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Residents kick out entire board on 'fiefdom' housing estate

A housing estate in Wapping is in limbo after its entire board of directors was unseated at a fiery emergency meeting. South Quay Plaza Estates (Freehold) Limited took over the South Quay estate at St Katherine Docks from Tower Hamlets Council in 2007. Most of the 299 properties are owned by private leaseholders, whom hold shares in the company and pay around £4,000 a year in service charges. At an emergency general meeting on Wednesday, May 22, they voted for the eight-strong board of direct

'Poke your head above the parapet, you will be shot': Bullying probe in council waste division as two dustmen kept off work for seven months

'Poke your head above the parapet, you will be shot': Bullying probe in council waste division as two dustmen kept off work for seven months Refuse workers at Newham Council have demanded the results of internal inquiries into bullying as management faces the prospect of a strike over back-pay. At least 49 people recently signed a petition asking to see the outcome of recent talks with senior officers after a series of whistleblower complaints in 2018. Two drivers - a father and son, one of w

Three deaths at Hackney homeless hostel in two months

Three deaths at Hackney homeless hostel in two months Three people have died at homeless hostel the Shuttleworth Hotel in the space of eight weeks this year, the Gazette has learned. The bodies of the three residents were taken away from the building for the homeless in Well Street on Monday, February 18, on Monday, March 4, and on Monday, April 18. Their next of kin have been informed and while the causes of their deaths are not yet known, none are thought to be suspicious. The tragic incid

RMS: Scandal in repairs division deepens as shock figures reveal “abuse” of bonus scheme

RMS: Scandal in repairs division deepens as shock figures reveal “abuse” of bonus scheme An overhaul of the payroll system at Newham Council’s troubled repairs service is under way as it emerges that millions of taxpayers’ pounds have been handed out in staff bonuses. Last December the Recorder revealed the catalogue of allegations behind an £8.7million overspend in the highways division of council’s repairs and maintenance service (RMS) in 2017/18. It has now emerged that the payroll scheme

Muslim Entrepreneur Network investors speak out as co-founders clash over alleged fraud

Muslim Entrepreneur Network investors speak out as co-founders clash over alleged fraud Members of the Muslim community have spoken of their fraught experience with the global “investment” scheme called Leverage, which scores of households in North and East London paid into. On Monday we reported ongoing fallout over the scheme run by the Muslim Entrepreneur Network, which has prompted at least 18 complaints to Action Fraud. Members left the scheme in droves over 2018 after being promised a p

Brown packages, Travis cards, and a ‘fraternity’: What was going on in this council division?

Ex-workers have spoken of a “1970s” working culture at Newham Council’s troubled repairs and maintenance service (RMS) as questions remain over why fraud allegations were not passed on to police. This week the Recorder highlighted a massive overspend in the repairs department last year, where irregular procurement, extraordinary overtime and bonus claims and fuel cards handed to external firms contributed to a so-far recorded deficit of £8.7m. Former staff have now come forward, raising even m

Managers sacked and contracts closed as council probes millions in overspent cash

Senior managers have been suspended and sacked for gross misconduct amid a catalogue of claims about financial malpractice. Senior managers have been suspended and sacked for gross misconduct amid a catalogue of claims about financial malpractice. Newham Council’s repairs and maintenance service (RMS), which is responsible for council homes and gas and highway works in the borough, had a “complete lack of control of financial management” that resulted in “alleged malpractice of financial opera

'I've told my family don't be surprised if I go out and don't come back': Reality of bitter postcode rivalry in Newham

Young men from warring postcodes in Newham have spoken out about the cycle of youth violence that has seen their friends wield knives or acid - and take each others lives. The teenagers crossed divides to meet up at a pioneering youth event organised by former gang member Raheel Butt on Thursday. They spoke of their own experience of violence and the real prospect of come-backs if they visit the wrong areas of Newham due to feuding gangs. One 17-year-old from Beckton, who the Recorder has agr

Big rise in use of ‘last resort’ powers to shut down Suffolk drug dens

Police are shutting down more and more drug dens but is it making a difference to the communities blighted by crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour? “It’s been like chalk and cheese,” said Liam Roberts, of Southgate and Roberts Funeral Home in Ipswich’s St Matthews Street. The area had become rife with crime until late last year when police used closure orders to shut down two drug dens and drive the dealers out. The orders have now expired but Mr Roberts said the improvements they brough

Revealed: How council flat helped save Hackney graduate from ‘hell of homeless hostels’

A former luxury fashion worker whose life spiralled into chaos when she became homeless has spoken of the healing influence of living in a council flat. Photography graduate Sarah-Louise Simon was at rock bottom when she was given the keys to her new home on the King’s Crescent Estate four months ago. The 30-year-old had been living in the “craziness” of homeless hostels in Hackney, which she describes as “like surviving time on a mental health ward”. She has bravely gone public with her stor

Revealed: ‘Shameful’ conditions inside Hackney homeless hostel owned by firm of top architect - where rooms cost £274 a week

