we am posting regarding a very serious subject and any comments or advice would be most welcome. We have noticed discussion about Southwark charges and services in this forum and are now rather desperate for help. We are in the Bermondsey area, in not one of the more fashionable ends, but we hope this topic will be in the same vein as the other disussions and we can get heard what is going on before it is even more a case of it being too late.
Our problem is that on our estate, local councillors and MPs (Labour's Richard Livingstone and Catherine Mcdonald) ignore our evidence, dating back several years, of the CCTV not only not working, but pointing at the sky - at the moment, if it were working and if the concierge were bothered to look, the CCTV would afford a very good view of the sky above the Jubilee Line, and nothing more. A police officer who came knocking door-to-door because there was no recorded or witness statement available from our insultingly and jokingly title 'Security' following a SEXUAL ASSAULT, wondered if the concierge was 'stargazing'. The crime is in capitals because the crimes that are being allowed to take place are the real issue here, not just the fact what we are paying for this non-existent service is obviously not going where it should. We have also suffered and sre suffering from arson, car theft and vandalism, damage to property, harassment, abuse,drug-dealing and extreme noise from any time into the early hours. Our mental and physical health is palpably suffering as a direct result. Standing directly beneath the upwards-pointing camera our Housing Officer would not even turn her head to look at it after one crime, simply waving her hand and telling us 'don't worry about the cameras'. One police officer told us that the Housing Ombudsman should go through Southwark's accounts - they changed our charge for 'Security/CCTV' to just 'Security', yet the charge remains and we do not know what for. We certainly do not have an available concierge, at least when we most need one. We are seriously fearful for the health of many of us, especially the older people, and wonder exactly has to happen for things to change. Perhaps they are waiting for the opportunity for another 'inquiry' when they can wring their hands and ask why nothing was done and people weren't listened to.
If this is allowed, here is the address to more details -
Who is the Chair for Housing now? seems that your not being listened to. Try the South London Press or Southwark News, they would love to send a photographer there to see the weird direction of the CCTV cameras. And if you are a leaseholder or tenant the fact remains is that you are paying for this..a service that you are fellow residents are not benefitting from!
I have tried the SLP and am waiting to see if they get back. You are certainly right we are not being listened to, haven't been for years. I don't know how much more evidence we need to provide. I think they are waiting for a murder or domething and then with no evidence avaialble before believing us and asking questions...
One option would be to take them to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in respect of overcharging for the CCTV.
This would get a lot of things out in the open (i.e. they'd have to present evidence to the tribunal) which could help you pursue other routes. Indeed you could say to the tribunal that you will happily pay through the service charge for a decent level of CCTV functionality, but have not even been given the option. Perhaps then Southwark will think about installing it.
I do not know if CCTV is commonplace on Southwark's estates, and whether it's monitored or unmonitored (i.e. records). The latter is of course a lot cheaper. It might be a good idea to contact some Tenants and Residents Associations on other estates and ask if they think CCTV is useful, how expensive it is, etc and do some comparisons, or call them as witnesses to the tribunal.
Would you believe - we went to LVT with evidence and an assurance the panel would probably visit the estate to see for themselves. Also the council had only one bit of evidence after a copy of the leasy (?) and statements were dismissed as hearsay, which was a statement from and obviously biased concierge whcih he had not even signed. The panel thought a list of concierges borough-wide was just those on the estate, rather than just three of them - one of whom had died months eariler. They did not visit the estate and delivered the verdict six weeks late, which gives some indication of where we were in their priorities. The panel did find that we were misled about the cameras working, but still dismissed all our evidence and took the small statement of the concierge as proof that we had to pay. We said we never mind paying, never miss a payment even now, but resent suffering and having no service to show for it. Apparently all this counted fo nothing. If you want more details and evidence supporting our case please see the blog linked in the first post. Again, thanks for the replies - as well as this forum we are trying pres, twitter. We'll see if anything happens...
Bit about this in todays private eye, makes you realise how much money per tenant southwatk has been getting for the last ten years for cctv...£400? and the police said the angle of said cameras is more suitable for stargazing!
it seems the CCTV scam is quite widespread - the necessity of them used as an excuse to charge for them even when they do not work or are, as you say, unamanned. A complete scam, the money going...where? To fund more coucillor trips abroad?
The tenants assocation on my estate paid for CCTV to be installed a few years back. When we report crime on our estate they say "the CCTV run out of tape" or "it was to dark to see anyone". Now they want to upgrade it as THEIR property is being damaged and we as tenants have to pay in our service charge.