The MacData report that we featured in an earlier post generated a lot of press interest and public debate. However, during the investigation, tenants themselves were kept to the sidelines. The consultants were given specific structural items to examine such as the harling and leaking balconies. No-one thought it would be useful to ask the tenants what it was like to live in the houses, what defects they noticed on a day to day basis. So the Sentinel carried out its own housing survey focusing on four areas: Noise, Structure, Weather and Water. The results were published in April 1982 .
781 people returned completed forms with all areas of the community being represented. Heating was highlighted as a major concern as was noise and damp conditions. Residents also reported cracks in their floors and ceilings. And they complained of rain seeping into their homes. Noise was also a recurring complaint. The survey was an important addition to the body of information that was building up with regard to the housing conditions in Wester Hailes. But perhaps more importantly it championed the need for local residents’ views to be heard and acted on, placing value on their experiences and knowledge. And with the Sentinel being run by local people, this piece of consultation was very much community led rather than a top down exercise.