By Victoria Mckeown-
A resident of Croydon Council has revealed the shocking failing of Croydon Council which caused him mental health issues during the three lockdowns in the UK.
Christopher Poku from South Norwood has revealed the enormous stress that heightened mental health issues for him after he constantly ignored when he reporting leaks in his bathroom for the past two years .
The 46-year-old civil enforcement officer has now gone pubic about the awful state of his flat which he says caused him extreme depression during the three lockdown periods in the UK in 2020.
Shocking footage of soaking wet floors and walls thick with mould was shown on ITV News last month in March , leading to a national conversation about the state of council housing in Britain.
The footage exposed the shocking failings in Croydon Council in dealing with its constituents.
Last year Mr Poku spent £900 on having a new bathroom fitted which has now been ruined by persistent leaks.
“I feel very depressed because I’ve had the place fitted, and Croydon Council have let me down,” Mr Poku said. “I did it myself because the council said I would not be eligible for a new bathroom until 2024.”
The awful conditions of housing where he lives in Regina Road was exposed in an ITV report this year.
Mr Poku says he was visited by council staff last week and assured her the problems will be fixed.
He said: “It is terrible I had to wait for this long, they knew that people have been complaining for a long time, they knew there is a problem.
“I think they are making an effort and trying to listen to people now but I am disappointed it has taken this long.”
Croydon Council launched an investigation into the failings that troubled numerous residents, but have said the report will not be released to the public until after May 6, the day of local elections. Residents are discontent with the failings, viewed as an excuse not to be accountable with their grose incompetence.
Accusations of a cover-up by opposition councillors have been ranging among residents, but the council says pre-election rules means it cannot publish the information yet.
Since the failings of the council were exposed, a new community group has been set up to represent residents.
In an open letter, Regina Road Residents Support Group slammed council leader Hamida Ali for not engaging with residents on the issues they are facing.
It said: “What happened to the downstairs flat was the tip of the iceberg of the conditions we have been living in for years. We keep being told they are fixable but your repairs are just a sticking plaster over serious, structural issues with the blocks.”
They say that they feel ignored and “left in limbo” and have demanded a meeting with the council leader.
Council leader, Hamida Ali, the leader of the council, has been accused by vulnerable residents of breaking her promises and covering up the potentially explosive findings of a report into the circumstances which led to dozens of council tenants having to endure “appalling” conditions in their homes in South Norwood.
Dozens of tenants complained that their appeals and complaints had been ignored by the Labour-controlled council, and by their councillors.
Following the broadcast, Ali’s response in her latest car crash interview was to apologise on national television and promise an “urgent” investigation into the affair. She said that the report would be completed in two weeks.
The beleaguered leader is withholding the findings for at least three weeks – conveniently until after local elections next month.
Last February, our senior officers at troubled Croydon LBC have been suspended following a report into “management actions”.
Under Fire: Hamida Ali
Director of finance Lisa Taylor, executive director of place Shifa Mustafa, executive director of localities Hazel Simmonds and executive director of health, wellbeing and adults Guy Van Dichele are all understood to have been suspended from their duties today.
Director Of Finance: Lisa Taylor
This month, the borough’s solicitor, Jacqueline Harris-Baker resigned due to the embarrassing failings in Croydon Council.
Harris-Baker had been on sick leave from since early February, at the same time that Kerswell suspended four other of the council’s most senior employees after having received the Penn Report into possible wrong-doing at the council. Having commissioned the Penn Report, with the help of the Local Government Association, Kerswell has never allowed it to be published.
Jacqueline Harris Baker Image: Inside Croydon.Com
In early 2019, Negrini had promoted Harris-Baker to executive director of resources, a position for which she was widely considered to be under-qualified.
Harris-Baker was unfit to be the borough’s Section 151 officer- a finance position required by law. Within two years of Harris-Baker being appointed to her new post, the authority was issuing the dread Section 114 notice, effectively admitting it was bankrupt.
A Croydon council spokesperson said the council is now in contact with the group.
A statement from the council read: “We carried out door-to-door checks on all flats in this block in March to address any outstanding historic repair issues, and these have either been already done or are scheduled to be done.”