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What the mayor of Tower Hamlets would like to do to the East End’s ‘neighbours from hell’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:14 24 September 2020

Mayor John Biggs... Those who harrasses neighbours should forfeit social housing.

Mayor John Biggs... Those who harrasses neighbours should forfeit social housing." Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

A warning shot has been fired on “neighbours from hell” by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets that they should “forfeit the right” to a council home.

Town hall deleting 1,500 from housing waiting list at a stroke. Picture: Mike BrookeTown hall deleting 1,500 from housing waiting list at a stroke. Picture: Mike Brooke

John Biggs has put anti-social tenants “on notice” that they don’t deserve “social” housing.

It came in a housing allocation report at last night’s cabinet meeting and the effects of removing 1,500 mainly single people from the 19,000-long waiting list proposed last year who were deemed no longer eligible on a need criteria.

There was a shortage of properties—with the implication that some were occupied by undesirable tenants who shouldn’t be there.

“Someone who harrasses their neighbours should forfeit their right to social housing,” the mayor told his cabinet.

Cllr Peter Golds... Cllr Peter Golds... "This is an urgent issue of humanity." Picture: Mike Brooke

The remark came after Cllr Peter Golds cited an example of an anti-social tenant on the Isle of Dogs causing harrassment who didn’t deserve her social tenancy.

Cllr Golds told the cabinet: “A vulnerable woman moved into an estate only to discover from the social landlord that the previous tenant had to quit after being driven out by the neighbour from hell.

“She is living a life of hell while the ‘neighbour from hell’ is living in a desiarble property.

“The police had even issued order against the neighbour but she had remained for years.”

Cllr Motin Uz-Zaman... Cllr Motin Uz-Zaman... "These people should go back on the register as many on low income have to pay high rent." Picture: Mike Brooke

The controversial removal of single people from the waiting list who no longer met the “needs criteria” brought a backlash when 70 per cent of a public consultation which attracted 8,000 responses was against the removals, the cabinet heard.

Removals from the waiting list gave them little chance of being rehoused and didn’t help their aspirations of one day having a home of their own.

Cllr Motin Uz-Zaman urged the mayor: “These people should go back on the register as a priority. Many on low income are having to pay high rent.”

But mayor Biggs, who was once given a one-bed “hard to let” council flat as a key worker in a Stepney school when he first arrived in the East End 30 years ago, was cautious about the suggestion.

He said: “Those with hopes that they might get rehoused were lulled into false expectation if it wasn’t followed through.”

The housing list might get shorter on paper—but to Cllr Golds, having imovable “neighbours from hell” holding on to desirable property didn’t help.


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