Residents of a housing block in Red Lion Square have prevailed over the council in a battle over ‘mandatory’ door replacements to their homes.
The council informed residents of Beaconsfield block in late 2020 that all residents’ front doors would be replaced as part of their ‘Better Homes’ scheme, and that any resistance could be met with legal retaliation.
SB was also contacted by residents from Hatton Garden complaining that their windows were being forcibly replaced. Residents of Queen Alexandra Mansions in King’s Cross were told that if their external and internal doors did not conform to fire safety regulations, the council may pursue legal action to ensure their replacement.
Queen Alexandra Mansions is a privately owned mansion block.
Patricia Wager, also chair of the Red Lion Square Gardens TRA, led the attack against council ‘bureaucrats’, who reportedly refused to give any options or explanation as to why doors needed replacing. In response to detailed concerns and queries raised by residents, James Lebens from Camden supplied residents with a summary of works that had already been completed.
She and other residents complained that recent changes to the block had been of an extremely poor quality and were already falling apart.
Councillors were contacted for support but residents complained that little help was forthcoming.
After more than a year of the Door Wars Camden Council called off their pointless attack, informing residents last month that the doors of their block would not be replaced.
It comes as a huge victory for residents who had been embroiled in the row throughout the COVID pandemic.
It is likely that similar changes proposed for the surrounding blocks will now be called off, but residents have warned that this is by no means the end of the story.
The role of Camden as local authority and landlord is surely to promote and protect the right of tenants to the peaceful enjoyment of their own homes. While fire safety regulations are clearly a concern following the Grenfell disaster, the timing and the manner in which Camden has attempted to ‘force’ changes on residents came as a shock.
Residents rightly questioned why non-necessary major works were scheduled during the COVID pandemic, especially when there have been widespread reports of council tenants living in leaky and mouldy flats throughout the borough. Are there not greater priorities than forcibly replacing hundreds of perfectly functioning doors during a natural disaster?
And while residents weren’t opposed to door replacements as a matter of principle, design options presented were inadequate and Camden refused to give residents any input.
Rather than engage in meaningful discussion, residents were ignored and belittled by Camden officers clearly ill-equipped to manage such projects.
Surprisingly, Camden’s officers are finding that masking their incompetence through barrages of bureaucratic and intimidatory emails is not the best way to get things done.
Councillor for Housing Meric Apak has not been contacted for comment.