops, announced today, to the middle east to die for the control of oil.

    We are not alone in our concern about those issues because the message reaching Conservative Members has come from those who share that concern. When we look back at the 1980s we see many victims of market forces. I do not share the general view that market forces are the basis of political liberty.

    Every time I see a homeless person living in a cardboard box in London I see that person as a victim of market forces. Every time I see a pensioner who cannot manage, I know that he is a victim of market forces. The sick who are waiting for medical treatment that they could receive quicker through private insurance are victims of those same market forces.

    • “the tax cuts for the rich and the benefit cuts for the poor, “

      Where as it’s just been announced that benefits will increase by 6.7% and LHA will increase by around £800 a year ( likely to be substantially more in thanet for a 2 bed property) , where as those of us that work have frozen tax allowances and a pittance on national insurance, the announcements of late seem very much skewed towards those in receipt of benefits. I’ll most certainly not be seeing a similar % increase.

  10. And there’s me thinking this story was about buildings with dodgy foundations. And people having to move out.

    • Sadly, the local far left never pass up on the opportunity to score points, no matter how inappropriate (I’m just surprised they haven’t mentioned climate change or palestine yet).

    • Thank you for your comments we seem to be getting overlooked, this article was written by Kathy Bailes who actually took the time to highlight what is happening to use,and hopefully exposing Southern housing group for their shameful treatment towards us Private rent tenants

    • Tory buildings-with corners cut, because the poor don’t matter to them & could care less if these people are on the street, though any tents will be safe for the time being I guess. Strange how everything Benn said 33 years ago this week about the Tories is still true under them now.

      9 billion wasted on giving Mone & their other useless pals the PPE deals, rather than giving to the people that have the skill to make it properly. Tens of millions wasted on the useless beds (2 out of 3) for the Nightingale Hospitals that were never used & they are now flogging off in a fire sale-starting at 6 quid.

      They have wasted 100 billion in the last four years & who knows how much in the last 13 years? Money that could have been used to build safe properties & to repair them when needed-rather than throwing people out into the street or putting them in total dives like Invicta House with arsonists, drug dealers, yobbos etc.

  11. This building had a very lengthy build time, it was started then stood with nothing happening for years. Then it was completed and occupied. This may explain why there is no building guarantee in place to claim on, but surely questions have to asked about the building control input at the time of the build ( very unlikely to have been TDC and private company instead.)
    Rumours at the time were that the original developer went skint, it was then bought by a housing association and finished. Which has a ring of truth as getting a 10 year guarantee on the building would likely have been very difficult and so made the flats impossible to sell imdividually. Of course that could all be very wrong, hopefully someone can confirm or have the real story.
    42 households looking for new homes are going to have a hard time finding somewhere in a tight rental market. The true nature of Southern Housing shines through it seems. One would have assumed that being a registered social housing provider ,with all the benefits this brings them ,they’d be duty bound to treat their tenants better.
    Ironic timing given the discussions in another thread on here about the merits of social and private rental sectors.

    • I am one of the residents of the flats and I have so many questions that need to be answered,Southern housing would not respond to our questions.SHG have social housing and those will be rehomed..us Tenants in Weymouth are on different types of tenancies, private market rent,and intermediate rent,so we have been informed that because of the nature of our tenancy we will not qualify for a home loss payment,we as tenants are baffled and will try to fight this decision.I think this is a very Grey area, however I can not see how SHG can hide under the banner of a “Non profit making charity”
      This I’m going to look into.
      And it appears that the housing ombudsman is also investigating SHG.
      You only have to look on the Internet and read some of the horror stories regarding sHG over the last few months,fire alarms removed ,fire officers attending the building and having too put emergency measures in place , telling SHG that because of there blatant disregard for our safety they would have to employ walking watch fire warden’s ,as the building was a deemed High risk by the fire officer. Fire doors not meeting standards, the Cladding a huge fire risk, it goes on and on..In light of the horrific and tragic event of Grenfell you would have thought that fire safety would have been paramount..but it appears not to be in SHG’s case obviously.
      Only last week in Woking a SHG building was closed down and residents where given an hour to leave the property as the fire service deemed it unsafe..and guess what..the same thing happened there,Cladding, fire doors ,alarms removed,walking watch fire warden’s brought in..there is a
      Pattern emerging here

      • Housing associations have adopted ,to use Orbits phrase, “profit for purpose” so they effectively have a more commercially orientated department within their organisation that aims to make a profit that is then used to subsidise their social housing objectives. This has become a way of forming a more corporate private rented sector which is seen as politically more acceptable than helping the traditional private sector, it also allows transfers of land , convenient purchases ( think of TDC and its purchase of Foy House and 19 Hawley Square from Orbit , which some suggest were originally transferred from TDC for a token sum to the original thanet housing association). These changes being used as a way to meet the changes various governments have wanted to see in social housing provision and also avoid the right to buy legislation. You’ve only to look at what the senior management at some of these associations earn to see that they’ve become businesses in all but name.

      • Yes I wonder if there is some other motive/reason for these “evacuations” ?.

