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Minister washes hands of pensioners' petition

PUBLISHED: 11:14 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:44 25 August 2010

A GOVERNMENT minister has said he has no remit to intervene in the battle to save housing for the borough s most vulnerable residents. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham, was responding to a petition on Monday tha

A GOVERNMENT minister has said he has "no remit to

intervene" in the battle to save housing for the borough's most vulnerable residents.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham, was responding to a petition on Monday that was presented to the House of Commons on January 12.

The petition, signed by over 500 anxious Bexley residents, expressed serious concern for the future of a sheltered housing block, Heron Court, owned by social landlords London and Quadrant Housing (L&Q).

It also urged the government to do something about the estimated 800 old people currently on the council's sheltered housing lottery list.

A government response to the petition stated: "The Secretary of State acknowledges the concerns of the petitioners about the future of the Heron Court sheltered housing scheme.

"As autonomous bodies, the management of available social housing stock, and nominations for accommodation, are operational matters for the London and Quadrant Housing Trust and the London Borough of Bexley.

"Ministers have no remit to intervene in their day to day activities."

The government observations come after the Times last month reported that the six remaining residents in one Heron Court block felt pressured to move out of their homes so they could bulldozed and sold for private flats.

The announcement comes as a bitter blow to pensioners in Bexley, who feel that they have been by let down at every level of government.

Heron Court resident Irene Tadman, 73, said: "This is soul destroying.

"It's been going on for so long now everyone is losing heart. Everybody has now done everything that they can, but we have got nowhere.

"No one will give us answers."

Since the petition, L&Q bosses have written to each signatory on the petition to outline the modernisation underway at Heron Court.

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