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East Kent Housing 'no longer fit for purpose', says former Canterbury City Council leader

By Joe Wright

The former leader of Canterbury City Council believes East Kent Housing is “no longer fit for purpose”.

Simon Cook wants the council to “seriously consider” ditching the firm following a widespread gas safety oversight.

Mr Cook, who was ousted as authority leader in May, says the the list of blunders has now reached unacceptable heights.

Ex-Canterbury City Council leader Simon Cook
Ex-Canterbury City Council leader Simon Cook

“It’s now clear to me that EKH is no longer fit for purpose,” he said.

“Although there are hard working and diligent members of staff across the organisation, the management and controls are clearly not up to the job in hand, and things have gone past the point of redemption.

Canterbury City Council must now seriously consider withdrawing from EKH - in agreement or otherwise with the partner councils.

“There have been too many errors. Council tenants deserve a better service than EKH seems able to deliver.”

The Conservative, who last January apologised for the “hugely regrettable” conditions in temporary accommodation hostels, says EKH has failed to improve despite extra funding.

He said: “During my time as leader there were issues with performance - which were followed up robustly with the senior management of East Kent Housing. At the beginning of this year, this culminated in an agreed improvement plan with extra funding from the four councils that own EKH.

“I did however make it crystal clear at the time to the management that this was their last chance to deliver real and lasting improvement.

“This is why I was horrified to read of the missing gas safety checks - this is such a fundamental and basic part of property management, it beggars belief how this could ever happen.”

What do you think? Comment below or email kentishgazette@thekmgroup.co.uk.

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