Council apologises to residents for their failings

October 2023

It's not often that Lambeth Council send senior management to a TRA meeting, but recently they turned up unannounced following the publication of an embarrassing expose by our group in The Guardian. Among those present were Lambeth Area Manager Tunde Akinyooye, surveyor Richard Rivers Simpson, as well as senior representatives from contractor Wates. 

Akinyooye apologised to residents for Lambeth’s poor handling of the THEU members repair and came to the meeting with lots of information on the work the council have been doing on the estate. Contrary to Lambeth’s damp charter, Akinyooye explained that the spread of damp on the estate was due to residents lifestyle issues, with people not opening their windows or drying their clothes in the wrong place, despite the problem clearly being structural. Eventually Akinyooye admitted that the buildings were old and degrading, but said they were too expensive to fix. 

Our members have been requesting the Savills Housing Stock Condition Report, which should reveal the state of social housing in the borough. However, Lambeth have been keeping it close to their chest. At the meeting, they shared one line: "The Stock Condition Survey did not identify any significant component failings needing attention in the next 5-10 years". All this despite Akinyooye's own admittance that the blocks are structurally unsound. 

We have been told that this report would be published by now but unsurprisingly we have yet to see anything. From Lambeth’s continued resistance to sharing the report we can only assume they have something to hide, and that if we do eventually receive the report that it won’t be an unbiased one. We are therefore demanding an Independent Environmental Inspection to give an accurate picture of the structural causes of damp across the Estate.

What we know is that that collective action gets the goods, and that we won’t stop our campaign until Lambeth resolves the structural disrepair for everyone on the estate.