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Social housing residents successfully campaign against heating bill hike

RESIDENTS of an iconic tower block in Sheffield are claiming victory today after campaigning against a £45 hike in their heating bills.

Park Hill flats in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, were built as social and community housing by the city council.

However it was sold to developer Urban Splash during the Tories’ enforced privatisation of council housing.

Today its 250 residents are a mixture of social tenants, private renters and leasehold owners.

In June they were told that an annual surcharge on their energy bills was to increase by £45.

Backed by community union Acorn, they launched a campaign against the increase.

It included a petition and a “noise protest,” in which residents gathered on the walkways outside the flats banging pans and making as much noise as possible.

The campaign was publicised on social media.

Acorn said the increase has now been dropped.

Laura Crittenden, a private renter and Acorn member, said that since the Covid-19 pandemic began she has suffered unemployment and is now working for minimum wage in a warehouse.

She said: “I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved. We were able to come together in numbers to improve the lives of everyone here in the Park Hill community.

“It shows that when ordinary people work together we can change things.”

The campaign was started by Beth White, a social tenant and Acorn member at Park Hill.

“The whole idea of Park Hill is that it’s for everyone,” she said.

“I hope this goes down in the building’s history as a victory for keeping Park Hill for everyone.”

Urban Splash was invited to comment.

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