BY the nature of the job, I’ve had a few scraps with Camden’s housing chief Chris Naylor since he took the job three and a bit years ago. His policy of raising funds by selling off council homes is worthy of challenge. As is how that money is spent.
But whether you agree with him or not, you had to admire the fact he was big enough to simply say sorry this week when things went wrong. Some people at the council dismissed this week’s story in the CNJ about council tenants whose homes in St Leonard’s Square, Kentish Town, have been turned upside down by the ‘Decent Homes’ refurbishment programme as a ‘knocking story’. That’s a short-sighted, overly-defensive view, and misses the need to scrutinise the project, which will affect thousands of homes and families across Camden. It shows a lack of understanding of the line you can trace through years of political debate on this subject in Camden.
So it was good to speak to Naylor himself. After all, he is the one that’s been elected by the public vote. He went down and saw the mess for himself – and was quick to publicly apologise for the lack of progress. Saying sorry doesn’t fix a broken bathroom or make everything all right, but being open and transparent – and not hiding behind statistics and press releases – is an approach all senior councillors should take.