Friday, March 31, 2006

Article on Hamiltonhill in The Burgh Angel

This article is from The Burgh Angel, a local paper...

Residents of Hamiltonhill met last week to discuss the problems facing their area.

The packed public meeting, held at an old shop run by the local Family Learning Centre, on Ellesmere Street, was attended by almost 70 local people, including members of the Board of Queen's Cross Housing Association, who administer Hamiltonhill on the GHA's behalf. Many attendees were unable to get into the meeting room due to the overwhelming attendance.

The meeting discussed problems like rotting floorboards and masonry, the presence of heroin addicts on Hamiltonhill and the threat of demolition. Many residents are unhappy about the way they are being treated. As a result an action group has emerged to organise another meeting and to think about ways to start addressing the problems of Hamiltonhill.

Hamiltonhill has ageing accommodation, much of which has seen little attention in recent years. Rumours are constantly circulating about the possibility of the demolition of the central section of
the old Council estate, and even the whole area.

Graffiti is everywhere, and many streets have rusting fences and broken windows. One local woman even knew two people whose bathroom ceilings had caved in, just in the past two months.

Homeowners who bought their Council houses under the right-to-buy scheme are also
being charged as much as £9000 for re-cladding work, by the Glasgow Housing Association, who undertake repairs for ex-tenants. Some of these people are among the poorest in Britain, in an area where unemployment runs at around 40%.

Whatever the difficulties faced by the tenants and homeowners of Hamiltonhill, there was a sense of satisfaction by the end of the meeting, with many residents offering to contact the authorities on behalf of everyone and a solid campaign is in the offing.


Blogger Cedar said...

It's absolutely shocking what people have to put up with in Hamiltonhill from the authorities, and it's really not on that GHA underspent their budget.

I read on the BBC website a year back or so that the Keppochill constituency in Possil (which I think The Hill comes into) is the poorest in the UK, and at the same time the GHA are charging homeowners money they can't afford and are not spending their budget so tenants a left without getting any repairs.

Good luck!

Friday, April 21, 2006 12:09:00 am  
Anonymous Northern Star said...

looks like the GHA have treated you pretty badly. you should start investigating its members and reveal some of the relationships between those on the GHA, local construction companies, lawyers, and insurance firms ... get some leaflets together and do a posting where the GHA chiefs live, showing how they treat you .. some tv / press spots would be advisable too.

Monday, May 29, 2006 4:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is lots of issues at play here, for instance the schools issue affects Hamiltonhill as well:-

Monday, June 12, 2006 1:14:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how have your local lawyers been treating you ? are they in cohoots with the Housing Association ? or have they done decent work ?

Any refusals or difficulty in obtaining legal aid for residents cases ?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 3:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" how have your local lawyers been treating you ? are they in cohoots with the Housing Association ? or have they done decent work ?

Any refusals or difficulty in obtaining legal aid for residents cases ?"

There aren't many lawyers firms that take on housing cases - really just the Legal Services Agency and The Govan Law Centre (which tends just to take on cases in Govan). Most outfits won't touch it.

The second point is that people are very reluctant to take out cases against their landlord, because they are unfamiliar with the courts, or are frightened by the process. Those who perhaps need the courts the most are the least capable of accessing them. At present there is a huge number of evictions taking place across Glasgow for rather paltry rent arrears or bureaucrtic mix-ups where the tenant fails to turn up at court and the result is eviction.

I knew someone this happened to recently. The person was just overwhelmed and scared about what would happen, and felt totally disempowered to deal with the problem and that was that. They failed to show up to their court hearing and say 'I'll pay back ten pounds a month', and so the GHA got an eviction order straight-away. This is a huge problem, and while it reflects a certain reality - where people feel the court system 'isn't for them' - it also means a large number of people end up being evicted when they needn't have been had they behaved differently.

The problem then is wider than the fact solictors and so on couldn't give a damn about housing cases (bearing in my the GHA can afford the best legal teams going), but it's that people are too disempowered to act upon their legal rights, which is how so many communities in Glasgow are living in conditions that are not "windtight, waterproof, and otherwise in a habitable condition" [Housing Act, 2001].

A lot of people never get beyond impotently complaining to their housing officers about their problems. The task here is to spread best practice on how problems such as the effluent spill pictured can be dealt with, and what the rights of tenants and right to buy owners alike are.

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