Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Open Area, Lampton Park Conference Centre, (Civic Centre), Lampton Road, Hounslow

Contact: Irene Bowles, 020 8583 2075; e-mail:  irene.bowles@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

6.30pm: Apologies for Absence and Communications from members

Minutes:

 

Residents were welcomed to the meeting and apologies were given for Cllr Kamaljit Kaur and Tim Spilsbury. In the Chair’s absence the meeting was chaired by Cllr Mel Collins.

2.

6.30pm - 6.35pm: Minutes of the meeting of 16 March 2016 pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Minutes:

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2016 were agreed to be an accurate record, subject to the correction of the spelling of John Sear to John Seear.

3.

6.35pm - 6.40pm: Matters Arising

Minutes:

 

There were no matters arising.

 

4.

6.40pm to 6.50pm: Feedback from Hounslow Highways - Martin Clack, Divisional Director

Minutes:

 

The Chair welcomed Martin Clack, Divisional Director, Hounslow Highways (HH) to the meeting, who provided a written update on the issues that had been raised regarding the roads and pavements in Hounslow when he attended the Forum meeting in March. Mr Clack also circulated a leaflet which explained what HH does and details of how to contact the service. At the March meeting, Mr Clack had asked for volunteer lay assessors and was pleased to be able to report that John Beattie had volunteered to give feedback to HH on what they were doing well and what they could do better.  Mr Beattie and Mr Clack had recently visited the Star Centre on Star Road where they had identified a small number of problems, but more importantly they had identified the need for a dropped kerb and tactile crossing at Vine Place.

 

Councillor Mukesh Malhotra said that there was a problem with fly-tipping outside the front door of the Star Centre and in the car park. He had raised this issue through his case work but neither Hounslow Highways nor Serco would take responsibility for dealing with it. Melanie Gadd, Head of Environmental Services and Contract Management, said that she would look into this issue and respond directly to Cllr Malhotra.

 

A resident asked if HH were responsible for placing CCTV cameras and suggested that they could be used to provide added security for vulnerable and elderly residents.  Melanie Gadd advised that there were rules about where CCTV cameras could be placed and that it was unusual to have them in residential areas.  Details of the locations of CCTV cameras are available on the council website and Ms Gadd agreed to provide this information to Celia Golden. Ms Gadd said that she would raise the use of CCTV in the Joint Tasking meeting which considers neighbourhood issues.

 

Cllr Malhotra raised the issue of the condition of the main road from Hounslow Station into the Town Centre which he said he had mentioned a number of times in his casework. Mr Clack agreed to look at the frequency of cleaning and respond to Cllr Malhotra.  In response to a number of issues raised about footpaths and pavements Mr Clack advised residents to report these on the HH website. This would ensure that they would be logged, inspected, and a response provided even if it was to inform the resident that it was not at a level which required a repair. Pat Azille of Speakout asked if the HH website clarified what the levels of repair actually were, as some of the responses to the previous issues raised by residents said that there was no defect exceeding the prescribed levels of repair. Mr Clack stated that prescribed levels varied according to footfall, width of road etc. and agreed to consider how HH could provide clarity on this.

 

George Foster informed Mr Clack that he had volunteered to be a lay assessor but had heard nothing. Mr Clack apologised saying that he did  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

4a

6.50pm - 7.00pm: Public Response

5.

8.00pm - 8.20pm: Housing Allocation Policy Consultation

Speakers:

Ben Tomlinson, Housing, London Borough of Hounslow

Aderemi Osadiya, Housing, London Borough of Hounslow

Minutes:

 

Robert Johnson, Senior Housing Strategy Officer presented this item. He advised the Forum that a review of the Housing Allocation policy had been carried out and the proposed changes were now being consulted on. The key proposed changes were to replace the LOCATA system with a preference based single offer system; to move to multi tenure offers in the private sector; and to offer properties outside of the borough.

 

The Chair pointed out that there were only 25 days of the consultation period remaining and suggested that those people who might find it difficult to respond via the website contact Mr Johnson directly.

 

A resident stated that the Tenants’ Forum had been consulted and had raised a number of issues with regard to people with disabilities, as a number of the proposed changes were not suitable for vulnerable people who needed more support with allocations.  Mr Johnson replied that there were exceptions with regard to the single offer for people with a medical priority and there was quite a bit of detail about this in the draft Housing Allocations Policy.  In response to further questions, Mr Johnson said that it was unlikely that somebody with exceptional circumstances would be offered a 12 month assured shorthold tenancy and that existing secure tenancies would remain so. A resident said that they had been told that if somebody needed to transfer for example because of health needs then that would be the start of a new tenancy.  Mr Johnson agreed to clarify this.

 

Cllr Malhotra said that there were a number of new developments in Hounslow and Brentford and he was concerned about the lack of parking for people with disabilities. He asked if there was an equation that was used across London to determine what the number of disabled parking spaces should be. Mr Johnson said that he would raise this question with colleagues and respond to Cllr Malhotra.

