Just over a couple of weeks ago, we put up this post about the dire housing conditions a number of Thurrock Council tenants have to endure: A note to Thurrock Council – sort out your housing repair policy as a matter of urgency! Tonight (Tuesday June 22), the housing overview and scrutiny committee will hear a report on the situation – this is how the impending meeting was covered by Thurrock Nub News: Shoot the messenger and ignore the mould! Council plays down the impact of mould and damp and report says media is at fault.
The report has been prepared by Thurrock Council officers, led by the Corporate Director of Adults, Housing and Health Ian Wake. You can read the report in full here. The report states that: “2197 damp and mould related works orders were completed at 1123 properties which are currently Council owned. As we can see from the graph below,this is 11.4% of the Council’s housing stock.” As you read through the report, it is pretty clear that there are problems with some of the council’s housing stock. Yet at the same time, the council are saying that Thurrock Nub News has been scaremongering!
When a council has to carry out work to more than 10% of their properties to deal with damp and mould issues, it’s bloody obvious there’s a problem. Accusing a respected (among residents that is) local news outlet of scaremongering is a crude attempt to deflect attention from a housing service that has been failing a significant minority of their tenants for years. There’s something seriously wrong when a local authority refuses to accept that the local news media are there to hold them to account and instead, tries to discredit them instead. Thurrock Council have got some serious form for doing this.
In an era when local news coverage is in serious decline, having outfits like Thurrock Nub News who are willing to stick their necks out and call truth to power is more vital than ever. Obviously, we don’t always see eye to eye with Thurrock Nub News and their editor, Neil Speight. However, we recognise that without them, we would be completely in the dark as to what Thurrock Council are up to. Which may well suit Thurrock Council but most certainly does not sit well with us residents who recognise that they need to be held accountable for what they do.