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Residents protest outside of Havering Town Hall in bid to save their homes

PUBLISHED: 12:29 25 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:29 25 July 2018

The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.

The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.

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Around 20-30 people gathered outside of Havering Town Hall with banners and placards in a bid to try and have their voices heard.

The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.

Residents and their children staged a protest outside of Havering Town Hall against the council’s review of all PSL properties in the borough.

On Monday (July 23) around 30 people held banners and placards in a bid to try and have their voices heard.

The council announced a few weeks ago that it would be reviewing all 878 PSL (Private Sector Leasing) properties in Havering, and it sparked fears that it could lead to hundreds of people being moved out of the borough.

Council leader, Councillor Damian White said that PSL cost the council £2m last year, and that the review is a bid to try and save money.

The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.

Some 250 PSL tenants were originally sent a number of letters, and received phone calls asking them to come in for meetings with council officers to discuss their housing options.

Following these meetings/phone calls tenants were told that the council would be handing their property back to its owner, and that they will have to find somewhere else to live within a matter of weeks.

If residents and their families can’t find somewhere to live in the borough - then the council has offered some of them alternative housing outside of Havering - which they could be forced to accept or risk being declared voluntarily homeless.

Since then Cllr White has came out and apologised for the way that the council dealt with the situation, and said that a completely new review will take place.

The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.

He said that all letters and meetings had before July 10 were no longer valid.

In an exclusive interview with the Recorder he said: “I’d like to apologise on behalf of the council to all of those individuals in PSL, the 250 or so that were contacted and the other individuals the other 600 that were not contacted.

“It was not really the way an organisation should engage with residents.

“There has been a lot of fear and anxiety caused through a lack of information.”

The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.

All PSL tenants have since received a further letter from the leader, that again apologises for poor communication from the council, and said that as part of the review the council would like to meet with tenants to ensure that they are providing accommodation that “suits your circumstances.”

Megan Hartwell, 24, from Harold Hill lives in a PSL property and organised the protest.

She told the Recorder: “I want to try and help everyone.

“We organised the protest because we wanted to have our voices heard.”

She said that around 20-30 people turned up, along with other councillors, and that they spent about an hour discussing their individual stories and what they had been told.

The mum-of-two said: “People still don’t really know what’s going on, we’ve still got a lot of questions that we want to be answered.

“It just keeps going around the houses

“We want to try and stop people being moved out of the borough.”

Megan said that as herself and other protestors were leaving, Cllr White was coming into his office and was confronted by everyone before they left.

She said: “He didn’t expect it at all.

“Some people were shouting, but we stood behind his car and we just really wanted to have our questions answered.”

Another protest is set to be staged at around 6.30pm tonight (Wednesday, July 25) outside of the town hall before the cabinet meeting.

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