Last night the Cabinet took the decision to permanently rehouse the residents of Maydew House in order that 'Decent Homes' works can be carried out. It was not an easy decision and the length of the meeting demonstrated the consideration which we had to give to the issues raised by residents of the block and other external experts employed by the Council.
At the end of the day two factors weighed heavily on our decision. Firstly, we could not contemplate any resident or visitor to the block coming into contact with asbestos fibres displaced during the duration of the works and secondly we could not risk leaving residents living on a building site for up to two years, including losing basic services for lengthy periods during those works. However much thought and consideration goes into the project management of works such as this there are inevitably things that go wrong, and with the added difficulties which already existed in this project those further problems would make life unbearable for anyone still resident in the block.
We would not have chosen to make this decision at this time, but the previous LibDem / Tory administration had thrown the future of the block into doubt and created a level of uncertainty which was unfair on the majority of residents and needed resolution sooner rather than later.
Absolutely no decision has been made about the longer term future of the block. We want to keep all of our housing stock if possible and last night's decision has no bearing on any wider strategy. So we could see no advantage in further postponing last night's decision, despite being urged by the local MP. The reality is that unlike the local MP, who appears to be in permanent opposition whilst in Government, an Administration has to make decisions on the basis of the facts as they are presented, and not as we would wish them to be.
I know some residents will have been upset and angered by our decision. But I hope that everyone understands that we made the decision for the right reasons of health, safety and the proper living conditions of all Maydew's residents.