‘Filthy, unmanaged and neglected’: Hackney residents march on Town Hall to protest living conditions on their estate

Exbury House residents on the Town Hall steps. Photograph: courtesy Acorn Hackney

A group of Hackney residents marched on the Town Hall recently to demand an end to longstanding disrepair and accessibility issues on their council estate.

Twenty people from Exbury House, part of the Frampton Park Estate, held up placards that read ‘Fix our block’ and ‘Hackney Council, shame on you’.

They were joined by members of community union Acorn Hackney.

A small number of the protesters attempted to enter the council building to speak to Mayor Caroline Woodley.

They were refused entry and were informed that nobody from the mayor’s office would be coming down to speak to them.

Instead, the group addressed members of the public from the Town Hall, reading out testimonies and a list of their demands.

Lorraine Smith said: “I have been a resident of Exbury House since 1991. For many years now, Exbury House has had many issues that never seem to be dealt with.

“This causes residents to feel frustrated, angry, and let down by Hackney Council for letting us continue to live in filthy, unmanaged, and neglected areas of the building.

“We want to see action taken to change the poor living conditions moving forward.

“We want to see results.”

A protester reads out the group’s demands. Photograph: courtesy Acorn Hackney

Residents have condemned the Town Hall’s “failure” to maintain the building, saying it “has been allowed to deteriorate as a result of the council’s negligence”.

They complain of constant leaks, near daily lift breakdowns, and broken doors that they say have left parts of the building unsafe and unsanitary.

Exbury House is six storeys high and home to many elderly residents who say they rarely have a choice but to take the stairs.

There is also no wheelchair access to the building.

Residents say they have “long been promised” a ramp by Hackney Council. One was being built before it was abruptly demolished – with no commitment to restart the project.

A spokesperson for Acorn Hackney said: “After years of paying more and more in charges for an increasingly poor service, is it too much to ask for residents to be able to present their issues to their Mayor in order to reach a solution to issues in their block?”

Steve Waddington, the council’s strategic director of housing services, said: “We are sorry about the issues that residents have reported at Exbury House.

“We’ve visited Exbury House with residents and are liaising with them directly to update them of the work we plan to do to resolve these issues.

“While communal areas are swept and litter picked weekly, and rubbish and recycling collected between one and three times a week, we are reviewing estate cleansing services in the next few months to make sure they are operating as well as they can.

“We are in the process of redesigning the ramped access to the block and appointing a contractor.

“All lifts have a monthly service inspection to try and reduce the potential for breakdowns.

“However, all our lifts will be reviewed and renewed or subject to major refurbishment as necessary over the next six years.”