Monday, 2 January 2017


Sarah Paton and
with a chequered past
A woman with a chequered past is always in danger so they say. In danger that her scandalous past will catch up with her. Riverside Housing Association is that woman. Its scandalous past is fast catching up.

The scandal broke four years ago when sixty or so tenants of the Merseyside-based housing association found that their energy bills had started to rocket. They live mainly in Longtown, but  some live in Carlisle and Crosby – on- Eden. The tenants were getting bills of up to £4,000.

It didn`take long before many of them were faced with the terrible  dilemma of no heat, or no eat. No way could they  afford the  rocketing energy bills and also continue to have food on the table.

So they ate, and steeled themselves to freeze in their homes some of them for four winters.

Their continued protests were led by the Carlisle community group, Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation which publishes this blog.

Sadly, the protests achieved nothing. Councillors and M.P`s could do nothing. And three investigations and reports by experts brought in by Riverside achieved nothing. Riverside is accountable to no one and is a law to itself.
COUN GLOVER...grasped the nettle

This is Riverside`s chequered scandalous story that resembles a woman (or a man) with a chequered past.

That chequered scandalous story which was continuously pushed into the long grass by Riverside for weeks and years went on until last year.

 Fortunately then, from out of the long grass a nettle was grasped by Carlisle City Council, the tenants` local authority admirably led in this instance by the Leader, Councillor Colin Glover.

The council had  no power to put things right.  But a continued build-up of complaints about Riverside, plus a professional council examination of those experts` reports on the heating installations has led to a significant  conclusion by the council

The conclusion is this: there is nothing wrong with the heating equipment. What is wrong is that Riverside had neither given proper consideration to the structure of the houses, nor given proper consideration to the needs of the tenants.

That significant conclusion is almost identical to the conclusion of one those reports commissioned by Riverside. That report is called the Avoca report .

The Avoca report was the first of three reports about the heating problems and was published  about a year after the problems emerged. That publication was three years ago.

Significantly at that time, the tenants said the Avoca report was spot on in its diagnosis of the problem and the remedy.

Now no doubt, the tenants - backed  Avoca report is gathering dust in the files of Ms Sarah Paton, Riverside`s new North Regional Director and the new boss of Riverside in Carlisle.

Hopefully, the Avoca report will now be brought back to life following the welcome and praiseworthy city council intervention.

Hopefully, the Avoca report will now be acted upon.

Hopefully too, full details will then emerge of that chequered scandalous story.

All this after a year that gave us Donald Trump, Brexit and Ed Balls on Strictly.

 Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation publishes this blog. Information about the Federation is available on 01228 522277 or 01228 532803.

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