Two of Islington’s area housing offices to shut

TWO of Islington’s four area housing offices are to close – leaving many council tenants and leaseholders with nowhere local to take their problems.

The offices in Lyon Street, Holloway, and Upper Street, Islington – the first points of contact for many council residents who need repairs or have other housing issues – will shut in the summer.

Homes for Islington, which runs the sites on behalf of Islington Council, revealed on Monday that its board had decided to close them as part of a cost-cutting drive to save �2.5million.

Dr Brian Potter, chairman of both the Islington Leaseholders’ Association and the Federation of Islington Tenants’ Associations, said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful. We went from 24 offices about eight years ago to now just two. People are not going to have any consultation or participation at all. Lots of people are just not going to be able to get down there, particularly older people. No-one is going to hear their problems.”

The two offices are being relocated to HFI’s head office, in Highbury Crescent, Highbury Corner. The HFI board also agreed that “at some point in the future” it would no longer operate drop-in access at the two other area housing offices, in Holland Walk, Archway, and Old Street, Finsbury.

Doug Goldring, Homes for Islington’s director of operations, said HFI’s funding will be reduced by almost �2.5million from April. He said: “Our priority is to maintain, as much as possible, our frontline services to residents. We’ve looked into various options on how to do this and are reducing central office support staff. But this doesn’t cover all the savings we have to make.”

Councillor Terry Stacy, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition at Islington Council, said: “HFI needs to give me and my colleagues cast iron guarantees that services will not suffer. It’s not clear to me that they’re going to do that.”