DESTRUCTION: Safety Fears With Council Emergency Accommodation

Destruction Leaves Residents In Fear After A Ceiling Collapses

Last year I exposed a similar emergency accommodation story, a families ceiling collapsed due to structural and disrepair issues which almost collapsed in on him. Just one year later the same thing has happened again.

The premises on Westbourne Villas Hove is an Emergency Accommodation building housing  vulnerable people, I was contacted by a concerned resident with these images.

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Four inch thick plaster covering the whole room and soaked in water

One resident said:

They’ve already been and cleaned the flat up and ushered the resident to another building, the clean up has started

I understand the initial fall happened on the Thursday evening, whilst the resident was out.

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Collapsed Ceiling at Baron Homes Emergency Accomodation Building

I was then informed on the Friday that at around 1:30pm in the afternoon, the Emergency Accommodation building began shaking and then another fall happened.

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Two huge holes left after the ceiling collapses

ETHRAG (Emergency And Temporary Housing Residents Action Group) have raised this and other incidents with ward councillor’s Tom Bewick and the lead for homelessness Clare Moonan with the images and our concerns.

Clare Moonan was contacted by ETHRAG and has responded saying:

I will make some enquiries into this property and get back to you.

Emergency Accommodation Tips For The Council

  1. 19-20 Westbourne Villas, Hove needs to be inspected by Health and Safety and Council Structural Surveyors.
  2. The Building needs to be given the green light as safe.
  3. Ward Councillors need to ask for the inspections reports for these properties and see if these issues have been raised previously.
  4. Ward Councillors need to visit the building and talk with residents.
  5. Brighton and Hove City Council need to change the regulations around Temporary Accommodation and require landlords to provide structural surveys to ensure safety standards.

At A Recent Committee Meeting

Watch me ask the question at the Housing & New Homes Committee – Wed, 18th Jan 2017 – 4:00 pm – via the Brighton & Hove City Council Webcasting here.

On the 18th January I asked the council this question:

Can the council explain why they do not request and record structural survey reports for Emergency Accommodation buildings which house the vulnerable?

The Chair Anne Meadows said this

Structural Surveys remain the responsibility of the building owner or head licensee, the contracts contain standards required of the accommodation.

I then raised a further question stating the the Town, Country and Planning Act states that when buildings are listed that its the councils responsibility to enforce action to retain the buildings structure in accordance with the grade listed status.

The response was 

I think we are going to have to get a written response to this, a full written response will be sent on to you. We will circulate the response to all members of the committee.

Basically people they the council are actually liable when these buildings are listed and they knew this, so they accepted it requires a written response, basically I was armed with knowledge know they would provide a pitiful response to my initial response which has to be submitted 7 days before to give them time to respond.

Your supplementary question is hidden and thats the key question in these matters, get the avoidance of responsibility in response to question number one and follow up with a killer question.

The Labour Council Needs To Do More

The images above, this blog and the people out there daily helping others deserve a voice and need to be heard, on some issues we are being heard, quietly! We are actually giving the councillors heads up yet they are still not listening.

The fact is these landlords like Baron Homes, are making over £1100 in total per room when you include management fees, now this regular income spread across literally 100’s of rooms in the city provides a nice regular income, which can be borrowed against and even re-mortgaged.

But the income continues, this capital is then used to buy more buildings and feed the role they now play in society, that is to literally suck the welfare state dry, if you consider tenants are vulnerable and often unemployed then this money is coming from housing benefit money.

The tax payer is paying for this poor practice, which has little regulation and safeguarding in place to protect the vulnerable with a legally binding housing duty, its these people who ultimately suffer and until this council realises this and walks with the people, I fear for the day when we have a catastrophe here in Brighton and Hove and lose lives.

Change needs to happen and it needs to happen fast Labour and Brighton and Hove City Council.

Growing Concerns For A Victim of crime after trail of blood is found leading from emergency accommodation building in Brighton and Hove

As you know I like to set the record straight, I was contacted at 6am this morning from a resident and member of ETHRAG, saying “Someone has been stabbed at the baytree” The Baytree is an Emergency Accommodation Building in Brighton and Hove, recently sold by the Brighton Housing Trust to Lincar Investments Limited.

