Tenants Federation ‘should have been consulted’ over tenement demolition, admits Dundee convenor
The councillor in charge of Dundee’s council housing has accepted that the Dundee Federation of Tenants Associations (DFTA) should have been consulted before deciding to demolish 26 tenement homes in the city.
Dundee City Council’s neighbourhood services committee took the decision to demolish 219-245 Blackness Road in October 2017, though campaigners condemned the report which recommended the move as “seriously misleading” and said it highlighted a lack of consultation among the affected tenants.
Former housing convener Jimmy Black, who led calls for the local authority to reconsider its decision, said that although the report submitted to the committee claimed that a majority of “residents” favoured demolition, it was made clear that six private landlords who do not live there were counted as “residents”.
Private tenants’ views were not counted at all, and a majority of council tenants in the blocks opposed demolition, added Mr Black.
Now Anne Rendall, convener of neighbourhood services, has conceded that the council “should probably have consulted” the Tenants Federation over the decision.
Ms Rendall said: “The Scottish Housing Regulator’s opinion is that the Federation should have been informed, and we conceded that with hindsight we should probably have consulted with them as well as the consultations we carried out directly with tenants.
“Our view however is still that these flats are at the end of their useful lives and are to be demolished. We place a high value on tenant participation and we have met with DFTA who are happy with our suggestions for revised consultation proposals for the future where there are any plans to demolish council homes.”
Former councillor Jimmy Black welcomed the convener’s statement and said: “I believe the Tenants Federation did not know about the planned destruction of these homes until it was too late. Had they known, they could have organised independent, expert advice for the tenants who lived in the blocks. Tenants would not have been asked to make decisions about the future of their homes without experts on their side.”
A DFTA spokesperson said: “The DFTA recognise that we should have been consulted prior to the decision on Blackness Road demolition being considered - we would have ensured that tenants affected had a chance to meet with us and had access to independent advice.
“However we are aware that the tenants and owners directly involved were consulted and that the vote taken by them showed a clear preference for demolition. We support the provision of additional high quality council homes in this area and look forward to seeing this happen.
“We are currently working with Dundee City Council to ensure we are involved in consultations in the future. Tenants groups are a very important way for tenants to ensure that they can have their say - if anyone is interested in setting one up, please get in touch with us.”
Mr Black added: “Much as I regret the decision taken by the full council to demolish these historic tenements, the most important thing now is to get the few remaining tenants and residents rehoused. This thing has dragged on long enough.”