24/08/2010"Barnet Homes has agreed that this will be waived in Mr Meakins’ case, in light of his age and the length of time he has lived in the property." I think what Ms Lees meant was "in light of the public disquiet and campaign".
Barnet Homes has given a written assurance to Edward Meakins, of Cloister Road, NW2, that he will be able to remain in his current home.
The Chief Executive of Barnet Homes, Tracey Lees, wrote to Mr Meakins yesterday (Monday 23 August).
Barnet Council’s allocation policy stipulates that if a relative (non-spouse or partner) applies for succession to a tenancy and the property is deemed larger than the succeeding tenant requires, then steps may be taken to rehouse them in a smaller home.
Barnet Homes has agreed that this will be waived in Mr Meakins’ case, in light of his age and the length of time he has lived in the property.
The letter repeats Barnet Homes’ preference that Mr Meakins consider moving into a smaller home of his choosing, and so free up the three-bedroom council house for a family in need of this kind of accommodation.
Ms Lees said: “All cases of this kind are very difficult. We have to weigh up our sympathies for the individuals concerned against the number of families who have applied for council housing and are in need of a larger home.
“Given Mr Meakins’ age and the length of time he has lived at his property, we do not feel it right or proper that we should pursue any eviction proceedings against him.
“However, taking into account the intense pressure on council housing in Barnet, we have repeated our offer that Barnet Homes would support a move to a smaller property. Such a move would only take place if Mr Meakins is happy with this property and its location.”
Barnet Homes offers a Fresh Start scheme, whereby tenants are offered up to £4,000 to move to a small property. Around 70 households each year take up this scheme, which helps to ease pressure on council housing in the borough.
Another victory not for common sense - because Barnet Homes needed to be reminded what that is - but for concerted public action. Now, does this decision set a precedent? How many more Mr Meakins are there out there? We still need to campaign for more council homes so that no more elderly people need to go through an ordeal like this!