Mr.Rory Stewart M.P. wants no further delay by Riverside Housing Association in settling the two-year solar panel heating dispute with its Longtown (Cumbria) tenants, he said today in a message to the tenants.
The Penrith and The Border M.P., who continues to express full support for the tenants, said he had been discussing with Riverside the latest development- a second independent report on the dispute.
The report has been commissioned by the Liverpool-based housing association and is due to be published this month.
Mr Stewart says he is seeking a definitive end to the problem.His message is in an email to Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation which is backing the tenants and acting for them.
Mr Stewart says:“I have asked to be kept updated on when this second report is released and hope to meet Mr Butterworth, the Riverside regional director soon afterwards to discuss what will subsequently be done to address this issue definitively and without further delay.”
Mr Stewart`s message will be a boost to the estimated 60 tenants at the third meeting next Tuesday of their Longtown Action for Heat support group which is fighting for heating they can afford in the homes they rent from Riverside.
The tenants say they have had two winters without heat they can afford –in the face of rocketing energy bills-and dread the prospect of a third winter.
Riverside is also facing strong criticism from Dalston Carlisle city councillor Michael
Gee who is campaigning against what he calls “the authoritarian culture of Riverside”.
Councillor Gee asked about this culture last week at a meeting of the city council`s Community Overview and Scrutiny Panel when he said that Riverside leaseholders in Dalston were unable to get answers to letters to association.
The leaseholders were unable to cope with the situation and had asked him to act for them, he said.
He said he had met Mr Butterworth who had told him that the culture of Riverside needed to be changed and he had been attempting to change this culture among the Riverside staff since his arrival in Carlisle nearly a year ago.
Mr Gee got an assurance from the Riverside Head of Operations, Mr Paul Taylor that Mr Butterworth would continue to attempt to change the culture.
After the meeting Mr Gee said that Riverside was too authoritarian. He said the authoritarian attitude of the staff needed to change.”For too long the attitude has been” We are the great Riverside and we are here.”
Mr Gee said he had been contacted by many Riverside leaseholders and tenants “ from all over Carlisle and district” with complaints about Riverside and was determined to find out what was happening within the organisation.
There was also complaints about the charges being made by Riverside which needed to be investigated.
ISSUED BY CARLISLE TENANTS AND RESIDENTS`FEDERATION
August 5 2014