An attempt was made to call Pavilion to request they send a plumber or heating engineer to fix the problem. A call to their office and nothing but a telephone message to say the office was shut and another number to call. The other number was called, no response. It was Friday 2 January 2009. Not a Bank Holiday. Pavilion should provide out of hours support, but obviously not.
The local council, the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, was contacted. The chief executive Andrew Lloyd was away on leave until 5 January 2009, leaving only a middle ranking employee in charge. The council head of housing was not available either, a useless junior member of staff was in charge. She chose to do nothing to get the heating back on and up and running. She chose to do nothing in the full knowledge that an elderly couple in their nineties would be left all weekend without heating when the nighttime temperature was forecast to be well below zero and the daytime temperature barely above zero.
The local ward councillor was contacted. He asked what he could do, was not not interested and anyway he had family visiting.
The portfolio holder for housing was contacted. He was not interested either, did not want to know, until it was pointed out to him he would be referred to the Standards Board for his callous behaviour. Only then did he agree to contact the council, and only then to cover his own backside. Asked to call the son of the elderly couple he refused as it would cost cost him to make the call. He gets a substantial allowance as a councillor, but where would be the profit in spending it to deal with problems faced by local residents, even if it means a couple in their nineties being left to freeze to death in sub-zero temperatures?
The elderly couple are both aged 93. The husband is dying in hospital. The wife is blind.
Is this how we treat our elderly? Left to die in a freezing cold house?
What beggars belief is that only a few weeks earlier Rushmoor councillors fell over backwards to heap praise on Pavilion and before he took his days off leaving no one senior in charge chief executive Andrew Lloyd bitterly complained that he could not understand why his housing department was being subjected to criticism as in his view (though no one else) they were a highly professional team!
Last summer, Andrew Lloyd was persuaded with some difficulty to look round one of the Pavilion slum estates in Aldershot after he made ill-informed comments that Pavilion were doing a good job. He has failed to follow through. He has all the time in the world for big developers but no time to spare for local residents.
In Lincoln, tenants of Longhurst Homes Housing Association lack central heating, instead are forced to rely upon storage heaters. A low cost option for the housing association to install but not low cost for their tenants to run. With heating bills running at 50 a week, those on benefits or low income cannot afford to heat their homes.
Housing associations are the new Rachman landlords, high rents, low quality housing, poor service, lack of accountability. A warning to any council tenant foolish enough to believe that conditions will improve if they vote for the privatisation of council housing stock.
reference and background
Keith Parkins, Pavilion threaten to evict disabled woman, Indymedia UK, 3 November 2008
Louise Wallace, 'We just cannot afford to heat these homes', Lincolnshire Echo, 2 January 2008