Skip to content or view screen version

Housing association leaves elderly couple to freeze to death

Keith Parkins | 03.01.2009 11:58 | Repression | Social Struggles

Pavilion Housing Association left a couple in their nineties to freeze to death.

Across the country over the New Year it has been sub-zero temperatures. Not good news if you are an elderly couple in your nineties living in poor quality Pavilion housing stock in Aldershot and your central heating system packs up.

An attempt was made to call Pavilion to request they send a plumber or heating engineer to fix the problem. A call to their office and nothing but a telephone message to say the office was shut and another number to call. The other number was called, no response. It was Friday 2 January 2009. Not a Bank Holiday. Pavilion should provide out of hours support, but obviously not.

The local council, the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, was contacted. The chief executive Andrew Lloyd was away on leave until 5 January 2009, leaving only a middle ranking employee in charge. The council head of housing was not available either, a useless junior member of staff was in charge. She chose to do nothing to get the heating back on and up and running. She chose to do nothing in the full knowledge that an elderly couple in their nineties would be left all weekend without heating when the nighttime temperature was forecast to be well below zero and the daytime temperature barely above zero.

The local ward councillor was contacted. He asked what he could do, was not not interested and anyway he had family visiting.

The portfolio holder for housing was contacted. He was not interested either, did not want to know, until it was pointed out to him he would be referred to the Standards Board for his callous behaviour. Only then did he agree to contact the council, and only then to cover his own backside. Asked to call the son of the elderly couple he refused as it would cost cost him to make the call. He gets a substantial allowance as a councillor, but where would be the profit in spending it to deal with problems faced by local residents, even if it means a couple in their nineties being left to freeze to death in sub-zero temperatures?

The elderly couple are both aged 93. The husband is dying in hospital. The wife is blind.

Is this how we treat our elderly? Left to die in a freezing cold house?

What beggars belief is that only a few weeks earlier Rushmoor councillors fell over backwards to heap praise on Pavilion and before he took his days off leaving no one senior in charge chief executive Andrew Lloyd bitterly complained that he could not understand why his housing department was being subjected to criticism as in his view (though no one else) they were a highly professional team!

Last summer, Andrew Lloyd was persuaded with some difficulty to look round one of the Pavilion slum estates in Aldershot after he made ill-informed comments that Pavilion were doing a good job. He has failed to follow through. He has all the time in the world for big developers but no time to spare for local residents.

In Lincoln, tenants of Longhurst Homes Housing Association lack central heating, instead are forced to rely upon storage heaters. A low cost option for the housing association to install but not low cost for their tenants to run. With heating bills running at 50 a week, those on benefits or low income cannot afford to heat their homes.

Housing associations are the new Rachman landlords, high rents, low quality housing, poor service, lack of accountability. A warning to any council tenant foolish enough to believe that conditions will improve if they vote for the privatisation of council housing stock.



reference and background

Keith Parkins, Pavilion threaten to evict disabled woman, Indymedia UK, 3 November 2008

Louise Wallace, 'We just cannot afford to heat these homes', Lincolnshire Echo, 2 January 2008

Keith Parkins


Hide the following 3 comments

Cold dawn of realisation

03.01.2009 13:01

Truly sad! Truly despicable that any council could behave so badly, so inhumanely.
I don't suppose our old mate, G. Brown, will intervene in favour of this poor couple, nor in favour of others suffering a similar cold fate.

When are the masses going to wake up and realize that money means more than humans' suffering? All the injustices will keep rolling on and on and on if we all meekly accept it. Name and shame the injustice culprits. The dawning of realisation needs to jolt all of us to become much more compassionate to the physically, mentally and financially weak fellow humans.

Francis H. Giles
mail e-mail:

how awful

03.01.2009 16:50

I feel sorry for the couple that nearly frose to death. Those that were not going to bother about the couple should be given the same treatment as the couple had endured as well and see how they like it. I agree with Francis about Mr G Brown not going to help as well.


Wulvern Housing....the scum landlord.

03.01.2009 18:40

Same situation with Wulvern Housing in Crewe and Nantwich. The sheltered accommodation they provide includes heating, for which they charge tenants £11 per week. The heating systems fail with regular monotony and Wulvern do not rush themselves to repair these.

The elderly people in their housing are treated with contempt. Telephone calls to get repairs done to heating systems in freezing weather get their standard "couldn't care less" response. Elderly people have been left without heating, or hot water, for days on end when temperatures are well below freezing.

The Chief Executive of Wulvern, one Sue Lock, describes their housing as for "the underclass". This sums up the attitude they have towards their tenants. Charming is not a word I would use when describing her.

When asked to explain why they fail to show any decency, let alone conform to tenancy contracts and laws regarding let properties, they fail to respond. They can truly be said to be the scum landlord.

Wulvern also chose to expose tenants to asbestos and failed to abide by the asbestos control regulations. They should have been prosecuted but needless to say, they had "friends" in the council who declined to act.

Jolly Roger