 

The Chair noted that there was no mention or consideration given for people with sensory impairment and how they should be treated in the draft policy and asked that this be addressed.  A resident added that there was an appeals process for people with disabilities but this had not been outlined in the draft policy.

 

Mr Johnson thanked the Forum members for their feedback on the draft Housing Allocations Policy.

 

Resolved:

 

Robert Johnson to update the Housing Allocations Policy with the feedback received from Forum members and to clarify whether a move for medical reasons would result in a new tenancy being created. 

 

5a

Questions from the public

6.

9.00pm: Date of Next Meeting - 19th October 2016

6a

8.20pm - 8.35pm: Questions from the public

7.

7.00pm - 7.20pm: Introduction to new Contractor for Freedom Pass and Blue Badge Applications

Speakers:

Georgina Holland, Director of Dependability Ltd

Linda Mann, Occupational Therapy Manager

Tracey Cook, Statutory Functions Team Leader, Parking, London Borough of Hounslow

Melanie Gadd, Head of Environmental Services & Contract Management

Minutes:

 

The Chair introduced this item saying that he was concerned about the number of complaints that he and his fellow councillors had received about people having their Freedom Pass taken away from them whilst on public transport.

 

Melanie Gadd informed the Forum that her remit encompasses the concessionary transport unit, which includes blue badges, freedom passes, and taxi cards.  In 2015 a review of Freedom Passes, carried out under the parameters set by London Councils, had identified some people who were no longer entitled; however it was unacceptable that passes were taken away while people were travelling. Ms Gadd had been contacted by Speakout and would be meeting with them to see how communications could be improved so that when the next review came around Hounslow would be able to feed in their learning to London Councils.

 

Ms Gadd then went on to introduce Georgina Holland, Director of Dependability and Linda Mann, Occupational Manager Dependability, from the company which had recently won the contract for carrying out concessionary travel assessments.  Ms Holland gave a presentation to the Forum highlighting the assessment approach which was carried out according to the Department of Transport Blue Badge Criteria and the guidance on concessionary bus travel.

 

Cllr Malhotra said that he had raised issues in the past from residents who stated that assessment organisations played back messages for example they asked the person how they travelled to the appointment and if they said that they walked the assessor would then say that they therefore did not need a blue badge. Cllr Malhotra stated that this was a negative approach and asked that Dependability reconsider using these types of questions.

 

Ms Mann stated that Dependability had only recently taken over the contract, this was one of the questions that they asked but it was only one question in a series of questions and assessments which build a picture, however somebody being able to walk to a bus stop was not a reason for turning them down for a blue badge.

 

Aldonna, Hounslow Patient and Carers Forum, stated that children with autism might be able to walk but they often had difficulties in coping with a bus journey or any form of public transport. Ms Mann said that TfL had provided clear guidelines on assessing children with autism and if it was clear that it was unsafe for the child to be on the road then they would be awarded a blue badge.

 

Ms Holland advised the Forum that some people had previously been awarded a blue badge under the system where a local authority would have written to their doctor and awarded it based on the doctor’s response. The Department of Transport had found huge consistencies in this approach and had brought out guidance which was now being used today; this had resulted in some people not meeting the current criteria. Ms Holland added that Dependability carried out a holistic assessment and also had an appeals process which reconsidered cases very carefully.

 

Pat Azille from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

8.55pm - 9.00pm: Walking Campaign

Speakers:

James Jebb / Chris Norfield – Public Health

Minutes:

 

James Jebb, from Intelligent Health, provided the Panel with a short presentation about a new walking game called ‘Beat the Streets’ which was starting in September. The more people walked the more points they could accrue from tapping a points card on the boxes located around the borough. Prizes include passes to leisure centres, weekly vouchers, and a family pass for Syon House.

 

A resident suggested that the game should also refer to people in and pushing wheelchairs and not just those walking, cycling and running.

 

 

9.

9.00pm: Any other Business

Any other business which the Chair agrees to consider on the grounds of urgency.

Minutes:

 

The Chair stated that he had recently attended a Transport for All meeting about accessibility of public transport. One of the issues raised at this meeting was that of floating bus stops which it was thought might prove quite dangerous for people with disabilities. The Chair said that he would be inviting Transport for All to a Forum meeting.

 

Celia Golden advised Forum members that the meeting on the 19 October would be considering the new design for the Civic Centre and access to leisure services, and that TfL would be invited to the Forum meeting on the 6 December.

 

A resident said that at a time of rising hate crime it was concerning that LB Hounslow did not have a hate crime service. Celia Golden advised that the LB Hounslow does have this service which was working with the police and had recently carried out a piece of work on hate crime towards people with learning disabilities.

 

The meeting finished at 9.10pm.