Shipping containers were hailed in 2017 by Ealing Council as a solution to help people who found themselves homeless and provide a better alternative to bed and breakfast.
In 2019, current leader of Ealing Council, Councillor Peter Mason welcomed the arrival of shipping containers converted into “innovative emergency accommodation” in Ealing as providing a “stable, comfortable environment to house people”.
But over the past six years since they first appeared in the borough, those living in them say it is “shipping container hell”. In July, residents of Marston Court in Hanwell revealed what they had been living through – cramped accommodation, facilities that don’t work and anti-social behaviour going on which the residents said they had little help or support from Ealing Council.
But now, another development Meath Court at Hope Gardens in South Acton which opened in December 2017 has been revealed to be even worse than Marston Court with constant anti-social behaviour going on, drug dealing and drug taking place in public, lights flickering on and off and the accommodation and areas around it broken or pieces falling off it.
Meath Court consists of 60 units of which 8 are studio units, 20 are 1 bedroom units and 32 are 2 bedroom units. Across all 60 units, the development was built for 288 people to live there.
The grounds at Meath Court are poorly maintained, the handrail areas to walk up and down floors have sharp jagged edges and metal areas on the stairwell are rusty or have fallen off.
The entry system to gain entry doesn’t always work as the gate doesn’t fully securely close and has allowed people not living there to keep the gate open.
Inside the homes residents have complained about hobs for cooking on don’t work and smoke alarms in rooms either don’t have test buttons or haven’t been checked by the council to check they are working.
Residents say they are being ignored by the council and both their mental health and physical health is suffering as a result of the conditions they live in.
One resident told EALING.NEWS: “There’s anti-social behaviour including drug dealing and people urinating in public areas daily. It really is not safe with what is going on. People come into the development as the entry system is not always working or they climb the over the rails to gain entry. There’s no CCTV here. Our front doors don’t even have a spy hole to see who is knocking.”
They added: “Like many others here, I have young children and it’s not safe to let them play outdoors. That’s why you can see children playing on the landings. We tell the council this but are just ignored. This is something you would expect to see from a rogue landlord. Ealing Council is acting like a rogue landlord in how they treat us. We are living in shipping container hell.”
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Neil Reynolds chair of Ealing Green Party said: “This is yet another example of appalling conditions that are the responsibility of Ealing council. The inaction that must have led to the properties falling into this state is unacceptable.”
Mr Reynolds added: “The council should listen to residents now and tackle some of the basic maintenance and safety issues.”
The cost for a two bedroom home is £370.55 one resident revealed on X (formerly Twitter). The resident also revealed that non-residents come into the development and use it for illicit purposes. The laundry room at the development has been taken over by people who have used it to sleep in.
Justicefor_meathcourt_w3 @MeathcourtW3 posted of their concerns and the impact it has on their lives: “drug users (crackheads) take over our laundry room to smoke drugs, have sex, charge their phones, eat food, vandalise property, STEAL clothing from washing machines, drink the water from the sink, and enjoy FREE complimentary heating.”
Frequently, drug users (crackheads) take over our laundry room to smoke drugs, have sex, charge their phones, eat food, vandalise property, STEAL clothing from washing machines, drink the water from the sink, and enjoy FREE complimentary heating. NO cameras!! 🖕🖕🖕 pic.twitter.com/8IIyxMXflH
— Justicefor_meathcourt_w3 (@MeathcourtW3) June 2, 2023
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, an Ealing Council spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear about residents’ experiences and are concerned about the quality of accommodation at Meath Court.
“We are seeking to deliver additional high-quality temporary accommodation solutions as fast as possible, but like most other London boroughs we have a chronic shortage of housing and we are facing a temporary accommodation emergency, with the market for temporary accommodation in London being completely broken.
“The council has also seen an increase in the number of households who are in urgent need of support with their housing, thanks to the cost-of-living crisis. In the last year, we have seen an increase of over 50% in the number of households needing emergency B&B accommodation – that’s an additional 100 households . While we always seek to support residents in need to the best of our ability, the council is not able to keep up with the demand for emergency accommodation and is now under extreme pressure.
“We strongly urge residents experiencing anti-social behaviour and problems with their homes to contact the council through the hostel officer directly, or by using the ‘report it’ telephone lines or digital forms. That means that we can rectify the issue as soon as possible. In the case of an emergency always call 999.”