Lewisham builder comes good but too late for council housing
Mike Ellis of Lewisham’s Bellway has won the National Building Council `Seal of Excellence’ award for the new homes at Meridian South as well as managing his site to an exceptional standard. He is now rated as one of the UK’s top 100 site managers. What a contrast with the fortunes of Lewisham council homes, slammed by the Audit Commission for very poor maintenance.
Mr. Ellis beat over 18,000 of his peers to gain his award for the £100 million redevelopment of the former Hither Green Hospital. What is also instructive is he was so impressed by the workmanship that he himself bought one of the same flats he is developing. Contrast this good news with Lewisham Council’s delayed release of the report by the Audit Commission, declaring that tenants were "highly dissatisfied" with the quality of repair work in their homes. Lewisham council estates also had "poor standards of cleanliness and landscape maintenance", and communal windows were "very dirty" leading to an image of neglect.
It seems to me that Mr. Ellis ought to have been building and maintaining Lewisham Council homes years ago, not just because he’s now won a top award but he actually bought a property he’s working on. That should have been a contractual requirement for the housing officers attached to Lewisham Council: You must live in the estate you are responsible for. That way the Council would not now be struggling to reach a paltry two star status by 2008…