Image above: Ealing Liberal Democrats with residents of Meath and Marston Courts
Meath and Marston Courts plagued by antisocial behaviour, violent crime, pests and mould
Ealing Council have been accused of “abandoning” their tenants to live in substandard properties in areas plagued by antisocial behaviour.
Residents of Meath and Marston Courts in Ealing will have to wait until 19 December for a meeting with the Council to discuss their concerns, a delay which the Liberal Democrats attribute to the Ealing Labour party kicking the problems into the long grass.
The Liberal Democrat Group called for an Extraordinary General Meeting to address issues related to anti-social behaviour and substandard housing in the area sooner, accusing the Council of prevaricating and emphasising the need for immediate safety measures.
Ealing’s Labour administration, despite its public commitment to supporting the vulnerable, is not giving priority to addressing the issues at Meath and Marston Court, say the Lib Dem councillors.
The Liberal Democrat opposition group called on Labour to provide a clear timeline within the next few weeks to offer some hope for residents. Instead, they say, Labour has scheduled a 30-minute meeting on Tuesday 19 December, just days before the Christmas break.
Image above: Marston Court
Lib Dems shocked that Labour ‘have not been prioritising these residents but leaving them in a terrible situation’
During a site visit on 29 September, Liberal Democrat Councillors Jon Ball, Gary Busuttil, and Gary Malcolm heard residents’ first hand accounts of their distressing living conditions, which included cockroach infestations, black mould, deteriorating staircases, unauthorised access to the complex, incidents of violence, drug-related activities, and the discovery of live ammunition on the site.
Residents, including families with children, people with mental health conditions, and those experiencing financial hardship, have been left feeling neglected and abandoned, say the Lib Dem councillors. Their future remains uncertain as Christmas approaches, leaving them in limbo.
One of the residents, Paula Aleksandros, staged a protest at Ealing Council offices in June, refusing to leave and spending the entire night there as she was so frustrated with her living conditions. She demanded to speak to someone in charge and remained determined, despite the presence of police and security guards.
Paula, a 31-year-old mother of two, went to the Council’s offices because she said she had been assaulted by drug dealers who trade openly in the street outside where she lives. She sent her ten-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son to live with their father because she said their living conditions were so unsafe.
Ealing’s Labour administration is now under scrutiny for its approach to housing issues. In January 2015 Labour approved the construction of temporary modular housing at three sites in the borough: Borders Walk Hanwell, Hope Gardens Acton, and Westfields Lodge Acton.
These repurposed shipping containers were placed on disused garages in Hanwell or open spaces in Acton, initially intended to be temporary solutions. Almost a decade later, there is no clear exit strategy in place, raising concerns about a lack of long-term vision in addressing housing issues in the borough.
Critics argue that Labour’s approach, including the allocation of green spaces for tower blocks, has led to concerns about increasing housing density. The Liberal Democrat opposition group on the council suggest will benefit corporate entities while only providing a small proportion of discounted accommodation, falling short of meeting the needs of the council housing register.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Malcolm, Leader of the Opposition said:
“Liberal Democrats are shocked that Labour have not been prioritising these residents but leaving them in a terrible situation. The families feel ignored and want answers in the short term so they can have some hope for the future. The Liberal Democrats will fight until these families and residents get a proper quality of housing.”
Response from Ealing Council – they’re dealing with it
Ealing Cabinet Member for Safe and Genuinely Affordable Homes, Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, gave The Chiswick Calendar the following statement:
“I have visited and spoken to residents at both Meath and Marston Courts recently. Meath Court residents were happy to hear that they would be moved out in the coming months and understood that in the current housing crisis, that it might take some time.
“I reassured residents that we would do everything to get them moved as soon as was possible and in the meantime, have ensured that anti-social behaviour issues on the site were being tackled.
“Residents also have my telephone number and e-mail and can talk to me at any time. The Lib Dems visited Meath Court afterwards and are seeking simply to spread anxiety and make it all about their own egos, creating an opportunity for them to make speeches at a council meeting; whilst we are focused on standing up for our residents and openly speaking to them.”
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