It's time they told tenants the truth

PUBLISHED: 11:36 10 November 2006 | UPDATED: 22:21 28 May 2010

I VE been a member of Fenland Tenants Forum since the very start and I am proud to serve not only as its treasurer but also as treasurer to Chatteris Tenants Association. I pride myself in doing a good job for tenants and the town and I like to think I k

I'VE been a member of Fenland Tenants' Forum since the very start and I am proud to serve not only as its treasurer but also as treasurer to Chatteris Tenants Association.

I pride myself in doing a good job for tenants and the town and I like to think I know a bit about responsibility and truth. It's plain to me that others don't.

Recent letters in the press from Mr Pinnock, who we all know isn't a Fenland tenant, and Mr Marais, who doesn't even live here, are trying to give people a false picture.

People who have seen the DVD about transfer can see for themselves that tenants were involved in making the film and tenants were involved in planning it as well.

To set the record straight, tenants who hadn't been involved in planning the film watched the first versions of the DVD and said what they liked and what they thought should be cut out. They said the first version was too long so bits had to be cut.

Mr Pinnock refers to one caption about rents. We were happy to cut that because rents will be the same whether you transfer or not. That is the most important thing, not some picture showing a guess at what inflation might do to rents by 2016.

I wouldn't get worked up about this kind of thing if there wasn't so much at stake for the tenants I represent.

We shouldn't forget we had the chance to transfer to our own housing association seven years ago. If we'd done it then we'd have had 300 more affordable houses in Fenland than we've got now and rents wouldn't have gone up like they have with the council over the last few years.

We'd have had a lot of other good things too, things that tenants in Peterborough, Ely and other places now take for granted. I don't want to see us make the same mistake again.

Mr Pinnock can sit there in his own house writing letters, safe in the knowledge that it won't be him that loses his gardening service or sheltered scheme manager. It won't be him who has to go on waiting months or even years before the council can do adaptations. And it won't be him who has to keep his car out on the road instead of getting a proper driveway put in.

It's Fenland tenants who'll pay the price for his personal crusade, not him.

So when Mr Pinnock and his friends come knocking on your door or rattling your letterbox in the middle of the night, make sure you check what they tell you with those of us who know the whole story.

And if you get the chance, ask them to tell you what they're offering Fenland tenants and when they'll sign a contract to do it.

COLIN GREENWOOD

Treasurer, Fenland Tenants Forum and Chatteris Tenants Association

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