The independent London newspaper

Local people must foot the bill for the council’s failures

10 September, 2021

• TO describe the Community Investment Programme in Gospel Oak and Haverstock as a catastrophe and shambles would be a massive understatement.

Your columns have repeatedly listed the effects. Fewer overall council rent homes, fewer small workshops, community facilities, the near closure of the food bank, the closure of Carlton school, people with disabilities having their movements severely disrupted, and retail businesses losing income.

Consultation is a joke with currently multiple consultancy firms, as well as the council, asking the same questions. Much is also online, but an estimated 25 per cent of residents do not have internet access.

On the vital issue of road closures, the council held a virtual meeting, but residents and traders were not allowed to speak.

We are now about to have yet another round of consultations on the “vision” for our area supposedly produced by 30 unknown “community representatives” but actually by council officers and consultants.

But who has benefited? Our attempts to get the names and costs of the [?] 13 consultants and fee-charging employment agencies are ignored by the council.

We do know that three of the firms were paid about £100,000 in total. The so-called trial in the crescent is costing £150,000.

We understand that at least six people are employed on zero-hours contracts from agencies, some in these in posts for years but with few employment rights.

Oh, I forgot, mysterious white lines painted on the crescent, a book exchange, and the painting of shop shutters previously gang- tagged. The irony is that local people are paying for all of this.

If I have got it wrong can somebody from the council explain?



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