CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Eviction threat for caretaker after 43 years at school

Council: 'We do want to ensure he has all the support he needs to find a new home'

20 June, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Ron Holding and his wife Janette

A SCHOOL-KEEPER is facing eviction after 43 years’ loyal service.

Ron Holding, 69, has been called to court next week after the Diocese of London applied to force him and his wife Janette, 67, out of their home in St Paul’s primary school, Primrose Hill.

Mr Holding was forced to retire two years ago following a heart attack and now the school wants to take back the property that came with the job. The couple have nowhere to go and are calling on the council to do more to find them an affordable home in Camden.

“When I came here as a school-keeper I said I’ll be carried out of here as a school-keeper,” said Mr Holding. “I’ve seen eight headteachers come and go since I’ve been here. I’m not angry at the school, it’s the council really. I just want them to find us somewhere to go. “It’s really heartbreaking. I’ve known this day has been coming for a while now but I’ve been dreading it. I’ve helped build this school, put on school discos every year.”

The couple moved into the house in March 1975 and their three sons – Stewart, Mark and Adam – went to the primary school. Mr Holding said he did not have a tenancy agreement or employment contract and that he had accepted the job in good faith at a time when the current housing crisis was “unimaginable”. He is one of three Camden school-keepers who have faced eviction from live-in school properties in the past year.

Last month the New Journal reported on the eviction of Ed Lopes from his home at Richard Cobden primary school in Camden Town. He has since spent nights in his car. St Paul’s is a Church of England primary school run by the Diocese of London that claimed in a statement it had been working with the council “to ensure that Mr Holding is found appropriate accommodation”, adding that a possession order would be sought in the courts on June 27.

But Mr Holding’s son, Adam, said: “The council, Diocese board and the school have done nothing to find them housing.” Because of legal aid cuts, Mr Holding has not been able to get a solicitor and is due in court next week with the school seeking an eviction.

The council’s housing chief, Cllr Meric Apak, said: “We have been meeting with Mr Holding to discuss his housing options. Due to St Paul’s being a voluntary-aided school, Mr Holding is not a council employee and is not automatically eligible for a replacement council house in Camden. We do want to ensure he has all the support he needs to find a new home and encourage him to get in contact with us again for advice and support.”

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