An award-winning architect is profiting from taxpayers’ money operating homeless hostels where human faeces has been found smeared on walls and conditions are described as “shameful”, the Gazette can reveal. Housing firm Smart Hotels Ltd has come under fire for providing hostel rooms in two dilapidated buildings in Finsbury Park and Green Lanes to house destitute people placed by Hackney Council. The company was paid £519,000 last year. Images of Brownswood Hostel in Finsbury Park show rundow

“I used to go down the bins for food” - 84 year old sleeping rough helped by soup kitchens

“I feed the pigeons now because I know what it’s like to be hungry.” 84-year-old Roy Brown was sleeping rough in Norwich for three years, and would have relied on rifling through bins or the generosity of strangers to sustain him if it wasn’t for soup kitchens provided on Hay Hill. Twice a week volunteers at the People’s Picnic cook enough food for up to 20 people each, and hand it out to dozens of people in need from 8pm. Donations from the public allow hot meals to be handed out, along with

Suicide bids and breakdowns: How life in Hackney hostels is making mental health of homeless worse

Vulnerable people with mental health problems are among the hundreds living in hostel rooms in Hackney – and their grim surroundings only make it worse. Emma Youle reports on a startling lack of support for those in crisis Two years ago, as he battled depression in a dreary Hackney hostel room, Andrew decided he no longer wanted to live. The freelance producer had a blossoming career in live and visual arts and had even been involved with a seminal performance work about human rights at the UN

Owners of squalid Dalston hostel rake in taxpayers’ cash to house homeless in shocking conditions

Landlords are being given hundreds of thousands of pounds in taxpayers’ cash to house Hackney’s homeless in shocking conditions. Some 2,900 families and single people are now without a home in the borough and are forced to live in temporary accommodation including hostels – 400 more than this time last year. As the housing shortage in Hackney continues to deepen, some private hostel landlords are charging steep rents and raking in the profits. The council paid £41million in 2016-17 to house p

No heating, bugs and a tiny room: Struggle of life in Hackney homeless hostel for mum and teenage son

Mothers and their children are among thousands of homeless families in Hackney forced to live in cramped single hostel rooms as the borough’s housing crisis deepens. Fewer than 3 per cent of privately rented properties in Hackney are now affordable to those on housing benefit, forcing the council to seek cheaper alternatives to accommodate hard-up families in crisis. Some 784 households in Hackney are now living in hostels, costing £266 a week on average for a single room. The average time pe

Islington abuse scandal: Inquiry into pro-paedophile past of ex-mayor Sandy Marks is officially opened following Gazette investigation

A landmark inquiry into alleged historic links between a former mayor of Islington and pro-paedophile groups has been opened by a top barrister – thanks to a Gazette investigation. Sarah Morgan QC, a leading specialist in family law, has been appointed by Islington Council to oversee the investigation and announced its terms of reference as the review was formally opened this week. It will explore explosive evidence published by the Gazette in May linking former mayor, councillor and social se

Ex-gang member explains why knife crime is on the rise in Barking and Dagenham

A former-gang member who was stabbed as a teenager and went on to transform his life explains why knife crime is on the rise in Barking and Dagenham and across London. “How many people have got to keep dying before something happens?” asks youth worker Jermaine Lawlor, as he stands by police cordon tape just minutes from his home. On the day the Post meets the 26-year-old he is angry that a man has been viciously beaten to death just a few streets from where he lives. He is not shocked by the

Questions over Suffolk council engineer’s dual safety role on over-budget relief road

A new road, which ran almost £5m over budget, faces fresh controversy after it emerged a council employee involved in the project also completed work for the road’s developers through his private company. The safety audit for the Bury St Edmunds Eastern Relief Road (ERR), which opened in September last year, was written by a private consultancy firm part owned by a Suffolk County Council (SCC) employee – who was also advising the council on the project in his role as a senior engineer. Jon Nob

Dagenham mum releases image of stabbed son: ‘This is horrific outcome of wielding a knife’

A Dagenham mother has released this horrifying image of her son fighting for his life in intensive care to warn others about the devastating consequences of knife crime. Unconscious and with bloodied tubes inserted in his nose, Tyler Dawson lies critically ill in a hospital bed. The 18-year-old suffered appalling injuries when he was stabbed in the groin in an attack by a 17-year-old boy. Tyler nearly died four times before doctors managed to stabilise him. His right leg had to be amputated

Mother of knife victim Champion Ganda hits out at senseless loss of young black lives to stabbings

Her agony and anger over the loss of young lives is palpable, as the mother of teenage knife victim Champion Ganda speaks to EMMA YOULE in the second of our special series on the far-reaching consequences of knife crime. Nobody will have thought more about the horrific impact of knife violence and how it can tear lives apart than the mother of Havering teenager Champion Ganda. Peguy Kato has faced the future without her eldest son since his life was cruelly cut short in a brutal stabbing at th
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