Exacuees need your compassion

PUBLISHED: 11:39 24 August 2006 | UPDATED: 21:15 29 May 2010

I refer to your front page article (August 17) regarding Uttlesford District Council s plans to temporarily re-house at Holloway Crescent, Leaden Roding, a family that has been evacuated from Lebanon by the Government. I think it is extremely unfortunat

I refer to your front page article (August 17) regarding Uttlesford District Council's plans to temporarily re-house at Holloway

Crescent, Leaden Roding, a family that has been evacuated from Lebanon by the Government.

I think it is extremely unfortunate this matter has been reported in such a sensational manner. Your reporter was supplied with a statement and had an interview with the council's Executive Manager for Housing Services; however, only limited information appeared in the paper.

I would like to explain the facts. The council's housing staff have been dealing with this major emergency in recent weeks and have had to find accommodation for several homeless families at short notice.

The families in question are British citizens who have a right to housing assistance, and whom this council has a legal duty to help.

The flat in question used to be inhabited by the warden, but since 2004 has not been needed for this purpose. It was therefore identified as suitable accommodation, and a meeting was called to explain the position to residents and give them a chance to ask questions. It was fully explained the flat formerly used by wardens would be the only unit in the complex that would be used, and that this would be on a temporary basis only.

Regrettably, this meeting had to be held at very short notice, for which I apologise. However, I hope residents will understand that when the council has to deal with the repercussions of international conflict, we have no warning at all and must respond very quickly. Furthermore, the temporary accommodation available to the families cannot be used after this Friday (August 25).

The council is conscious of maintaining security in all its housing properties, and will address the issue before the family moves in.

I sincerely hope the views outlined in the article are neither representative of all the residents nor symptomatic of the Broadcast's treatment of victims of war and terror.

The family have been through a terrible ordeal and need befriending, not vilifying. I must stress these people are British citizens, well educated and eager to find jobs, and should not be treated with prejudice and bigotry, but welcomed.

I hope the community will show the compassion due to people who have been bombed out of their homes.

Alasdair Bovaird

Chief Executive

Uttlesford District Council

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