No summer central heating for Islington Council tenants

Central heating campaigners outside the town hall before the meeting

Central heating campaigners outside the town hall before the meeting - Credit: Archant

But town hall gives rebate to more than 3,000 overcharged tenants

A petition signed by more than 300 estate tenants asking for central heating to be left on over the summer has been knocked back by Islington Council.

Jo White, 65, who lives at Turnpike House in Goswell Road, collected the signatures going door to door from residents on the King’s Square estate who said they would be happy to pay more to be able to use the heating all year round.

But when Ms White asked the town hall’s executive member for housing, Cllr James Murray, if he would consider leaving the heating on he said that the majority of council tenants were in favour of them switching off the heating in the summer months.

Speaking at last week’s full council meeting, Cllr Murray said: “We wrote to all tenants and we heard back from them recently.

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“Broadly speaking, people don’t want it on from June to September. However, one of the more subtle points is that the some of our buildings have poor insulation and do not retain any heat.

“We’re trying to work out whether there’s a fair way to resolve this.”

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Cllr Murray also confirmed that more than 3,000 tenants would receive a rebate after being overcharged for their heating last year.

But Ms White said the rebate she received of £77 would be enough to pay to keep the heating on for the summer.

“They’ve already taken our money, why can’t they just use that money to keep the heating on?

“The boilers keep breaking down when they’re not used, if we kept them on all the time they wouldn’t be breaking down as much.

“They seem to think we’re all going to be stupid and leave it on all the time.”

The council’s communal heating system was heavily criticised in February after it emerged that some council tenants were paying hundreds more in heating bills than leaseholders living on the same estates.

Speaking before last week’s meeting, where he was refused the chance to ask a question, Spa Green estate’s tenant’s management organisation chairman Thomas Cooper said the refund was not enough.

“Spa Green is significantly overcharged every year,” he said.

“Tenants have been fully overcharged and only partially refunded.”

Mr Cooper was angry that Mayor Cllr Richard Greening did not allow him to ask a question, less than 20 minutes into section of the meeting for questions from the public which the Mayor had said could run for a maximum of 40.

Mr Cooper had not submitted a question beforehand.

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