It`s all about new relationships…Teresa May getting a new relationship with Europe after the Brexit upheaval, and here in Carlisle, Riverside Housing Association`s Sarah Paton getting a new relationship with the city after an upheaval on Merseyside.
The Prime Minister is keeping her cards close to her chest in her negotiations to get a good deal for Britain. No such luck for Ms Paton who is Riverside`s North Region Director. Her cards have been marked by her bosses in the Liverpool head office.
Her cards are not a pretty hand.
Ms Paton, six weeks into the job learned this when she left her base on Tyneside and travelled 60 miles to the Flensburg Room in Carlisle Civic Centre to talk to city councillors about those marked cards and the Riverside plans they indicate. It was a meeting of the council`s Community Overview and Scrutiny Panel.
The plans are designed to save money- £30 million a year. The Carlisle operation-involving 6,000 city tenants and leaseholders- is being cut back as part of the Merseyside upheaval and city is planned to have its Riverside governing board removed following the recent abolition of the post of Carlisle regional director.
The board- and the regional director- have existed for 14 years, since the time that Riverside took over the city`s council houses. Among the board`s members are four city councillors. Getting rid of that board is not going to be easy, Ms Paton learned.
Not easy because as far as the council is concerned, the four councillors will continue to sit on that board until something is in its place. And the city council it appears does not want that to happen. So the board at the moment is in limbo.
In limbo too is the relationship between the council and Riverside because the Flensburg Room meeting settled nothing except a decision to hold another meeting in January.
The council hopes that the January meeting will result in what it calls a “meaningful relationship” with Riverside following the fractious relationship of the last couple of years.
Ms Paton left the Flensburg Room after her power point presentation and headed back to Tyneside with echoes in her ears of that fractious relationship that had surfaced in the meeting.
These echoes included:
1, many tenants` problems that Riverside had failed to address;
|Community failure- Coun Bloxham|
3, and Riverside`s failure to engage with local Carlisle communities.
This community failure was the subject of much criticism, particularly from Councillor Ray Bloxham who led the council house handover operation to Riverside 14 years ago. He said: “The one thing we were impressed with about Riverside at that time and the crucial factor in our chosing Riverside was its commitment to community involvement.”
Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation publishes this blog. Information about the Federation is available on 01228 522277 or 01228 532803.