Croydon councillor apologises for “unacceptable” housing after ITV News piece

By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

Croydon council tenants have been ignored.

This was the admission of beleaguered council leader Hamida Ali as she sought to apologise for the terrible situation some have been living in.

But the Labour politician refused to step down as leader of the council, a position she has held since October 2020.

Walls thick with mould and soaking wet floors were exposed in an ITV News piece last week at a block in Regina Road, South Norwood.

The two worst-affected residents have now been moved – a mum with two children, who had been confined to one room, has been given a new place to live.

At a council meeting last night councillor Ali said: “In the past 10 days we’ve heard and seen dreadful examples of housing conditions. These properties aren’t just bricks and mortar they are people’s homes.”

She described a visit to one of these flats last week as “unacceptable and deeply upsetting” and offered her “most profound apology”.

And cllr Ali said since the situation in South Norwood a common theme of council residents coming forward is that they have not been listened to.

She added: “The idea that this could possibly happen on our watch is both repellent and unimaginable.

“We won’t wait for years to fix it, we will start fixing it now, we have to repair our relationship with council residents.”

An investigation into just what went wrong has now been launched and conditions at other tower blocks across the borough are being looked into.

In the public questions section of the meeting she was asked whether she will be stepping down as leader of the council.

Cllr Ali said that despite letting down Regina Road residents the council would now “do it’s utmost” to make sure residents are heard.

She added that under her leadership the council has “started to put things right” delivering a balanced budget this month.

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