Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Bill Lee Tel: 020 8583 2068 or email:  william.lee@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

17.

Apologies for absence, declarations of interest or any other communications from Members

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence or declarations of interest.

18.

Minutes of the meeting held on 17 December 2013 pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 17 December 2013 were confirmed as a true and accurate record and signed.

19.

Matters arising

Minutes:

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

20.

Sheltered Housing Redevelopment Scheme

Report presented by John Kennelly.

Minutes:

John Kennelly, Strategic Resource Coordinator, presented the report. Following the presentation Members questioned Mr Kennelly and discussed the matter. After full consideration of the issue Cllr Steve Curran moved to accept the report’s recommendation, seconded by Cllr Jagdish Sharma. The Committee agreed unanimously.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee unanimously approved the officers’ recommendations.

21.

Sheltered Scheme Review

Verbal update by John Kennelly.

Minutes:

Members were updated regarding the Sheltered Scheme Review by John Kennelly, Strategic Resource Coordinator. Mr Kennelly advised that there were currently five schemes where no decision had been made as yet. Two tenants were still living at Loraine Road and both were to be interviewed the following day. An intended date to move of 31 March 2014 had been given but although alternative properties had been offered there had been no progress. Officers would assess the tenants’ needs at the interview and hoped to ascertain why they had not accepted any of the properties offered. Money from the sale of the scheme was needed to fund further sheltered developments. Cllr Steve Curran commented that officers had worked hard to assist the tenants to move, there were very good sheltered schemes elsewhere in the Borough and cash incentives as well as moving costs had been offered. He expressed regret that two people were holding up a scheme designed to help a large number of people. Mr Kennelly advised that £5,000 had been offered as well as a £1,000 disturbance allowance.

 

Mr Kennelly stated that there were currently 62 people on the waiting list for sheltered accommodation and more than 600 who may seek such accommodation in future; there was therefore a requirement to provide 750 units if all existing schemes closed. Care homes were an option for some residents however. Cllr Curran referred to criticism by opposition members regarding what they perceived as delays but said it was vital that officers took a light touch approach to avoid problems when asking people to move homes. Cllr Colin Ellar felt that great expertise had been acquired and that the closure of a scheme in Brentford had proceeded in a sensitive and lawful manner. Mr Kennelly said that members of SARA (the Sheltered Accommodation Residents’ Association) had contacted him to ask why there seemed to be no progress. Whilst delays had occurred he assured members that there had been progress and he was glad that the Adult Social Care Team had been involved.

 

Cllr Jagdish Sharma asked about the quality of work by United Housing and whether they had employed an adequate workforce to complete the works on time. Cllr Curran expressed satisfaction with work at the Beavers Lane scheme and Suzannah Taylor advised that several schemes were currently underway. United Housing were a partner in the Manor Lane regeneration scheme and had a great deal of experience of working in Hounslow; they produced work of very high quality and finished on time.

 

Members noted Mr Kennelly’s presentation.

22.

Disposal of HRA Assets pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Report by Cllr Steve Curran

 

Presented by Nicky Pooni.

Minutes:

Please see the report by the Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Regeneration (agenda item 5a).

 

The item was considered as a matter of urgency with the Chair’s permission.

 

The report was presented by Nicky Pooni, interim Temporary Accommodation Manager.

 

All Members expressed shock and dismay that properties had remained empty for several years while officers remained unaware. They asked for assurances that all such instances had been uncovered and that the situation would not be repeated in future. Ms Pooni advised that mechanisms were in place to look at long term voids in HRA and general properties to prevent a recurrence and officers were determined that the situation would not arise again. Cllr Colin Ellar accepted that there were often good reasons for a property to remain empty for some time, such as awaiting extensive refurbishment but he called for a list of void properties to be maintained, with Members informed of any that remained empty for more than a few months. Cllr Steve Curran said that he had received calls from residents on the waiting list reporting long-term empty properties and demanding to know why they remained vacant. Peter Matthew, Assistant Director Housing, Leisure and Public Health, advised that there had previously never been a full register of properties and so no one had known the total housing stock. A register did now exist.

 

Ms Pooni asked for the Committee’s approval to sell two properties and use the resultant funds as set out in the report. A family that had rented one of the homes had been moved out through the courts and because of the impact on neighbours it was felt best to sell and buy smaller family sized accommodation. The value was estimated to be in the region of £1,000,000 each. Officers had not identified any specific properties as yet and Cllr Curran advised that replacements could be new builds rather than purchases of existing buildings. Cllr Ellar asked if replacements would be vulnerable to the right to buy and Ms Pooni advised that they would; it was statutorily unavoidable. Mr Matthew advised that at least five new homes should be stipulated as replacements for the two to be sold; Ms Pooni suggested as many as seven.

 

Cllr Jagdish Sharma asked if it might be preferable to covert the two houses and use them as homeless accommodation. Cllr Curran said that there were 2,000 families in need of two bedroom homes in the Borough and that was the area of greatest need, more social housing had to be built. He asked when the properties would go on the market if the Committee were to agree the sale; Ms Pooni advised that the report had been submitted as an urgent matter and the houses would go on sale immediately if Members agreed.

 

Cllr Curran moved to accept the recommendations, seconded by Cllr Sharma. The vote was agreed unanimously.

 

 

Resolved:

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee unanimously agree:

 

1.      to the sale of two large HRA assets,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Redevelopment Scheme for Affordable Housing

Approval of Design Fees for Rooftop Projects

Report by Suzannah Taylor

Minutes:

Suzannah Taylor, Development and Regeneration Coordinator, presented the report. Following the presentation Members questioned Ms Taylor and discussed the matter. After full consideration of the issue Cllr Steve Curran moved to accept the report’s recommendation, seconded by Cllr Jagdish Sharma. The Committee agreed unanimously.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee unanimously approved the officers’ recommendations.