Sunday, February 05, 2006
Extracts from meeting with Stephen McAvoy
"I'm no defending that, I mean we're paying substantial money for these contractors[...]
These houses should have been marched in and marched oot when the work was finished, so some'dy should have checked it immediately after the work was finished. I'm presuming what you're telling me is that after that check was done this things come away fae the wall. In any event that's no acceptable. I don't know about it and i didnae know about it at the time but if you don't mind we'll still make contact wi ye and well still take up the issue wi the contractor as well...
“I'm no suggestin the heatin system you've got's the best. [...] the idea o putin the new radiotors in was to give you upgraded heat, and the concern that I'm taking back the night is that we havenae achieved that objective.”
“Ma personal opinion is that type of heatin system that's there is not the best that GHA can provide for ye. That's ma honest opinion.”
“The contract is already let. ... Six lifts in all of the blockas will be done.”
On Raglan Halls:-
“There's a feasibility study going on at the momenty to open that as a 'cyber cafe'.”
On Water pressure/washing machines:-
“firstly I accept your point, I don't think a washing machine is a luxury to be prefectly honest wi you... what I wil do is speak to the local repair team manager tomorrow and I'll find out who's been to see it and if there are any possible solutions... “
With reference to the close door at number 37 being kicked in and left unmended over the whole Christmas period, prompting further vandalism:-
“Well I'm in complete agreement wi ye in the sense that prevention would be better than the cure if we got to it a bit more quickly, What did it cost us to fix the graffiti, what did it... Apart fae the heartache that you had what did it cost us in terms o additional repairs to dae what's to be done. And ma suggestion is there's a duty officer in that office everyday and if there are any problems and issues that you have then by aw means I'm askin that you contact us because we have the means to do somethin about it, and also have the means to put a bit [sic] – the contract's there in terms o building services and the're timescales for them to carry oot their repairs but there has to be common sense as far as that, that, that's applied and I still reserve the right to have the discretion to apply that common sense, and I encourage ma staff to have the common sense to apply that as well, in the sense, that what ye;re sayin to me is it wasnae, it wasnae a simple case from a door burst or a lock, the were associated problems fae that and that's something should'ae been taken in account in terms o how quickly they got there to actually fix it.”
On the external fabric, and the roofs of the low-rises:-
"Well we are committed to doing that [upgrading the existing close doors] and that's actually in the current programme o works. Erm. The reason for the delay is that we intend to tag... tackle the outside fabric o the buildin, erm, and some problems wi the roof, perticularly at the corner of St. George's Road, there's a real issue wi water penetration in one o the roofs as well and the intention is to tackle all the work. Nou apart fae the fact that this makes sense from a common sense there are also some owners who are elligible for a grant."
"The reason for the delay is nothing to dae wi the owners. Believe it or not we want to overclad and roughcast the buildings – or at least part of them there as well to improve the heat insulation in them. And part of the problem we have - you'll be aware that there's been issues wi cracks in part of the buildings as well – we need planning permission from the city council, because those buildings are classed as brick buildings"
[It should be noted at this point that many of the low-rise flats have suffered from levels of dampness which have made the houses near uninhabitable. The association is aware of one lady who moved in with her children eight years ago whose kids suffer from bad asthma and bronchitis, because the walls are wet and black with mould. In the winter her kids need to sleep in her living room because it is too damp in their bedrooms for them to sleep. She has complained about this repeatedly and received no satisfaction. GHA's attitude to her problems is encapsulated in the one time they bothered to address her situation – they sent two workers round with a pot of white paint 'to cover up the damp'. Needless to say her walls were black again within a week.]
On controlled entry systems:-
“Due to be done is a new controlled entry system and that's a changeoverto the metal-magnetic system that they have further up on Garscube Road.”
On the mobile phone mast situated on the top of number nine block:-
“No there's no health and safety risk coz ye remember we had an issue in the whole city a few years back about suggestions that radiation and suchlike came from these masts, so there was a health and safety assessment done for every multi-storey property across the city at that point in time, so it's kinda raking the ashes o somethin that's already been checked if you like but you have my assurances that that has been checked.”
[I wonder if Stephen would mind if we let the top of his house to a mobile phone company without telling him? I wonder what he would say if, when he raised questions about its safety and why he was never consulted when we chose to let his roof to the highest bidder for the erection of a mobile mast, we had said to him – 'No worries Steve, we looked at this issue a while back and believe us there really is no problem here, and we feel you're raking over old ground there mate' ?]
On the issue of Raglan concierge not being in their office during their duty hours:-
"There's a reduction in the numbers o staff so obviously if the guys are oot and aboot, cleaning the stairs or whatever it is that they're daein, the station is going to locked at that point in time, so what they've been instructed to do is to put a notice on the door saying I'ma away for an oor, or I'm away for two oors or whatever's happenin."
[Oh well, that's alright then...]
"So if that's not happenin and also they're being instructed that if they're away for that period o time that they leave the contact number... the guys are in radio contact ok so see when the fellas that work in raglan are out and about they're still in radio contact with the control centre at Cedar, so they're still contac... for a health and safety point of view fae their point of view but also on the basis o bein able to contact them, but I take on board what you're sayin about it no being opened for the oors that is should be open."
[There are obvious issues for people in Raglan street about anti-social behaviour and violent crime, and it's very brass-necked of Stephen McAvoy to say that concierge staff – who I think should be in the station in Raglan 24/7, especially in light of both the Peggy Weir murder, and recent serious disturbances such as an incident where dunken/drugged youths were chucking objects such as televisions at passing cars on St George's Road – are not available because of GHA staff cuts. I have no doubt that Cedar Tenants Association would do all it could to support tenants in Raglan if they wanted to address this issue.]