Community Rallies as First Tenant Relocates from Knights Estate Amid RAAC Crisis and then Faces Shameful Charge. By Wilson Chowdhry

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On Wednesday, June 26th, Alesia Ann, a council tenant from the Knights Estate, signed a contract for her new home, marking the beginning of a significant transition. Alesia was forced to move from her long-time residence due to the presence of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC), a material known for its structural vulnerabilities. She is the first of the council tenants that Basildon Borough Council has offered a new home to as part of a broader relocation effort.

The Knights Estate is known for its strong sense of community, and this was evident as several local residents came together to support Alesia during her move. Among those offering their assistance were Angelica Malone and Wilson Chowdhry from Chigwell, both dedicated volunteers with the UK RAAC Campaign Group. Their support, along with that of other neighbors, was instrumental in helping Alesia and her two children manage the stressful move.

While Alesia expressed satisfaction with her new home, which is larger and boasts a substantial garden, the transition was not without its challenges. The house, though more spacious, was handed over without carpets and paint, leaving Alesia and her two children facing a turbulent period as they await the completion of necessary works by contractors.

The timeframe for the move added to the stress. Alesia had just four days to relocate, significantly shorter than the typical notice period. Despite this, she successfully moved all her belongings with the help of well-wishing neighbors and friends.

Tenants could face charges of £160 per room for failing to remove carpets, despite the short notice given and the buildings being scheduled for demolition.

Compounding the difficulty of the move, Alesia was informed that she had to remove the wallpaper and carpets from her old home and dispose of them before handing back the keys. This requirement, if not met, could result in a charge of £160. In light of this, a formal request has been made to Basildon Borough Council to relax this rule for homeowners from Knights Estate, especially given the circumstances of the decant and the impending demolition of the properties.

The current policy appears to be designed for situations where properties are being prepared for new tenants, which is not applicable in this case. Enforcing such a rule under these circumstances seems unnecessary and counterproductive. The community advocates argue that imposing a fine of £160 per room on residents for a task that is impractical within the given timeframe is both financially burdensome and logistically challenging.

The request underscores the need for flexibility and understanding from the council during this period of upheaval for many families. It is hoped that the council will reconsider this requirement to ease the transition for Alesia and other affected residents.

Wilson Chowdhry has written to Jonathan Tizzard, Basildon Borough Council's Assistant Director of Property, Asset Management & Development. Tizzard confirmed that tenants are not required to remove wallpaper, but noted that tenants must negotiate any issues regarding other items left in properties with their designated allocations officer for Knights Estate. Chowdhry has requested a blanket removal of the requirement to remove carpets, aiming to support families already distressed by the emergency evacuation. He stated:

"Residents of Knights Estate are already distressed and anxious, coping with an unexpected emergency evacuation. Charging them for leaving behind items, especially carpets, at this stage seems like a stealth tax designed to recuperate money that will be lost in the grants offered. This policy is nonsensical, especially considering these properties are slated for demolition, and all debris will ultimately end up in a landfill. I urge Basildon Borough Council to relax their current protocol, as these families are already enduring significant strain and hardship."

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"Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" By Nazir S Bhatti

On demand of our readers, I have decided to release E-Book version of "Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" on website of PCP which can also be viewed on website of Pakistan Christian Congress www.pakistanchristiancongress.org . You can read chapter wise by clicking tab on left handside of PDF format of E-Book.

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