Connect with us

Exclusive

Councillor exposes Ely ‘house of horrors’

Avatar photo

Published

on

An Ely councillor described his horror at the condition of a house let by a housing association and for which the tenant is already paying rent.

“To register my alarm at the standard of housing offered, contractually signed for and for which she is paying, would be an understatement,” Cllr Rob Pitt told Sanctuary Housing.

https://twitter.com/robpittely/status/1577597349467242498?s=20&t=lUZGk–1yLkMlh-jCpLmzg

 

“Whilst I recognise, we are not monsters who would wish to deliver something to our fellow human beings that is wilfully harmful, we should feel a sense of collective shame for the failings that have led to the situation in which she finds herself. 

Advertisements
Pictures

Cllr Rob Pitt: “Without recalling my combat experiences in Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I’m at a loss as to how to describe what I’ve seen here – in Ely – this morning.”

“I would also highlight that at the human level this is causing extreme distress, family harm and financial hardship to a woman who is trying her hardest to maintain a business that supports people in Ely and on which she has aligned her entire future.”

He added: “I’m less concerned over accusations- we need to act quickly to support her, but also ensure this isn’t repeated. The corollaries of this failure are more than just inconvenience and a loss of dignity. 

Cllr Rob Pitt: “Without recalling my combat experiences in Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I’m at a loss as to how to describe what I’ve seen here – in Ely – this morning.”

“They are as stark a real world set of issues as it gets.  My view is that a chance association and desperate conversation with a minor local councillor being the only hope a vulnerable member of our city has to save herself and her family from something like this, is not acceptable. “

Cllr Pitt explained to Sanctuary that the resident had been in temporary mobile housing with friends prior to being offered the house.  

Cllr Rob Pitt: “Without recalling my combat experiences in Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I’m at a loss as to how to describe what I’ve seen here – in Ely – this morning.”

He explained the background to the tenant who has two children to support.       

Cllr Pitt said he was grateful for council housing officers moving quickly with her case.

But he says the house offered to the woman “in my view is a risk to life, health and cannot in its present state support any human habitation”.

Cllr Rob Pitt: “Without recalling my combat experiences in Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I’m at a loss as to how to describe what I’ve seen here – in Ely – this morning.”

Cllr Pitt said East Cambridgeshire District Council environmental health had agreed to investigate.

“Let me be clear however, the horror film like state of this house is beyond stark and utterly unsuitable for adult use, much less with children,” he said.

Cllr Rob Pitt: “Without recalling my combat experiences in Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I’m at a loss as to how to describe what I’ve seen here – in Ely – this morning.”

“Without recalling my combat experiences in Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I’m at a loss as to how to describe what I’ve seen here – in Ely – this morning.  

“Let me try.  

“Immediately noticeable, it is dank, dirty, hollow and in ill repair. 

“It is carpet less and well-rotted, with decaying wood fixtures in windows and skirting, filthy despite the resident spending all weekend trying to clean and paint for habitation to her absolute exhaustion, endemic mould, obvious water damage, failing chunks of plaster falling from the walls and questionable plumbing. 

Cllr Rob Pitt: “Without recalling my combat experiences in Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I’m at a loss as to how to describe what I’ve seen here – in Ely – this morning.”

“The damp and mould, which have been partly painted over, alone are a risk to health.  

“On further investigation the toilet when flushed sends its contents into the bath. 

“The water from the sinks cannot run into the drainage system owing to blockages and therefore runs into the path and turf at the rear of the property. 

“New doors hung with zero care for their size or placement are literally butted against light switches when closing is attempted. 

“If forcibly closed with some effort, it would be rendered subsequently un-openable creating in effect a locked door – an unthinkable fire hazard/trap in the room in which one of the children would have been situated.  

Advertisements
canopyuk.com in-article
Cllr Rob Pitt: “Without recalling my combat experiences in Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I’m at a loss as to how to describe what I’ve seen here – in Ely – this morning.”

“Plaster throughout the house is simply falling away from the walls.  Understandably and not unreasonably she is concerned it may simply fall on her children as they sleep or play. 

“There is obvious unattended or unrectified water damage visible on the ceilings and I state again for impact, the entire property barring its exterior front is ingrained with filth. 

Cllr Rob Pitt: “Without recalling my combat experiences in Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I’m at a loss as to how to describe what I’ve seen here – in Ely – this morning.”

“Floorboards are mouldy and rotten, with window surrounds decaying away from the UPVC fixtures.”

Cllr Pitt said: “I’m struggling to imagine how this house, for which the constituent is already paying rent for, corresponds to service level agreements/KPIs/contractual obligations in place between Sanctuary and ECDC. 

“Whilst I’m assured this is an unusual incident, we need action now to rectify it.  

“On an interpersonal level, I am led to believe, admittedly from only one source, that unknown staff visiting the house have been verbally abusive, dismissive, or pressurising towards resident on expressing her reasonable unhappiness with this situation. 

“If this is true it suggests a problem with the way in which staff are treating people entering sheltered or social housing with a preponderance toward coldness, shaming and pressure – all abusive behaviours. 

“I am also anecdotally made aware that the staff acting with insensitivity or hostility when visiting the property have suddenly changed when NHS staff arrived owing to resident requiring their support due to breakdown because of this situation. 

“I appreciate this is a subjective, second-hand representation however to say I’m concerned over behaviours, cultures and what we deem acceptable as we try and support the most vulnerable in our society is understating the matter.”

Cllr Pitt says his immediate concern is to enable the resident “to achieve some stability in Ely. 

“Given the severity of this situation and the factors surrounding it as I’ve explained herein, a better solution must be found as soon as possible. 

“She is currently paying for something that is unreasonable and she cannot move in, is losing money at her business which requires her physical attention and more broadly the situation with this house is frightening her children. 

“Sanctuary and ECDC need to investigate this property fully to prove it is safe and aligns to the contracted standards.

“The property be subsequently made safe before future habitation.”

Cllr Pitt also wants re assurance “situations such as this do not present in future”.

In a letter seen by CambsNewsOnline, Sanctuary Housing has promised an early response.

“I have spoken to our repairs team managers to understand more of what has occurred,” Nathan Barlow, area manager (housing) for Sanctuary wrote in a letter to councillors yesterday (Tuesday).

“I am advised that our repairs team attended earlier than agreed and then left site as there was nobody there to give them access.

“I can only apologise for this. Their manager has spoken to them, and they will be returning tomorrow along with Paul Bestley, Operations Manager for Repairs and Voids.”

Facebook

Read More