Search

Rainham MP Jon Cruddas warns of ‘Orchard Village test’ in Parliament

PUBLISHED: 15:08 16 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:26 16 January 2017

Rainham and Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas in Parliament talking about Orchard Village Picture credit: parliamentlive.tv

Rainham and Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas in Parliament talking about Orchard Village Picture credit: parliamentlive.tv

Parliamentlive.tv

A social housing estate, which has become notorious for its hosts of problems, was the subject of a Parliamentary debate on Friday.

Orchard Village, Rainham Orchard Village, Rainham

Rainham and Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas raised his concerns over the weakness of the social housing regulator and the lack of action of the Housing Minister in carrying out a rapid investigation following claims of breach of building regulations at the three-year-old Orchard Village estate in Rainham.

The intensification of residents and local politicians’ campaign and the growing interest of national media on the issue have led Mr Cruddas to secure the debate in the House of Commons.

Mr Cruddas told Parliament the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) did not respond soon enough to the residents’ concerns, which started more than a year ago.

In December, the HCA published a report, which found Circle Housing, which runs the estate and is now known as Clarion Housing Group, breached consumer standards and risked serious detriment to thousands of its tenants in east London.

Housing minister MP Gavin Barwell committed to review the relationship between the Ombudsman and the regulator to ensure any serious complaints are adequately referred to the regulator.

He added the regulator had a high threshold and only intervened where there is judged to be a risk, or there has been risk, of serious harm to tenants.

After meeting with the housing group’s CEO last week, Mr Barwell said he believes Circle Housing’s merger with Affinity Sutton to form Clarion was an opportunity for the issues to be resolved.

But Mr Cruddas told the House: “Unfortunately the project has been damaged from the start by questions of building regulations.”

He added that the “failure to build homes to adequate standards” and the “failure of maintenance” particularly to vulnerable residents’ homes led to “serious allegations” of breach of building regulations and funding conditions.

Orchard Village was funded by public money with an £80million grant from central government and £28million from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Mr Cruddas warned the “historic role” of housing associations could be threatened “if we are not careful” and Orchard Village “should be a test for the future”.

Circle Housing was downgraded by the regulator for failing in its repairs service in 2015 but upgraded again last August after it reported improvement.

Clarion Housing Group has been approached for comment but previously told the Recorder a programme is in place to transform the way services are delivered at Orchard Village and surveyors are currently working on the estate to solve the problems.

Latest Romford News Stories

19 minutes ago

Two women have been arrested following a series of assaults, robberies and hit-and-runs in Romford and Hornchurch on Saturday night.

Hundreds of families gathered in Romford Market on Thursday for the annual Christmas lights switch-on we have all been waiting for.

A Rainham pub which had its licence suspended following police reports of serious disorder will have its appeal against the decision finally decided this morning, Monday, November 20.

Yesterday, 15:00

Just 130 years ago, Hornchurch was a quaint town with gabled houses, says Prof Ged Martin

Moped gangs and knife crime often go hand-in-hand – and are among the gravest fears of residents in Havering.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Did you know that when you can’t see the Moon in the sky, he’s actually down here on earth, suited and booted and fighting crime?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Shortage of daylight makes us grumpier

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our three-minute Met Office video forecast.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now