        I wonder whether Surveyors, Construction Companies etc involved in the original
        construction are liable also. I believe that the original owners of Woking were Barratts . If anyone wants to read more about the same problem in Woking search
        “Surrey Live Woking Residents Evacuated”

        Either way I hope that both WOKING and MARGATE Tenants
        will get together ?. If any MARGATE tenants want to start a forum then let me know.

        • There’s more detail on the original finance etc on the councils planning portal, from the bits i had a quick read of, planning was approved in 2006, the applixation was from/on behalf of a company registered in jersey, finance seems to have come from bank of scotland ( which may be why the build stopped for so long as the bank collapsed in 2008) and looks as though it was for a social housing provider from the outset. Lots of leagalise in the documents and no doubt someone better versed in such things will understand better.
          Personally I don’t think there’s any ulterior motive, the building was just very badly built to the extent it has only lasted 10 years.

    • I know lifetime guarantees are a thing of the distant past, or with a pen now means 3-5 years. But if I was guaranteed a house/property would likely only last ten years, I would run a mile from the cowboys.

  12. It’s almost like TDC want to maximise the value of near by Dreamland when the inevitable realisation comes that it is sold for redevelopment for homes. Not nessasarily a bad thing but they won’t be for “Thanetians”. Just the blue haired,identifiable protencious people gentrifying the town and turning it into a socialist pit for all to admire

  13. Makes sense why there’s no were to go with compensation. But they must be an insurance in place on the building .

    • If the building was complyeted by a the housing association and there was no buildings guarantee in place, getting insurance for construction defects would be hard and if you could get some be very expensive.

      Very likely a murky story behind it all that’ll never be aired.

  14. The council members have very little if anything to do with any housing issues. They cannot effect, change or have anything to do with any housing that is run by housing associations, there decisions or conclusions included. This includes councillors on the housing committee. I know from my brother being thrown out of his home of more than 20 years after my mother went into a care home. Because she did not have the good grace to die at the time of leaving the property was eventually taken from my brother (who has mental health problems). Their (the councils) best solution was that he should rent privately. Private rents are almost certainly more than anyone on benefits can afford (even with enhanced benefits) & god help you if you should have any kind of pet! I imagine most private letters have their fur babies paid for by their lonely renters. Must be the letting agents reccomendiing no pets, because of the damage. You can bet your bottom dollar that now the LHA (local housing allowance) has been increased, private landlords WILL increase their rent.

  15. There is a huge shortage of social housing and a huge shortage of council and government funding to provide such housing. So maybe a completely new approach is needed. Change the laws so that ‘Bona Vacantia’ estates go into a new fund specifically to create social housing. The populace needs the proceeds of ‘Bona Vacantia’ far more than the Crown.

  16. Shouldn’t build on top of an underground river, is this the same waterway that causes flooding at the Coffin corner end of Hartsdown Road near the proposed building site next to the cricket club.

      • It comes out at the harbour, and is called the Tivoli Brook. It once ran past the Tudor house as an open river, but was covered in the 19th century.

        • There used to be a plot of land in between Little Tivoli Park and Big Tivoli Park just past the old rail bridge by the tennis courts that you could get into where Tivoli Brook used to rise quite often. I used to go playing down there as a kid in the 70’s and I always either came back with a jar of tadpoles or loads of tennis balls that had come over from the courts, there was even a few apple trees down there hidden away that I used to collect the apples from. As a kid down there used to be heaven like both the Tivoli Parks were, in fact there was several occasions back then when the Big Tivoli wooded area used to flood quite a bit as well and there used to be quite the pond there. Haven’t been down that way since the early 80’s though so I’m I’m guessing its probably full of needles, empty bottles & cans and fly tipped junk by now.

        • The one that runs past the old Tudor House was linked to Dane Valley if I recall correctly, that used to flood Dane Park quite often by the big rocks and the fountain area making quite a deep pond. Thanet is filled with old rivers and brooks , no surprise as it used to be all marshland.

    • I’d expect that being at the bottom of a dip and blocked/ inadequate drainage is more of a problem at that location.

  17. Labour may well have majority local control and doing all they can but who is still at the helm? one of the many non elected prime ministers of the Tory muppet show.
    This is all Thanet needs with the housing situation as it is – 1 step forward 2 steps back.
    There must be a way to get some type of help/support from central government?

  18. This is appalling. I can barely imagine how the residents are feeling, those in Weymouth are in a particularly horrendous situation. Wondering who owns the land as opposed to the building. Wouldn’t have anything to do with Dreamland’s complex ownership chain would it? Meanwhile – swanky properties with saunas or whatever being built specifically for artists in central Margate.

  19. Good start, now work all the way along to the clock tower, all those old buildings need to come down. The area is a filthy mess and needs regeneration.

  20. Dear Lucy,

    Having looked into this it appears that some residents attended a standard Councillors surgery for Salmestone ward in the library, rather than a meeting being specifically organised.

    More than happy to arrange a specific meeting for affected residents.

    Very best wishes,

    Helen.

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