Kilburn pensioner, 84, says looming eviction ‘is killing me’
- Credit: Archant
An 84-year-old mother says the looming eviction of her family from their Kilburn home is killing her as she accuses the council of “throwing them away”.
Nancy and Carlton Medwynter, and their carer son Antonio Philandio, have a court order to quit their two-bedroom flat in Hereford House, Carlton Vale, on June 6.
The family have known since 1984 that one day they must leave their home of 45 years to make way for the new South Kilburn Regeneration project.
But the replacement flat they have been offered is not what the council, their landlord, promised.
In June 2017 they were offered a two-bedroom flat in Kilburn Park Road, managed by Network Homes, that was “much too small” for three people – so they rejected it.
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Son Antonio, a designer, said: “They are throwing away all our tenants’ rights, including our right to a suitable home, with a secure tenancy. If the flat they offered was suitable, we wouldn’t be here.”
A second offer was made three months later to move to Alpha House, another block earmarked for demolition, which they rejected.
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A court hearing in March ruled in Brent Council’s favour, saying the town hall could repossess the property and find a suitable property for the family. But the council now insists the family have accepted the flat they refused in Kilburn Park Road.
They appealed to Cllr Margaret McLennan, former regeneration chief, now deputy leader of the council, at a meeting on April 17.
Nancy, who has to take seven different medications a day for various health conditions, said: “The pressure of all this is killing me. I don’t know how much more I can take. They made me believe I’d be moving near the church in Cambridge Road. I was so surprised when I received a letter saying I had agreed [to take the flat in Kilburn Park Road].
“My doctor is warning me to be careful. He said my blood pressure is too high and I risk having a stroke.”
Nancy and her husband Carlton, 81, are both active within their community. Last year, wearing hard hats and protective clothing, they helped with the regeneration of the park in nearby Denmark Road, and their photographs used in all Brent’s advertising campaigns.
The former Marks & Spencer worker added: “We volunteer with Brent. We work in the community. Why are they pushing us out now? If we don’t take that flat we will end up on the street.”
Carlton, 81, with medical issues of his own, could only add: “I’m not feeling good about it.”
Son Antonio, added: “They tell us if we don’t take the property, that’s it, if we don’t take the property we’ll be out on the streets.”
He added: “When you try to approach the council and try to speak to them they don’t want to listen. Phone calls go astray, emails go astray.”
Family friend Nebil Benali, a former Hereford House tenant who has been rehoused in Cambridge Road, said: “I am very shocked the council won’t give them a flat. They always said they were prioritising old people and disabled people.
“Hereford and Exeter Court tenants were told we’d be given flats the same size or bigger. I turned down a much smaller flat in Queen’s Park and finally I’m in a better, bigger flat. Some people have turned down five flats. Some families who had secure tenancies for just 10 years were given good places. I don’t know why the council is doing this to them.”
Cllr Shama Tatler, Brent Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “As part of the programme to regenerate South Kilburn and create new homes and public facilities, the council has been working with Mrs Medwynter and her family for more than three years to find her alternative accommodation.
“Having made repeated efforts to resolve the situation with Mrs Medwynter’s legal representative, the council was left with little alternative but to go to court and the judge agreed that the council’s offer was fair and suitable for Mrs Medwynter’s needs.
“I am keen to work with Mrs Medwynter and her family to try to resolve the situation once and for all and avoid the possibility of a forced eviction. I am confident that we can.”
A spokeswoman added that Cllr Tatler has offered to meet Mrs Medwynter this week with a view to avoiding the eviction on June 6 but if she refuses the offer, the “council is entitled to enforce possession although this would be a last resort.”