Monday, November 14, 2005

Islington Conservatives write to ODPM over leaseholder repair bills

Chris Skidmore has written to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to request that HfI's high repair bills be investigated. He has also called for a cap to be placed on bills that the vulnerable- pensioners, those on income support- will not be able to pay.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to ask if the ODPM might investigate the charges that Islington leaseholders are being threatened with by Homes for Islington. I understand that many of the buildings need basic repair work, but the plans HfI have in place go far beyond the Decent Homes Standard.

I have received many complaints from leaseholders who will simply not be able to pay these bills. I would ask the ODPM to consider if a cap might be put in place. At the same time, I have received further complaints from leaseholders whose properties have already undergone repair, but to a very insufficient standard.

I am very concerned that the same companies that committed this shoddy work will continue to let down those who are paying too much for their repairs. Homes for Islington does not seem to have a competitive tendering process, and I wonder if you might be able to investigate how this could be put into place.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Skidmore
Islington North Conservatives

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Islington Conservatives supporting important new leaseholder websites

Islington Conservatives are proud to advertise any local initiatives that are helping to make our community of Islington a better place to live.

Two new websites, for the Highbury Quadrant Leaseholders Association and the the Spa Green Estate, have been set up. Please take a look in our links section. These highlight the disgusting state of disrepair Islington Council have allowed their housing stock to fall into over the past thirty years. Now they are attempting to pass the buck onto leaseholders. Some are being forced to pay astronomical amounts for works they will simply not be able to pay for.

The council should face up to a problem that is of their own making. Leaseholder groups such as these are raising awareness, and we will do everything we can to support these worthy schemes.

We will be attending leaseholder meetings this week at King's Park estate and at Sparsholt Rd. If you know of any leaseholder meetings that we can attend, please let us know. We are here to listen and lobby on your behalf.


Welcome to Islington Conservatives new blog site. Here you will be able to access details of what we have been up to, the local projects that we support, our policies for a better Islington, and all relevant local news.

This site is here for you. We want to know how we can make Islington a better place to live- but we need your help to do this. If we can help you or your local community please get in touch. Any ideas are very welcome: we are here to listen. Post your comments here, or contact us at

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Chris Skidmore
Chairman, Islington North

Monday, October 31, 2005

Islington North CPF comments highlighted by Conservative Research Department

Islington North's response to the Conservative Policy Forum's paper on the General Election was highlighted by John Glen, Director of the Conservative Research Department, in his report to participating constituencies.

On the question of 'How Important should the public services be in our next campaign?', he found 'there was an appetite for reform, but little mention of choice and even less of privitisation'.

'In this respect' Mr Glen continued, 'the response from Islington North was particularly forthright: "Blind faith in the power of 'choice' is not enough. If choice is such a powerful mechanism for driving up standards, we need to explain why. A familiar refrain on the doorsteps during the General Election campaign was "I don't want a choice, I just want a decent hospital."

Many thanks to Simon Philips, Deputy Chairman of Islington North for preparing the report that ensued from a discussion of Islington North members.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Duncan Webster attacks treatment of King's Park estate residents

Islington South Deputy Chairman Duncan Webster has continued Islington Conservatives attack upon the Council's treatment of leaseholders now facing huge repair bills. In a letter to the Islington Tribune, Duncan writes:

Dear Sir,

The quality of repairs carried out upon the King’s Park estate by HfI is unacceptable. I have been shown windows that have been left unfinished, their glass cracked and frames warped. The standard of painting is at best shoddy. In one case, the Council had been notified of the disrepair in 1995, but still have done nothing!
I am worried that HfI are still employing the company, United House, to carry out repairs despite knowing the poor quality of their substandard work. Not only are resident’s concerns are going unheard, but the Council seems unwilling to learn from their mistakes. There needs to be a proper and more competitive system of tenders, with more say for the residents- after all, it’s them who have to live with the consequences.

Yours sincerely,

Duncan Webster
Deputy Chairman
Islington South Conservatives

Friday, October 14, 2005

Leaseholders: when will the Council give a damn?

Islington North Chairman Chris Skidmore attended a meeting of the Islington Leaseholder's Forum on October 12th at the Town Hall. One hundred leaseholders faced with crippling repair bills from Homes for Islington turned up to hear what the Liberal democrat council had to say for themselves. Instead they were faced with rows of empty chairs. In response, Chris had the following letter published in the Islington Tribune:

Dear Sir,

I would like to voice my amazement at the recent repair bills sent to leaseholders by HfI. At a meeting of Islington Leasholder’s Forum, I was shocked to see the nature of these charges. At Crouch Hall Court, leaseholders are being forced to shell out nearly £15,000 each, with one elderly lady being charged £6,500 for painting her walls! Another man faced a bill of nearly £40,000. These people will simply not be able to pay. Many are on income support or are pensioners. They are now paying for the council’s neglect of these buildings- thirty years of Labour and Liberal neglect. They do not deserve this treatment. After all, before they purchased their properties, these people paid rent and service charges to the council- why wasn’t this spent on the repairs when they were needed, rather than let these buildings fall into such a state of disgusting repair?
There is something seriously wrong with a Liberal council that expects the vulnerable- the people they should be helping- to bear the brunt of their mistakes. While Steve Hitchins awards himself a pay-rise to £60,000 and his executive £42,000, his residents are finding it hard to even live. But do they care? All 48 councillors were invited to the ILF meeting. But only Dave Barnes, Derek Sawyer and myself (un-elected) turned up to listen to these leaseholders’ concerns. The harsh fact of the matter is that the Liberals do not care about anything- except the cash in the back of their pockets.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Skidmore
Chairman, Islington North Conservatives