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Islington home champs vote angers residents

PUBLISHED: 14:51 28 September 2012

Theresa Coyle (residents' champion)

Theresa Coyle (residents' champion)

Archant

A new housing champion was elected and an executive formed on Tuesday following a controversial borough-wide election

Theresa Coyle, a former chairwoman of Homes for Islington (HfI), will head the new team as the residents’ champion after all the votes were counted.

In total eight people were voted into new posts, but the election process has been criticised because two roles – the tenant and leasholder representatives – had offered just one candidate.

The new executive, which will include four councillors, will advise town hall on housing policy and tackle problems raised by residents.

However, critics claim the new organisation will act as a shield for the council from unpopular decisions.

Brian Potter, chairman of Islington Leaseholders Association who boycotted the election, said: “How can you call it an election when there is only one candidate?

“Even the ones that were there, were hand-picked by the council.

“A lot of people who wanted to stand weren’t allowed to.

“I have said all along that this is HfI mark two and that is exactly what we have got: a group the council can use to do what they want and then hide behind.

“It’s payback for being allowed to close HfI two years early without suing for breach of contract. It’s absolutely disgusting.”

Cllr Barbara Sidnell, a former director of HfI, who will chair the new executive, said: “Congratulations to the eight election winners of our housing ballot.

“I’d like to thank all the candidates who put themselves forward for these housing roles and all those who voted.

“It’s a great privilege and an enormous responsibility to serve, helping residents have a bigger say in how their council-owned homes are run.

“The work starts immediately with professional training to get all our members up to speed on all the issues.

“Expect our housing executive and champions to be making headlines as we work together to put housing at the forefront of council business.”

About 10 per cent of the 35,000 eligible electorate voted. The election cost £40,000.

The first meeting of the executive will be October 23.

The new housing executive:

Residents’ champion: Theresa Coyle

Residents’ vice champions: Susanne Lamido (tenant) and Peter Owen (homeowner)

Tenant (north): Lawrencia Frempong

Tenant (south): Jim Rooke

Partners tenant: Rose-Marie McDonald

Tenant-led organisation Tenant representative: David Mulcahy

Homeowner representative: Liana Sparks

Cllrs: Barbara Sidnell (chair), Jean-Roger Kaseki, Mick O’Sullivan, Terry Stacy and Claudia Webbe

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