Residents on troubled estate slam ‘shoddy’ response from council chief

Dawn Carter-McDonald

Hackney Council chief executive Dawn Carter-McDonald. Photograph: Hackney Council

Residents of Pitcairn House have slammed the council chief executive’s “shoddy” response to their request for major repair works.

Town Hall boss Dawn Carter-McDonald was shown around the estate last month by people living there.

She was filled in on a litany of issues, including leaks, broken alarms, botched repairs, and exposed electrics.

In a letter to residents following that visit, Carter-McDonald wrote: “I am sorry for the impact these [issues] are having on your quality of life.

“But I left with a commitment to ensure we address them as quickly as possible and ensure we keep you informed throughout.”

The chief executive has also promised a stock condition survey of the building “between July and September 2024, with a key focus on the issues raised by residents at the visit, including leaks”.

She added that the lifts, which according to residents are “rarely working properly”, have been “put on the priority list for renewal”.

“However, in the spirit of transparency, unfortunately this work is likely to be carried out next year,” she continued.

She also addressed problems with door entries, car park lighting, rough sleepers, cleaning, and the reporting of repairs.

But the letter has not gone down particularly well.

“Once again, it feels like a woefully inadequate response to our housing situation,” said a residents’ representative.

“I want to make it clear that we’re happy to have received the letter, which gives us a timescale and commitment in writing to a stock condition survey of the building, but everything else is pretty shoddy.”

They added: “Even in this letter, they’ve not responded to our full list of complaints, and insinuating that residents don’t understand the reporting process is extremely patronising.

“It misses the point that the whole issue is that, time and time again, residents are reporting these chronic issues to no avail – it’s like being gaslighted.

“Again, I’m glad we’ve got a formal apology, in writing, but there are still issues that Carter-McDonald is saying she’ll get back to us on.

“She’s the CEO of the council – if she really wanted to, she could have answers on her desk within 20 minutes.”

Residents have confirmed that they will be formally responding to Carter-McDonald’s letter.