The Initial Pictures Received From A Distressed Resident

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As you can imagine the accounts and the initial evidence concerned me, there was an incident a few months back where I witnessed somebody jacking up outside this same building and false promises from Angelique Shareholder of Lincar Investments have not helped to prevent this. We were promised CCTV after reports of burglaries and violence to protect the residents.

The Vulnerable residents some 25 or so really have had enough, there is currently no 24 hour staff coverage of this property, which just like percival terrace has no full time manned staff. There is a ban on visitors, which I believe is helping to cause these issues, the company will say the people are vulnerable as do the council and that visitors risk harm to residents, however if they really cared then why has it taken them over one year to fit CCTV?

Yes folks following this incident they have finally fitted CCTV! – tell that to the victims of crime over the last 12 months. The no visitor rule and no 24 hour staff is a result of cut backs, this company receive over £850 a month in payments from Brighton and Hove City Council, plus bonuses so they are quids in, why are they putting profit before people?

Walking up St James’s Street in Kemptown I discovered Blood Trail

Just on the corner of Camelford Street I found a puddle of blood which had dried, I followed the trail some 350 yards to the entrance of the Baytree Emergency Hostel(images below)

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There was a police car on site and a forensic vehicle, I saw a policeman come out and said I was the founder of ETHRAG and received a report of a stabbing, the policeman reported to me it was a burglary, my initial thought was why the blood?

Nonetheless we will find out what happened, residents were concerned for a young female who lived in the room, who has not been seen. The trail of blood ended on Camelford Street in the middle of the road almost as if the person got into a vehicle.

Here is a video I made walking back down St James Street in Brighton and Hove this morning.

Sussex Police have asked anyone who may have witnessed anything or seen anything out of the ordinary to contact 101 quoting reference 118 of the 25/11.

Meeting Tonight

I’ve also been informed that at 6pm tonight residents were invited to percival terrace for a meeting, as of yet I have no details of what the meeting was about, this is because just two weeks ago I was banned from entering any Helgor Trading Limited and Lincar Investments Properties, hopefully I can update later on what has come to light.

Do you Live in Emergency or Temporary Accommodation in Brighton and Hove?

If so ETHRAG is the first residents association in the UK which is specifically for residents living in emergency and temporary accommodation. We started to help provide you with a voice, you can join us by going to our Facebook page or by emailing daniel@survivorblog.co.uk.
Remember together we can change things forever!
I really hope the city council work to come up with a safeguarding policy standard to protect the vulnerably housed in the city and fast, before we have more deaths and victims of crime, in places which are safe and secure.

Damp, Dark & Depressing: Caroline Lucas on Windsor Court Brighton

Today I came across an article related to a visit from the Co Leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas last year, she said

Each of the rooms I’ve seen has been damp, dark, and depressing. The inner courtyard reminds me of a prison with the metal staircases and floors that run off it.

Prison indeed, I remember when I went to Windsor Court to leaflet for ETHRAG, I literally thought of the ITV Prison Drama, Bad Girls.

The Lift was broken and residents informed me that there was a guy in a wheelchair who was stranded and housebound for three weeks.

So why do Brighton and Hove City Council keep trying to place the most vulnerable people in Windsor Court?

Why indeed? – I personally believe that the officers have some connection with the owners, these are the same owners that recently evicted two single mothers.

Bobby Carver, A Paraplegic stranded in a Temporary Accommodation attic flat told me today that Jerry Aldous a Housing Options Manager is trying to house him in Emergency Accommodation, but guess where….. Windsor Court!

He is utterly livid and said “I am in no way moving in there couldn’t even get in the bloody building anyway they can f**k of if they think there moving me into that mould filled drug den”

Bobby went on to say he would “only end up a prisoner in there as well”.

Exciting News

Caroline Lucas and Peter Kyle both MP’s In Brighton and Hove have agreed to meet with ETHRAG residents in a ground breaking move set up and organised by myself to see if we can tackle the issues surrounding Temporary Accommodation.

Do you live in Emergency or Temporary Accommodation?

If you live in Brighton and Hove, you can join ETHRAG! We are a residents association run by people who are insecurely housed.

Check out our Facebook Page for more information.