Islington tenants’ fury at being misled over homes champion post

Angry residents are claiming that the council lied to them over a new, unelected, resident’s champion.

A meeting took place last week between the council and Islington Leaseholder’s Association (ILA) and the Federation of Islington Tenants Association (FITA), who represent almost 40,000 residents.

The council brought up the idea of appointing a champion to represent residents’ views, an unpaid post with allowances of �5,000 a year.

The ILA and FITA expressed opposition to the idea.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, told them no decision had been made and insisted the council was open to alternative suggestions.

But after they left the meeting, the members of the groups were horrified to find they had received a letter from the new residents’ champion, dated the day before the meeting.

Brian Potter, chairman of the ILA and FITA, was so upset he has now launched a petition at to oppose the appointment of Theresa Coyle, the outgoing chairwoman of Homes for Islington (HfI). Ms Coyle received �8,000 in allowances at HfI.

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He said: “We were in that meeting for three hours talking about it and James Murray didn’t say anything.

“He told us nothing was set in stone. I feel he just lied to our faces. We feel absolutely cheated and have been totally misled.

“Everyone I have spoken to is incensed about it. My blood pressure went through the roof when I got the letter. And nobody wants Theresa Coyle. She is a chairman of HfI and we have only just got rid of them.”

Richard Rosser, from the Highbury Estate, said: “It is insulting that we have been discussing this as though it’s an open book, then it turns out they have already made their decisions.

“Then there is the fact that I don’t see how Theresa Coyle, with her HfI background, can be impartial about things that went on under her chairmanship. It’s like asking [council leader] Catherine West to investigate her own fairness commission. I don’t think it’s on.”

Cllr Murray said the decision process was still ongoing, despite the contents of the letter. He said: “I agree it should have been clearer that the proposals in the letter have not yet been agreed and may be amended; officers will make sure this is clear at future meetings and in any future communication.”