What’s the truth?

It’s going to cost the Council £340,000 over 5 years to repair Community House

This is NOT TRUE.

The costs are split pretty much half and half between the Council and tenants, and although a lot of costs are over 5 years, the total renovation was over 15 years.

Many of these tenants were Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations and they had approached the Council to ask about alternative accommodation due to concerns about the building’s state of disrepair. 

This is NOT TRUE. The tenants did not approach the Council to ask about alternative accommodation, all tenants want to stay. RCNT only approaches the Council for periodic repairs to the fabric of the building.

Officers consulted with tenants of the community centre and helped tenants when searching for alternative accommodation.

NO ASSISTANCE HAS BEEN GIVEN. In fact no actual tenant has even been consulted, just RCNT.

That tenants said the building was not fit for purpose

This is NOT TRUE. 

This is a twisted interpretation of a comment made by BARN, a tenant. They did not say the building was not accessibility friendly, they said the BARN office wasn’t. Just their office. But they use downstairs rooms such as HomeStart, who they have a good relationship with, an example of cooperation between tenants. We have wheelchair users and people on walking frames use the hall regularly – to say the building is not accessible, or that RCNT said it wasn’t, is simply not true.

That tenants have asked to leave and to be found alternative accommodation

This is NOT TRUE. 

The trustees, protesting against the recent rise, said the rise would likely force them to leave

This wasn’t implying we asked to leave, just the opposite – that we want to stay, but were in danger of being forced out because of the rent increase. And it certainly doesn’t imply we’ve asked to be found alternative accommodation. This is a real distortion of what was discussed.

That it was our fault that tenants didn’t know

Well, that’s contradictory on so many levels!

We didn’t know, so how were we meant to tell the tenants? And the Council said they’d already consulted the tenants and found them homes – so to make that happen they must have talked to them surely?

We knew all about it

Again, this is NOT TRUE.

The renovation had been discussed with RCNT (although Gemini hadn’t, who are also Council tenants – we had to tell them). And there were discussions about perhaps having to close bits of the building while work was carried out, or temporarily relocating organisations. But no concrete proposals were ever received, and this work was scheduled to take place over 15 years. We have never been told about a proposal to close Community House. The first we heard was when a newspaper asked for comment…