Residents stood up by councillor who failed to appear at meeting

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter 

A Lambeth resident who had come to speak to a councillor about his £7,000 per year service charge bill was left hanging after she didn’t turn up to her advertised surgery.

The resident, who declined to give his name, was one of three people left in the lurch after Councillor Maria Kay, Labour member for Brixton Acre Lane, missed her monthly meeting with residents on Monday evening.

The man had travelled to Lambeth Town Hall, in Brixton, to meet with Cllr Kay, cabinet member for better homes and reducing homelessness, after she allegedly failed to respond to his emails. But he was left disappointed when Cllr Kay and her ward colleagues, Cllr David Bridson and Cllr Sarbaz Barznji, failed to make an appearance at the scheduled surgery.

He said: “It was a wasted journey really. I’m a leaseholder and I’m in the Lambeth Homeowners’ Association. We’ve been trying to engage with Maria Kay about housing and the enormous service charges that people have.

Maria Kay, councillor for Brixton Acre Lane and cabinet member for better homes and reducing homelessness (Picture: Lambeth council)

“When I arrived there was another guy looking to speak to Maria. The reception was closed and the security guard radioed through. He didn’t seem clear that there should be anyone holding the surgery.

“A third person turned up for the surgery and Cllr Dr Hashi was in the lobby and heard us speaking. He was getting a takeaway and messaged the three councillors.

“Bridson was on holiday in Portugal, the Mayor, Barznji, was otherwise engaged and they never heard back from Maria Kay.”

Cllr Bridson said he and Cllr Kay had pre-arranged leave and Cllr Barznji had a mayoral engagement. Cllr Bridson said that surgery dates were printed on distributed leaflets ‘so it is hard to rearrange times.

“Cllr Hashi covered our surgery on April 15. We received detailed notes from Cllr Hashi the following day.

“Cllr Hashi saw two cases on our behalf, one was about bin collections, the other was from the Lambeth Homeowners’ Association, who I understand is not a resident in Brixton Acre Lane and instead wanted to speak to a cabinet member.

“This is not the appropriate format for organisations to engage with cabinet members. Our ward advice surgeries are for Brixton Acre Lane residents only.”

Pictured top: Maria Kay, councillor for Brixton Acre Lane and cabinet member for better homes and reducing homelessness (Picture: Lambeth council)

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