Saturday, 11 November 2000

Hapless Hackney faces £40m meltdown

Peter Hetherington in the Guardian:

Rubbish piles up, hundreds face rent arrears misery as officials from other areas try to help sort out years of infighting and incompetence

Rubbish piled high in black bags and boxes outside houses and shops awaits the elusive council dust cart. The grubby streets, swirling with the remains of bursting refuse sacks and last week's takeaways, are rarely swept. "It's easier to spot the rats than find the binman," jokes an elderly woman, laden with shopping bags, as she stumbles between the high rises.

Around the tower blocks, in an area dominated by council housing, the walkways are crumbling and the window frames rotting. "In 20 years we haven't had a lick of paint," yells Rose Richardson, a 78-year-old who chairs a community association on the Trelawney estate. "They make promises, but they always put it back. They treat us terribly badly."

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