Playden housing association tenants’ future no clearer

Orbit refurbished the house on the left but left the others, it is claimed
Orbit refurbished the house on the left but left the others, it is claimed

Housing association residents in Playden who were told they were being relocated six months ago still have no idea what the future holds.

Tenants of Hilltop, in Playden, were told by Orbit South in July their home was being sold and everyone had to leave.

Resident James Arter said they have been offered three new places since then and heard barely anything from the association.

“It’s still a huge mess – everyday we take as an uncertainty,” he said.

“For me it’s a big worry and I’m sick to death of not knowing what’s going on.”

Mr Arter said it was a ‘kick in the teeth’ when the flat next door to them has been completely refurbished by Orbit because of an enforcement notice, but Orbit said it was just to make the property safe.

Phone records Mr Arter obtained through a freedom of information request show Orbit also assured him in May it categorically would not be selling Hilltop. He said this proves they are liars.

The tenants lie just within MP Huw Merriman’s constituency and he used their case as an example in a speech in the House of Commons today (Wednesday, January 27).

Speaking during a debate on housing benefits, Mr Merriman said the government’s new rights for tenants to be relocated ‘to their satisfaction’ should help them.

“At a time when this government is giving tenants in housing associations a right to buy their property, I was staggered that these residents, who work in their town, educate their children in their town and volunteer in their town, in one case on a lifeboat, could actually lose their homes,” he said.

He added: “I use this example because I feel it essential, in circumstances where this government is rightly giving rights to tenants to buy their own housing association properties, that the law of unintended consequences does not kick in to deprive tenants of these new rights.”

Orbit’s director of operations Elaine Johnston said: “Our priority is always for the safety of our customers.

“The repairs we made to one of the properties were to make the property safe until alternative accommodation could be found, it was not a refurbishment.

“Everyone at Hill Top Drive has individual circumstances and our housing officer is working directly with each household on a one-to-one basis to find a solution that works best for that particular family.

“As a result, Orbit has been able to provide some households with more alternative offers of accommodation than others, but we want to reassure everyone that we are working hard to increase the available housing options for everyone.”

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.ryeandbattleobserver.co.uk/

2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RyeandBattleObserver

3) Follow us on Twitter Text to display

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Rye and Battle Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.