Islington leaseholders’ angered by ‘lack of consultation’
PUBLISHED: 06:45 21 February 2012
A £63million contract for the maintenance of more than 2,300 street properties has infuriated leaseholders because they weren’t consulted.
The deal, between Partners for Improvement in Islington and United House, a company which has lent the council millions of pounds for development, is for maintenance for houses over the next 20 years.
Partners say the deal is not new, and is just a reorganisation of existing responsibilities – although it won’t go into more detail.
But a United House statement said it had signed the contract with Partners to deliver refurbishment work as part of one of two Private Finance Initiatives (PFI), controversial schemes whereby local authorities are loaned money for big projects by private companies.
In November the Gazette revealed that Islington Council is liable for £1.3 billion in repayments from loans of around £360 million.
Residents claim they were not consulted about any aspect of the contract between Partners and United House and are upset that what they believe is “shoddy work” will be allowed to continue without any consultation.
Brian Potter, chairman of Islington Leaseholders association, said: “There has been no consultation on this to my knowledge, so how are they allowed to sell a 20-year-contract without asking the people it affects most?
“All we have had is complaints left, right and centre about the repair work that Partners do.
“I don’t know anyone who is satisfied.
“Now we are stuck with them for another two decades.”
Cllr Terry Stacy, the leader of Islington’s opposition Lib Dem group, said: “I would have expected the council to have the decency to notify tenants and leaseholders that this was going to happen.
“There has also been a history of tenants and leaseholders feeling they are not getting value for money from Partners service, and the council needs to take steps to address this.”
A spokesman for Partners said: “Partners will continue to deliver its obligations under the contracts it has with Islington Council. Partners has arranged to deliver some of its ongoing maintenance responsibilities through an existing sub-contract with United House Ltd.
“It is not a new contract, and Partners is not receiving any additional payment from the council for this arrangement.”