Monday, 13 November 2017


Dutch sunshine
fails to shift Riverside`s
black clouds
The headline on the magazine article says it all: Solar Deal  Is The Start Of A New Era . Many  millions of pounds are being invested by a Dutch firm in solar panels for British social houses says the article.


 “This is a  good deal for everyone -tenants get cheaper electricity, landlords improve the property and investors in the Dutch firm get a return on their  investment,” says housing expert Bevan Jones(left) in the article. It is published by the social housing trade paper, Inside Housing.

 Yes, the solar deal is the start of a new era for some people. But for many others, the deal has bitter memories.

They recall  an earlier solar deal- at Longtown in Cumbria- that has turned into a disaster because of the  bungling and incompetence of the landlord, Riverside Housing Association.

In that disaster, an estimated 60 tenants had promises of cheaper electricity. Instead, these 60 unfortunate people had bills of up to £4,000.

In that disaster,  Riverside did not get its property improved. Far from it. The social houses are now so blighted by Riverside`s bungling, that any  prospective tenants  don`t want to know.

And because of that disaster,  Riverside not surprisingly got no return on its investment. Far from it. Riverside has lost many thousands of pounds.

This story of the Riverside`s bungling has been told in earlier posts on this blog over the past months and years.
In this post we report that more than half the 50 Riverside flats in the town are now empty and tenants estimate that Riverside is losing over £100,000 a year in lost rent.

Let us compare that Riverside chapter of bungling with what is proposed by the Dutch  firm, Solarplicity and Maas Capital  which will be investing a total of £160 million in solar panels for British social housing.

Bevan Jones, managing director of the advisory firm Sustainable Housing comments in his Inside Housing  article:

“This investment  should alert those delivering social housing that responsible, ethical and sustainable investment has entered the mainstream in UK housing.

“While many will look at this as a challenge to the dominance and continued failure of the Big Six energy companies to provide value for money and service, it actually marks a wider change towards more responsible investment strategies”.

 More responsible investment strategies  are just what was absent when Riverside embarked on its Longtown chapter of bungling and incompetence.

More responsible investments strategies.

 Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation publishes this blog. Information about the Federation is available on 01228 522277 or 01228 532803