council tower block has ‘disappeared’ as leaseholders enter an Orwellian nightmare

Admin (19 November, 2015) Housing Regeneration

Bank cards, direct debits and child benefit payments have been stopped amid the confusion

6539The Aylesbury Estate

A twelve-storey council block has apparently disappeared, as residents have been told their addresses no longer exist.

Leaseholders who are staying put in half deserted blocks on the Aylesbury are living in an Orwellian nightmare, as their bank cards have been cancelled, direct debits stopped and benefits withheld.

Residents have been told by official agencies like their banks and government departments that their addresses are “no longer valid.”

Julius Sangbey, who lives on the Chiltern block, ended up accidentally driving for two weeks without car insurance after his documents were returned to sender.

“If I’d have been stopped by the police I would have got points on my license and a criminal record through no fault of my own and that is very serious,” said Julius.

The 50-year-old was made redundant from his last job as a property manager so he is currently looking for work but online job applications say his address is invalid and meanwhile his Job Seeker’s Allowance and Child Allowance have both been stopped because his address no longer exists on ‘the database’.

“For three weeks I haven’t received any payments,” said Julius, who has two children, aged ten and twelve to support.

Beverley Robinson, who also lives on Chiltern has had difficulty ordering goods online and has had her bank cards cancelled after her bank statements were returned to sender.

“It’s very frustrating, you can’t do without a postal address. The implications are far reaching,” said Beverley, who was asked to present her recent missing bank statements to the council in order to try and get rehoused. “The ramifications are massive, it could impact on your credit score and everything. It’s terrible,” she said.

Former Tory Southwark councillor, Toby Eckersley, who has recently been supporting the leaseholders in their plight to challenge the council’s offers on their properties, said the situation was “a mystery” but urged the council to get to the bottom of it.

“The council should have the good will to try to put it right. It’s been going on for quite a while and the leaseholders are in a limbo,” he said.

Some of the issues have been caused by postal workers being unable to deliver post to the fenced off parts of the estate. Southwark Council and Royal Mail have now come to an agreement whereby the letters are dropped at alternative delivery points.

Sally Hopkins of Royal Mail also confirmed to the News that the Aylesbury addresses were still listed on their postcode address file and they had not received an instruction to remove them.

Cllr Richard Livingstone, Southwark’s cabinet member for housing, assured the News that the council had not given any instruction to remove the Aylesbury addresses from the Royal Mail database.

“We have made every effort make sure services go on as normal as possible for residents still on the site,” as well as ensuring alternative mail boxes were installed.

“Our own investigations show the addresses are still coming up on shopping websites too so we aren’t able to establish what the cause of the problem is, however we will continue to liaise with Royal Mail and look into the matter,” he added.

Social Cleansing? What Social Cleansing?

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