Islington Tribune - by JAMIE WELHAM Published: 28 September 2007
Anger: Tenants of Quaker Court say they feel threatened by troublemakers from outside
Estate pleads: Slam the door on vandals
A FINSBURY estate which has been waiting four years for security doors has become a haven for drug dealers and muggers, say angry tenants.
Residents of Quaker Court, in Banner Street, claim they are too frightened to leave their homes because of the threat from troublemakers locked out of other estates.
Tenants on the 71-home estate say they were promised a security system in 2003. Security at neighbouring estates has been tightened with CCTV, alarm systems and electronic doors.
Tenant Pat Freeman, who has lived in Quaker Court for 41 years, said: “I’ve seen the estate go down the pan since all the security funds went to the other estates. “All their problems have been shifted here. We’ve got junkies shooting up on the stairs, yobs setting scooters on fire and vandalism is rife. People can’t walk about without wondering who is going to jump out at them. All we are asking for is some security doors – is that too much?”
Since 2003, regeneration body EC1 New Deal has allocated millions of pounds to Kings Square, Stafford Cripps and Wenlake estates nearby.
Tony Fernandes, head of the Quaker Court Tenant Management Organisation, said: “We have had a long history of EC1 New Deal making promises they don’t deliver. “On numerous occasions we have been promised these security doors, only for them to turn around and say there is no money or they just blame previous directors. “We deliberately made our requests cheap and simple. We don’t want CCTV. It is absolutely scandalous that they can walk all over people like this.”
He added: “There is a strong community on the estate but many people give up hope when they see funding secured for every other estate apart from ours.”
EC1 New Deal says the estate was not promised money for security. It believes anti-social behaviour is better tackled with environmental improvements.
Its chairman, Matthew Humphreys, said the purpose of the EC1 New Deal programme was to tackle deprivation. “With a limited budget and limited time of 10 years to achieve this goal, estate security works are not at the top of the list,” he added.
After a sustained letter-writing campaign to the council and EC1 New Deal, Quaker Court residents are now askiing for help from Islington South and Finsbury Labour MP Emily Thornberry.