Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Kensington Housing Trust's April Fool Prankster was right: 'something' was missing


Catalyst Housing Group have announced they are to merge with Kensington Housing Trust and Fortunegate, for 'greater efficiency'; a bit of management and maintenance wouldn't have gone amiss.

Given their abysmal track record as a landlord and the state of their financial affairs this is no surprise to me. I have been monitoring their accounts and quite frankly they are shocking. Catalyst are mortgaged up to their necks and are servicing massive loans of nearly half a billion; they have received three-quarters of a billion in Social Housing Grant. They spend more on interest payments than they do on maintaining stock; they state they need to double their stock in three years to bring in £20m/year profit just to keep going.

KHT, a notoriously awful landlord, is selling off street properties (£2.5m/year) to subsidise interest payments. They are totally reliant for survival on Social Housing Grant (£139m 2009/10), which they will see no more of during this government. They have capital commitments of nearly £100m this year, all being paid by Catalyst; what a mess. It seems the April Fools prankster who turned their offices into a ‘crime scene’ had the inside story; we were the fools, for not understanding what it meant.

I have no idea what this means for Wornington Green, but frankly I think it unlikely this is the last we will hear of this; this reorganisation will not save enough to put them back in the black.’

1 comment:

  1. Well I hope you’ve recovered from that disgusting meeting last night. Fully an hour discussing whether or not blue tiles were nice or not. I wonder why Susie Parsons was there, her points about the decade of nuisance, filth, noise, dust, disruption that the Wornington Green demolition will cause weren’t even brushed aside, they disappeared into a bored vacuum.

    So many Men In Suits. So urbane, so smooth, not one living anywhere near here and therefore not having a drop of understanding of what it’s like to walk along an unlit street for a year because KHT can’t replace lightbulbs, or waiting a month for a flushing toilet because KHT can’t do anything else, or having a fire escape locked because KHT do that kind of thing, or fiddling the results of surveys because KHT do that kind of things, or waiting for a gas leak to result in an explosion because the now-derelict houses are daily being broken into; or the small precious green space being destroyed; or any of the other results of their choices. “But we can only discuss planning details!” Which absolves them of any moral or ethical wrongdoing.

    I totally support a massive increase of social housing and I’d support it at Wornington Green if I believed that KHT were capable of not making a horrendous mess of it, it’s frightening being on the end of their miserable attempts. The planning committee must know this too, having spent a couple of years forcing KHT to make ‘quantum’ changes in their pathetic plans. I’m grateful to the committee for not abandoning us to KHT’s original scribbles on the back of an envelope but now the wrecking begins. Since Manpreet Dillon feels it’s appropriate to project an image of Margaret Thatcher and slaver all over it to open his remarks at the AGM, I’m not stunned that the all-Tory supporters of the destruction of a community feel it’s a great thing to support him too.

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