Islington leader admits: ‘Damp problems are getting worse in council homes’

Islington Council leader Richard Watts at last night's leader's questions session in the Jean Stokes

Islington Council leader Richard Watts at last night's leader's questions session in the Jean Stokes Community Centre off Caledonian Road - Credit: Archant

Islington’s top councillor last night came under fire over damp housing - and admitted there are “real problems” with many of the out-dated buildings.

Cllr Richard Watts was speaking at a Question Time-style session when council tenants bombarded him with complaints about damp in their homes.

At the Jean Stokes Community Centre, in the Bemerton Estate off Caledonian Road, Cllr Watts admitted: “Damp problems are something we hear more and more about. It’s getting worse. It’s hard as households get more and more crowded.

“I will also be really honest and say there are real problems with some of the council’s housing stock. Many of these are from the 1960s and not very well built. Some of them are coming towards the end of their life.

“The council is sceptical about knocking down and replacing whole estates, so we need to carefully assess our options.”

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One man, a housing estate manager in the borough, then claimed he saw three plumbers turn up at one property to fix a problem, only for the tenant to not be in.

The man claimed it was an example of Islington “haemorrhaging” money from miscommunication in its repair service, all because the plumbers didn’t “pick up the phone and spend 10p”.

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Cllr Watts responded: “I agree with you that the repair service hasn’t been brilliant for many years. Plumbers turning up like this – of course we shouldn’t be doing that.

“But since we took back control of the repair service, we are getting less casework: 85 per cent are right first time.”

What do you think of Cllr Watts’s comments? Is your property blighted by problems? Email our opinion section on

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