Pensioner slams Brent Council over 'hell' housing
- Credit: Nathalie Raffray
An 82-year- old pensioner has slammed Brent Council for the state of her home and estate in Stonebridge.
Myrtle Jackson, who lives in Amundsen House, in Stonebridge Park, has written to three chief executives in the last 16 years and is yet to hear from Brent's housing ombudsman.
For the last 30 years the housing block, owned by the council, has had no housing officer assigned to it nor caretaker, she said.
"I have been living in hell since I moved into my flat. My health has been seriously affected and the whole situation has had a very significant impact on my quality of life," she said.
Myrtle said she has been mugged three times.
"The last mugging was two years ago when my handbag was stolen," she said.
"We have to carry the rubbish down to the ground floor because the chute has been blocked because drug dealers have been sleeping in there and now they sleep on the stairs.
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"Many times I want to go and get some shopping I can't go. They come in the block, five or six, and they are big men. Every time I have to put something behind my door because of the smell of the drugs.
"And the lifts aren't clean."
Myrtle moved into the estate in 1975. She said she went without proper heating from 2003 until the boiler was replaced in 2020.
Of the estate she says it's like "living in the middle of a construction site" with "large amounts of debris, waste and dust, noise and disruption".
She endured "substantial stress" relating to a water leak which "was assumed by the council to originate in my flat'.
Following "numerous visits" it was established the leak came from upstairs she said: "I was left with a damaged entrance door and a ruined wall."
She wrote to chief executive Carolyn Downs in 2018 and said she received no response.
A Housing Ombudsmen Service spokesperson confirmed it is dealing with Mrytle's case and is "currently in our formal investigation stage".
"We can’t provide any further details at this stage as it is a live case and the information is confidential," they added.
"If we find evidence of service failure when we investigate a complaint we will order the landlord to take action to put things right."
Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council's lead member for housing & welfare reform, said: "I'm very sorry to hear about the problems Mrs Jackson has had with antisocial behaviour around Amundsen House.
"A member of our housing team is visiting Mrs Jackson next week to discuss her concerns, and we will do all we can to help.
“We clean this site once a week and always do our utmost to provide our tenants with a clean and safe environment.
"In light of the concerns raised, we have prioritised Amundsen House for a deep clean next month, including extra window cleaning for communal windows.
"We also plan to redecorate the internal communal areas to brighten them up and hopefully make the block feel safer for tenants."
She added: "The scaffolding was put up recently to allow us to carry out some essential maintenance works and will come down once complete.
"Unfortunately, we can't put off essential improvements, but I do apologise for the temporary inconvenience to residents in the block.
"While we understand Mrs Jackson's [also has] concerns about asbestos, we can confirm that any such materials are in areas within the block that are not accessible to residents.
"We will continue to monitor and manage these areas in line with current guidelines."