Wednesday, 8 August 2018


Councillors gear up to fight for democracy

The Statue of Liberty isolated on white Stock Photo - 9869401

 The fight for democracy goes on for 6,000  frustrated and voiceless tenants and leaseholders .

Last month, this blog  reported that new arrangements  were underway that might help these Carlisle  homeowners. But sceptics  warned against too much optimism saying: “Don`t hold your breath”.

Now, following a city council debate there is new hope that  the fight for democracy will succeed.

The 6,000 have long-standing problems with the giant Riverside Housing Association of Liverpool and  city council members are gearing up with ways to help.

That help - plans to give the tenants and leaseholders a voice- were discussed last month by the council`s Economic Growth Scrutiny Panel and because the panel was not satisfied with the plans, they were put on hold for further discussion.

Weeks before the panel debate the Doubting Thomases had been saying: “Don`t hold your breath.”They recalled that the problems with Riverside date back 16 years, to the date the  housing association  took over the city`s council houses and abolished democracy- the democratic tenants` groups were got rid of.

Since then tenants and leaseholders have had no democratic voice and city councillors over the years who tried to help ran into great difficulties with Riverside.

So, what happened at the panel debate? The case for the 6,000 voiceless tenants and leaseholders was put, first by Councillor Robert Betton(left}.”We need to know what representation there will be for  tenants and leaseholders under the planned Riverside Regional Liaison Group" he said.”There is no formal structure of tenant representation".

The liaison group is planned to replace the now abandoned  and ineffective Carlisle Riverside Divisional Board which attracted much criticism over the years.

Councillor Michael Mitchelson wondered if the liaison group  would have  any teeth- “or would it be simply  a talking shop?”he asked.

Councillor Mitchelson  also wondered if tenants would be allowed to sit on the liaison group. If not would they be able to attend the group meetings? 
Councillor Anne Glendinning(right), the council`s cabinet member for housing  foresaw difficulties.”We have not had a good relationship with Riverside for a number of years” she said.

The panel  is to  discuss  the  Regional Liaison  Group  again before it is finally accepted by the council.

Meanwhile the panel recommended that the group should be named the Carlisle Liaison Group. The panel also recommended that the group should have a “mechanism for tenant involvement”.

Once again, don`t hold your breath.

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

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