SHELTERED housing tenants tried to make it difficult for councillors to get to their meeting – and certainly made life difficult for the cabinet members inside the chamber.

The residents are furious at the removal of live-in wardens at council-run accommodation. They have been replaced by teams of officers who cover a number of schemes between them.

Before the meeting they set up what they called an obstacle course with a makeshift barrier, a sketched-out hopscotch piste, and a chalked ‘plank’ for councillors to walk.

Campaigner Kate Linnegar from union Acorn, which has co-ordinated the residents’ protests, said: “‘It really has felt like an obstacle course to be heard. 

"Prior to the campaign and implementation of the new system, residents voted overwhelmingly against the changes in a survey conducted by the council and the Tenants' Association for Sheltered Housing.”

Charles Guinness, 77, who lives in Charles Macpherson Gardens in Eldene, said: “We are not being listened to.

"We are trying to tell the council what we need, and nothing has been done.”

Inside the meeting protesters filled the public gallery and repeated their requests for an open public meeting with cabinet member for housing Cathy Martyn and the council's head of housing Mike Ash.

They had requested such a meeting back in July.

One of the tenants, Francis Smith, said: “We want a public meeting. The residents want a public meeting, Acorn wants a public meeting. We were promised a public meeting.

“When will we have a public meeting?”

Coun Martyn, who said the policy on wardens would be subject to review this autumn, said she would meet with residents in groups at the schemes and on a one-to-one basis – but meetings wouldn’t be open to the public or press.

She said: “My priority is meeting with tenants, but not a public meeting.
"The sheltered housing schemes are the homes of our tenants, and their privacy must be respected regardless of the good intentions around a public meeting.”
As they left Euclid Street on Thursday the protesters chanted and repeated their wish for a public meeting.