We're sad to report that Michael Hewlett, a key member of the
ARCH Tenants' Group has passed away following a short illness.
Michael represented Croydon Borough Council on the group and
brought more than 20 years' experience. He first became involved in
tenant affairs in Croydon 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 joining their local
This was a new initiative enabling tenants to meet regularly
with local councilors and those who delivered housing services.
Within a short time Michael 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 in Croydon, which he also chaired
for long periods during the past ten years.
Over the years, he played a central role in developing a range
of opportunities for others to get involved. Croydon's innovative
approaches to resident involvement have won national recognition
over the years. 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. He 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.
Michael 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 a weekly meal club for
the estate's older residents.
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet
member for homes, regeneration and planning, said:
"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'
He'll be greatly missed by officers, councilors, fellow
tenant representatives and his local community."
Chair of the ARCH Tenants' Group, Jenny Hill, paid
tribute to Michael's contribution to the group:
"Michael was a valued member of the group. He was like an
Elder Statesman and very passionate about tenants' rights. He was
very knowledgeable about housing matters and his input into our
meetings was invaluable. He was very humorous and very
well-liked and made new members feel welcome. We'll miss
Michael passed away, following a short illness, on 10 February,
aged 81, at the Princess Royal Hospital, with family members at his