One of Croydon’s leading tenant representatives, who had more than 20 years’ experience, has died.
Michael Hewlett, of Longheath Gardens, Ashburton, became involved in tenant affairs in 1994 when he responded to a council call for people living in its properties to become more involved in the management of their homes and estates by registering their interest in joining their local customer panel.
This was a new initiative enabling tenants to meet regularly with those who delivered housing services, and local councillors. Within a short time Mr Hewlett became the panel’s chair.
His desire to improve services for tenants across the borough saw him give up his spare time to work with a number of tenant groups including the main tenant and leaseholder panel, which he also chaired for long periods during the past 10 years.
Over the years, he played a central role in working to develop a range of opportunities for others to get involved. Croydon’s innovative approaches to resident involvement have won national recognition over the years and Mr Hewlett supported officers on numerous occasions in sharing Croydon’s good practice to officers and tenants across the country, including speaking at the Institute of Housing Conference in Harrogate in 2010.
More recently, he was involved in developing Croydon’s commended approach to tenant scrutiny and gave many hours of his time ensuring that tenants had their say in the appointment of new council contracts for the responsive repairs service and planned maintenance. He was also a member of housing’s All Ages Group as he was keen to ensure that there was excellent provision of activities for young people on housing estates.
A member of the London Tenants’ Federation Committee, he also sat on the Association of Retained Council Housing (Arch) residents’ board where he ensured that the views of Croydon’s tenants were heard.
Mr Hewlett always found time for his local community. He was part of a local church committee that planned and developed the Longheath Community Centre, and he subsequently played an active role in the running of the centre, including the organisation of a weekly meal club for the estate’s older residents.
Michael Hewlett passed away, following a short illness, on 10 February, aged 81, at the Princess Royal Hospital, Orpington, with family members at his side.
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning
“This is terribly sad news, both for the many friends he made among council officers, and, more importantly, for tenants across the borough and further afield.
“He was a positive, happy man who had a great sense of humour and was always smiling, which helped him form good relationships with officers and fellow residents’ representatives.
“He’ll be greatly missed by officers, councillors, fellow tenant representatives and his local community.”
Councillor Maddie Henson, Ashburton ward councillor, said: “I worked closely with Michael on a number of issues and he never gave less than his best.
“When services failed to meet the required standards, he would ensure that the officers knew and he’d expect them to remedy any problems, quickly.
“He was the sort of resident that a councillor dreams of. Inspiring and dedicated, there was never a greater champion for Longheath Gardens and Croydon as a whole. I’ll miss him greatly and my thoughts are with his family and many friends.”
Family members ask that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Longheath Community Centre.