East Finchley residents launch legal action to force housing association to restore their gas supply
Posted on: 19th February 2016
Law firm Hodge Jones & Allen has today launched legal proceedings against the Peabody Trust on behalf of the residents of Strawberry Vale estate in East Finchley. The residents have been left without a gas supply for a month and are seeking a court injunction compelling the housing association to restore the supply immediately or produce evidence as to why this cannot be done.
It is estimated that some 240 homes on the estate have been left without gas since 20 January 2016 when National Grid deemed it to be unsafe due to a faulty meter. The defective meter has since been replaced yet the Peabody Trust are currently unwilling to reconnect the gas supply, leaving some residents without hot water and heating. All 270 residents at the Strawberry Vale estate are being forced to use electric cookers, an expensive alternative which is unaffordable to the majority of residents, many of whom are pensioners, are on low incomes or receiving benefits.
Hodge Jones & Allen wrote to the Peabody Trust last week and in response have received no evidence or meaningful reason as to why the gas supply cannot be restored.
Jayesh Kunwardia, partner at Hodge Jones & Allen says:
“Residents of Strawberry Vale have been without gas for a month. Some residents have had to go without hot water and heating at the coldest time of the year and it is estimated that around 240 households are being forced to use expensive electric cookers instead of their gas ovens. There has been no consultation by Peabody Trust with residents on the decision to move from gas to electric. Many are on low incomes and must choose between running up unaffordable bills or going without basic cooking facilities.”
“We have launched legal proceedings today to compel the Peabody Trust to restore the gas supply. At present we have had no meaningful explanation for the Trust’s failure to do this and can only assume this is a cost cutting exercise, aimed at saving the housing association money at the expense of vulnerable residents.”
Laurence Williamson Chair, Strawberry Vale Residents Association says:
“Until a month ago I would not have believed it possible that I would see the Red Cross delivering hot meals to people in London. Nor would I have thought it possible that a landlord responsible for the homes of hundreds of people, from families with young children to elderly people living alone, would be capable of depriving them of a basic service, a gas supply, that they depend on to cook with. Some families are also without heating and hot water. This is all during the winter months affecting vulnerable people’s health.
“The landlord, Peabody Trust, initially claimed that the National Grid supply was unsafe. This was quickly and conclusively disproved and since then, despite frequent requests from the residents and media coverage, Peabody executives have failed to give any reason why they have not restored the gas supply to hundreds of people’s homes. Some residents comment that the Trust’s founder, George Peabody, must be turning in his grave.”
Tim Baldwin of Garden Court Chambers has been instructed as Counsel in the case.
Further detail on events can be found on the Strawberry Vale Residents Association website.
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Notes for Editors
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