Socialist Worker

Ceiling caves-in at scandal-hit Prospect House

by Isabel Ringrose
Issue No. 2742

Prospect House, a converted office block used as housing by Brent council in north London

Prospect House, a converted office block used as housing by Brent council in north London (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Residents of Prospect House—an emblem of horrific housing across Britain—have reported new, worsening conditions.

People are forced to live in a dangerous environment on the bank of the six-lane North Circular in Brent, north London. They are housed in a converted office block, owned by a private ­landlord and managed by Shepherds Bush Housing Association.

Socialist Worker revealed their conditions back in 2019. The story spread as an example of the horrific state of housing in Britain.

Yet nearly two years on, the residents say conditions are getting worse.

Debris after water burst through the ceiling at Prospect House

Debris after water burst through the ceiling at Prospect House


Water started leaking through the ceiling on the first floor on Thursday of last week. By Friday evening the ceiling had bowed and the carpet was sodden.

Residents were then forced to ring to the fire bridge after a lack of action by Shepherd’s Bush Housing Association.

“We were told either a plumber, or from the out of hours team, would come out on Friday. Someone came to have a look earlier but now it’s the evening,” Miss Miller, a resident, told Socialist Worker.

“My daughter asked me ‘how come it’s raining inside?’ The ceiling is going to cave in, but the landlord is in such denial that his building is the problem.

“The fire brigade told us it was waste water from the flats upstairs. Someone from Shepherd’s Bush has now come to look but all they’ve done is twist back the broken pipe and stuck sellotape on.

“They knew of this issue from ­yesterday, it’s ridiculous. Now we have a big hole in the ceiling.”

The converted office block doesn’t sustain the 15 families, who are often left without hot water and heating.

They have taken to social media to complain about the building’s conditions. Shepherd’s Bush now checks in with the residents, but residents know it’s “a facade” and are still ignored.

“This is happening because we are the minority,” Miss Miller said. “We are all low income families who have to rely on benefits to sustain us.

“Low income families are chucked wherever. This is no way of living.”

And Brent council has provided little to no support for the soon to be homeless single parents.

The lease is set to run out on the building, but the council has not found the residents new accommodation.

Fadya, another resident, told Socialist Worker, “Brent council knew the lease here was for five years. Why haven’t things been put in place ready? They don’t have enough houses for us all.

“We’re not in control of our lives.”

Homes under the hammer—tenants face homelessness but council ‘doesn’t care’
Homes under the hammer—tenants face homelessness but council ‘doesn’t care’
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A resident from Flat 16 told Socialist Worker, “We’re told that the lease runs out in May but the court hearing will start after, so we won’t be homeless straight away. But I don’t want to live in uncertainty.

 “Brent council doesn’t care. There are so many brand-new houses, yet they say they can’t house us. It’s just a waiting game.

“I pay £600 for a studio room with my son that is below standard.

“For single mums it’s an ongoing cycle. It angers me. We have no ­stability or home for our kids.

“We’ll be put in more private accommodation and be moved in another five years.”

Selina, who also lives in the block said the council “need to move us out.” But she fears where they will be rehoused.

“Private landlords don’t want to accept housing benefits. And I don’t want to leave it last minute and have to go wherever Brent council dump me,” she told Socialist Worker.

“I don’t know what to do.”


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