‘It’s a terrible place’: Holloway sheltered housing site slammed over safety, mice & maggots

Cutbush House. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cutbush House. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

“Did the maggots come first or the blue bottles?” asked irate neighbours living in a Holloway sheltered housing complex where “rancid” rubbish was left to rot due to an admin error.

Michale McGrath claims he's being bullied at Cutbush House. Picture: Polly Hancock

Michale McGrath claims he's being bullied at Cutbush House. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Neighbours in Cutbush House have a litany of complaints: ranging from an alleged rodent infestation to serious safeguarding concerns - but it was the reek of uncollected refuse that pushed them to open revolt.

The Gazette understands Islington Council removed the building's five large metal bins after an "administrative error" by Clarion, leaving pensioners to throw rubbish directly into the bin cupboard once the two "flimsy bin" provided as a replacement started to overflow.

One neighbour, who lives at the Hilldrop Road accommodation but asked to remain anonymous, said: "It effected everybody. There were bluebottles everywhere.

"When the bin men took it they said: 'It was an environmental health hazard'. There were incontinence pads piling up and discarded rubber gloves. Nobody even put a sign on the door to say: 'This is out of control.'

Patricia Murray and Margaret Duffy allege Cutbush House is infested with mice. Picture: Polly Hancoc

Patricia Murray and Margaret Duffy allege Cutbush House is infested with mice. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

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"They [Clarion] had not paid the bill," added Charles "Charlie" Liddy. "How could they leave it like that?"

Charlie, 83, and John Smith, 79, say they were left to clean the rank corridor with disinfectant once the bins were removed.

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Clarion claims the bins were taken on April 22 and returned on April 30, but neighbours, and even a carer working on site, say they were gone for at least two weeks, pointing to pictures showing the sheer quantity of rubbish as evidence.

Some neighbours living in Cutbush House also say they feel unsafe, owing to tensions between them and their neighbours in sheltered housing, who they share the block with.

They say their neighbours are inadequately supervised, and complaints made to Clarion include a 92-year-old man being pinned to the wall, and a vulnerable adult found sleeping on the floor in a communal area.

"They're not getting the help they need," said Lisa Lovelock, who works at Cutbush House for Mayfair care agency. "People are left there all day with nothing to do - it's just a mess. There are lots of residents with problems but they're not listened to."

Clarion Housing Association is aware of anti-social behaviour complaints and has advised neighbours to keep "nuisance diaries" so they have a record of any incidents.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: "The safety of our residents is our top priority and we work closely with them to ensure their wellbeing.

The neighbours, who have learning disabilities, are in the charge of Outward, a subsidiary of Newlon Housing Trust.

An Outward spokesperson said: "Outward provide support and care on a 24 hour basis to people with disabilities living in eight of the flats at Cutbush House.

"There has been a history of positive interaction between all residents at the scheme though there have been some individual incidents over time which we have worked to resolve with those involved.

"We take any concerns about residents' welfare very seriously and will work closely with residents, Clarion and the local authority when any issues arise."

"When I'm here I'm unsafe," said Michael McGrath, 92.

"Mick won't go down the road to get milk or a paper unless someone's there to escort him," added his neighbour Patricia Murray.

The neighbours also claim the building is riddled with mice, repairs aren't done on time and that the concierge is an "invisible man" who allows people to wonder in off the street at all times of day.

Clarion said the front desk is occupied from Monday to Friday and that cover was provided when the concierge was recently on leave.

"We told the manager we had mice," said Patricia Murray. "And he told us to deal with it ourselves.

"I spent nearly £100 on all different types of mouse traps and poison.

"It's creepy and horrible, when you come in you have to sterilise all the surfaces."

Despite Lisa first claiming she raised the issue of mice in the building weeks ago, Clarion says it's received no reports of rodents but will now investigate and call in pest control if necessary.

Everyone the Gazette spoke to said: "We're not listened to".

It's alleged they've had similar problems with the bins before, and wistful neighbours are left musing whether the larva or the flies will be the first to infest the property if it happens again.

Islington Council has chosen not to comment.

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