Newbery House leaseholders’ ‘desperation’ at being forced to pay £11,600 each for new heating system
PUBLISHED: 18:29 02 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:48 03 August 2017
Leaseholders are raging at Islington Council after being forced to pay £11,600 each for repair work in their Canonbury estate.
Thirty-five leaseholders in Newbery House, Northampton Street, are “desperate” at the situation and held a protest outside the town hall on July 25.
They claim the plans – to replace communal heating pipes and heating systems within the flats – have been unfairly imposed on them by the council. Though the leaseholders recognise work needs to be done, they feel Islington’s proposals are over-priced and inefficient in terms of energy use.
Tristan de Bourbon Parme, of the Newbery House Co-operative, said: “We want work that is sustainable and will upgrade the quality of the building. It’s not as if we are going crazy and just saying no to everything.
“But this is not what the council is proposing. Having to spend £11,600 is mad. It’s a huge chunk from my salary, even if spread out over something like five years.
“A lot of people here are pensioners who can’t afford it. And if we are forced to pay a big amount, it at least has to be good building work that will increase its efficiency.
“We are angry and desperate. Last Tuesday’s protest was the first time some of us had demonstrated like that. It shows the level of feeling against the council.”
Tristan, who has lodged a formal complaint on behalf of the co-operative, added: “It’s crazy for the council not to have listened to us. We as leaseholders want to work with the council. That way, we’re all winners.”
But an Islington Council spokesman said: “We held a full consultation with tenants and leaseholders, and we’re very happy to talk further to any resident who has concerns about the project.
"We are angry and desperate. Last Tuesday’s protest was the first time some of us had demonstrated like that. It shows the level of feeling against the council"
“We’re installing a modern communal heating system at Newbery House, which has many benefits including cheaper, greener energy for residents, reduced maintenance costs over the long term, and helping to tackle fuel poverty.
“This replaces an old communal heating system, which is near the end of its useful life.”
The spokesman added leaseholders are being offered “flexible payment deals”, including interest-free loans, and the option to only pay their share if they sell their property.