Many TV viewers will have been shocked to see the conditions being endured by single-person households at Boundary House WGC, exposed in a Newsnight feature last week on Britain's housing crisis.
What was shown were several examples of a single room - a "studio flat" in estate agent language - being home to a mother and two children - a room being kitchen, living room and bedroom to 3 people! The entire block is privately owned but the families have been moved there from the London Borough of Waltham Forest.
"I assumed this would be deemed over-crowding, but it is not" said Liberal Democrat councillor Malcolm Cowan. "In WGC, a town designed for healthy living, as the pre-war slogan went - this looks positively Dickensian. Worse was the apparent lack of care or involvement by the London borough which has sent some of its residents here. A basically sound 1950s building, formerly a nurse's home, has been allowed to deteriorate by a Labour council who seem to have washed their hands of their residents, even though they are still responsible and who ultimately should be rehousing them. Welwyn Hatfield council will have to look after the environmental health issues that are being ignored at present".
"The latest government White paper on the future of housing should be used to demand a minimum humane standard of accommodation that will ensure that residents can live in safety and with dignity" he concluded.