Residents of condemned Wandle flats say they are back at square one after demands go unheeded

News Desk (23 June, 2016) Housing

Residents have been offered no compensation and still being forced to pay full rent and service charges in buildings due for demolition

9598Solomon's Passage residents with MP Harriet Harman

Families at the 85 Peckham flats condemned for demolition just six years after being built have said negotiations with Wandle Housing Association are “back to square one”.

Residents of Solomon’s Passage learnt from Wandle that two of the four towers would be demolished on April 25. The association has since told the News that its board members concluded that demolition would be their chosen course of action on March 23.

The damning decision was made after independent investigators, Keegan’s Ltd, discovered subsidence and flooding in the buildings’ basements.

On May 20 residents were buoyed by the intervention of MP Harriet Harman, who assisted tenants and lease holders with their negotiations with Wandle’s CEO, Tracey Lees.

But on Friday the residents received word that few, if any, of the demands they had put to Wandle will be met.

A mum living in one of the condemned blocks said she was disappointed at the “complete lack of progress”.

The woman, who preferred to speak anonymously, said: “We gave Wandle 20 days to go through the things we wanted to negotiate, but they refused nearly all of them.

“We asked them to help with legal fees and all they have offered is £500 each. That won’t stretch for anyone to be professionally represented.

“They also refused to look at reducing our rent and service-charge bills. We’re still expected to pay to live in buildings that need to be demolished and we’ve never seen any indication of where that money is going.

“Half the residents here will have to move out to other Wandle flats outside of Southwark. We suggested Wandle should contact local authorities like Southwark, Lewisham or Lambeth councils to help find us temporary accommodation in the local area, but they’ve also made no effort to do this.

“We don’t want to have to move out children into different schools. We want to stay in Peckham.”

Last month Ms Lees told the News that Wandle “remain committed to working with them to find long-term solutions at Solomon’s Passage”.

Despite the ongoing complaints aimed at Wandle, a spokesman for the association said they believe £500 would meet the need for residents to look for legal advice.

The spokesman also said residents must continue to pay rent and service charges in order to meet “continued day-to-day running of the buildings, such as lighting, cleaning and grounds maintenance”.

“The cost of [this] would have to be carried by other residents if not paid for by those in Solomon’s Passage,” they said.

“However, no costs associated with the investigations, defects, complete refurbishment or construction of new homes will be passed on to residents.”

Wandle also said it had denied residents the chance to read the findings of Keegan’s inspection because Wandle require the details to be kept private, while they consider taking legal action against Green Acre Homes Ltd, who build the flats in 2010 before going into administration.

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