Mar 04 2014

SusanWatch: Thermal Imaging Catches Beds-in-Sheds Landlords

susan_hall_leaderTwice in three days, Council Leader Susan Hall lands up in the Daily Mail.

This time, according to the paper, Harrow Council used a plane to swoop across the rooftops of dozing Harrow residents, looking out for heat-signals from uninsulated outbuildings. The Mail reports that 319 suspicious sheds and garages were found.

Clearly, a great way to catch the Beds-in-Sheds brigade, but it strikes me that there could be a big positive on this as well. Assuming that the plane’s camera identifies a number of properties “leaking” heat, maybe some of these are from innocently uninsulated houses, perhaps the old, the needy and the vulnerable. Maybe a bit of nice PR would be to link these people up with organisations offering grants for, for example, loft insulation?

But, back to the problem. Cllr Hall said: “These are people who use council services – like bin collections – but for whom we receive no extra funding. In many cases the people in beds in sheds are at the bottom of a pyramid of exploitation. But we get complaints from their neighbours that we cannot ignore, and it is not fair on them that these houses should turn into cash cows for opportunist landlords.”

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  1. Susan Hall

    Paul, informing people of their bad insulation was always part of this entire scheme and was discussed in many meetings. There are various offers at different times for subsidised or free lagging and it is our intention to help those that we identify. We are working on the data at the moment

  2. John Clement

    In South Harrow they fly tip the beds which costs money to get taken away. I wish they WOULD keep them in sheds.

  3. PraxisReform

    I’ve been a bit busy recently, so only stumbled across the council’s latest waste of money when I saw something about £20,000 being spent on a spy plane on the front page of Harrow’s Observer, which seemed to fit with the plan to genetically test everyone in Stalag Harrow (just how much are we paying for each bed found?).

    Even more interesting was the quote from Cllr Stoodley:
    “…we came across two applications to legitimise these buildings which residents had already warned officers about years back, but nothing was done because they said they were short staffed.”

    This is the reason that Council’s get such a bad reputation. Because anyone in a private business knows that if you can’t manage your workload, you speak to your Line Manager and arrange some extra help, further training, new equipment or whatever is needed to make sure the job gets done.

    Thus. if Cllr Stoodley was saying things had backed up a couple of months because of a spike in the workload or whatever, it’s not good, but I suppose it’s fair enough.

    TWO YEARS! though, that’s not short staffed, that’s gross incompetence on a Bob Blackman – stick it in the bin and forget about it – scale.

    I hope the council will be making some “cuts” in the planning department very soon.

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