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Scrapping Enfield Homes not the answer to problems, says MP David Burrowes
An Enfield MP says he is “very sceptical” about whether scrapping the body which manages council homes in the borough would improve standards.
Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes said although he had been “very critical” of Enfield Homes – an ‘arms length management organisation’ (ALMO) set up in 2008 to manage 16,600 council homes and improve them – it was management that was the problem.
His comments come days after the Enfield Independent revealed the latest tenant to be living with mould and water problems. Francesca Ahmadi, 54, said living in her Oxford Gardens flat had become “a nightmare” because of the two-year problem spreading across walls and furniture.
Local councillor Glynis Vince has since intervened to take up Miss Ahmadi’s case with Enfield Homes.
Mr Burrowes, who has previously complained about the treatment of tenants in the Ladderswood Estate in New Southgate who have regularly been left without heating or hot water, said Enfield Homes did need improvement.
He added: “I have been critical of Enfield Homes’ performance in the past, especially in places like Ladderswood where people haven’t been given the service they expect and have been left in uninhabitable conditions.
“But I have a long memory and I remember when I was a candidate and a councillor and the problems that we had then that were worse than now.
“The problem is not necessary the ALMO, it’s how it’s being run – funds are tight at the council and with other competing priorities we could end up in an even worse situation.”
Enfield Council is currently running a consultation on whether to abolish the body and bring homes back under council control, with a decision to be taken next month.
Enfield has the second-highest proportion of homes that do not meet the Government’s Decent Homes criteria in the UK, having entered the programme later than most other local authorities.
Winchmore Hill councillor Martin Prescott said Enfield Homes needed to remember that each statistic was “a person or a family living in hell or real difficulty”.
He added: “It’s just not acceptable and they need to pull their finger out.
“My gut feeling is that the ALMO was a good idea and it was done to bring in finance, but I’ve been less than overwhelmed with the management of it.”
The deadline to return questionnaires about whether to abolish Enfield Homes passed yesterday, with market research firm Kwest set to analyse the results and give feedback to the council.