You can get the general gist from just a few of the press releases here, here and here. And we have a petition you can sign too.
But, in a nutshell, the Council chose to install a very high spec digital aerial system (they do have an obligation to provide at least a basic digital aerial) and the costs to leaseholders have reached up to more than £1000 per flat - way above the London average. We have been calling for an opt-out for leaseholders who do not want the system, as well as a better value-for-money deal for the rest of us - council taxpayers pick up the bill for the other flats, of course.
As usual, there has been an unsurprising lack of consultation and a shocking attitude from the Labour Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Bevan. He stood up in Full Council earlier in the year and stated that the Haringey Leaseholders Association (HLA) voted at a meeting in February to accept the expensive Integrated Reception System (IRS). This is simply not true - as was pointed out to him by the person who chaired that meeting.
Cllr Bevan was at the February HLA meeting, but his recollection of the vote is strangely different to everyone else's. While he says that leaseholders voted in favour of the Council's plans, what they actually voted for was an opt-out for leaseholders from the plans (as we have also been calling for), which is clearly very different. This is confirmed in the minutes and also re-confirmed at Thursday night's meeting of the HLA - plus Cllr Bevan has been publicly corrected on it. But he continues to stick to his original story!
We 'called-in' the Cabinet decision to steam ahead with the existing IRS plans despite widespread opposition - the only concession they had made was admitting that their original procurement had been a failure on value-for-money and re-procuring to try and bring costs down. The Labour majority on Overview & Scrutiny voted against our call-in, but as a result of the meeting there has now been some movement.
There are now plans to do a block-by-block consultation to ask residents what they want - with the majority deciding which system to install. This cracks open a window of opportunity, if not fully, but falls well short of the opt-out that we (and the HLA) have been calling for. Most blocks will have a majority of council tenants, who don't pay directly for building works like this - so it would be understandable if the majority in most blocks went for the most advanced system.
Probably a better hope for leaseholders is belated talk from the Council of capping the costs to leaseholders. Other London boroughs have installed digital aerials at costs to leaseholders of as little as £75, with several boroughs coming in under £200. A cap at the London average could be the best way forward here - and that is what the Haringey Leaseholders Association called for at their AGM on Thursday night. More on that meeting in my next post.