Calls for secure tenancies for all residents of a housing block blighted by cockroaches, damp and security problems have been rejected.

The 121 people on non-secure tenancies in the housing block at Marsh Drive, West Hendon, asked Barnet Council for secure tenancies – which normally last a lifetime – after putting up with damp, vermin, flooding and other problems in the building.

With the block set for demolition, all the tenants – some of whom have been living in temporary accommodation on the West Hendon Estate for many years – will have to move out by October this year.

A shortage of social housing means they fear having to move away from friends and family to another part of Barnet or a different borough.

At a meeting of the housing and growth committee on January 27, Conservative councillors refused to back calls from the tenants and Labour councillors to give them secure tenancies.

Council bosses warned in a report that changing the borough’s housing allocations policy to give the Marsh Drive residents secure tenancies could delay other households with an urgent need to move.

They added: “This would mean they would have to wait longer for a suitable housing offer, leading to complaints and legal challenge.”

The plight of the residents of Marsh Drive, West Hendon was put in the spotlight when a mum appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme in October.

Mother-of-two Annie said her family had been “left to rot” on the estate and her children had been bitten by cockroaches.

As well as vermin infestations, residents have complained of flooding, damp, mould, exposed electrical wiring, broken security doors, drug-taking in communal areas and other criminal activity.

Speaking after the meeting of the housing and growth committee, Cllr Ross Houston (Labour, West Finchley) said: “Refusing to grant these tenants security for the future was a shameful decision by the Tories.

“The risk of challenge by other people is very low – as far as I am aware no other non-secure tenants are living in conditions as bad as this.

“We recognise that it may take some time to find the Marsh Drive tenants permanent secure tenancies – no-one is expecting to be leapfrogged over those in greater need.

“But the council could move the tenants straight away to habitable temporary accommodation while they wait for permanent homes.”

Council leader Cllr Dan Thomas (Conservative, Finchley Church End) said: “We again apologise unreservedly for the conditions that many Marsh Drive residents are living in. They fall well below the quality that should be offered by any housing provider.

“Some of the conditions are caused by the inherent faults within the concrete construction of the blocks, which are typical to council properties built across the country during the 1960s and 70s.

“While Labour councillors are playing politics with the issue, we believe that the best approach is to take action, which we have since September.

“We are assessing the housing need of every Marsh Drive non-secured tenant, to make sure that their needs are fully met as they leave the estate.

“As of last Thursday, eight of the assessed residents have been given a secure tenancy within the borough, while a ninth chose to move outside of Barnet.”

A Barnet Council spokesman said: “We consider the individual needs of every household when prioritising the allocation of housing to make sure those most in need are supported.

“The council ultimately has to balance the limited supply of housing and the needs of all tenants in the fairest possible way.

“All non-secure tenants on the West Hendon estate will have their individual circumstances assessed and could be offered social housing, either with the council or a housing association, if their needs are high enough.

“In the last phases of the regeneration of the West Hendon estate, around 60 per cent of non-secure tenants were moved into council or housing association properties with secure tenancies following these assessments.”