Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

33.

Minutes of the meeting held on 28 April and matters arising pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 28 April 2015 were agreed to be an accurate record and signed.

 

34.

Sheltered Schemes Update pdf icon PDF 306 KB

Minutes:

Please see the report on page 3 (agenda item 2).

 

John Kennelly, Specialist Housing Project Manager, presented the report.

 

Cllr Steve Curran asked what checks were made on the guardian service currently occupying the Maltings. Mr Kennelly advised that while there were no formal inspections liaison meetings were held and visits could be arranged.

 

Cllr Curran stated that there were unresolved issues regarding Loraine Road and that Peter Matthew was drafting a letter to let tenants know that the Council was taking action; the ward councillors were to be copied in. He asked what options were being considered for the Loraine Road sheltered scheme. Mr Kennelly advised that it was originally intended that the units be used as temporary accommodation (TA) prior to being sold, subject to valuation.  However there was now some debate over whether the building should be sold or converted, possibly to affordable housing. Cllr Dennison expressed reservations about selling the property and Cllr Curran asked if it might be feasible for the Council to develop and rent the units out privately.  Suzannah Taylor advised that Savills’ report recommended conversion to 40 two bedroom units and it would be possible to combine shared ownership sales and rental of some flats. Mr Matthew advised that much depended on what speed the council intended to develop the units; if a quick result was required then keeping the scheme within the HRA was an option. There would be a need to decant the TA tenants if the flats were to be sold or rented. Cllr Dennison felt that although retention as TA may not be popular with other tenants it would be the cheapest option and TA was always needed.  Mr Matthew suggested that the building could be retained as TA or developed as permanent stock; it would be possible to convert the units to permanent HRA stock by refurbishing rather than rebuilding. Cllr Curran felt that insufficient information was available to make such a decision at the meeting. Mr Matthew advised that the Chair could sign off a decision outside the meeting.

 

Cllr Katherine Dunne asked if Wynne Court, Rose Garden and Burlington House tenants had been decanted. Mr Kennelly advised that currently people were not being moved out of these schemes but nobody was moving in. Officers would examine the possibility of refurbishing the units and continuing their use as sheltered accommodation, converting to TA or perhaps another option. Ms Taylor stated that the Maltings could potentially be used to decant tenants from Wynne Court in the future. Mr Matthew recommended that the Committee examined decanting tenants from Wynne Court as if that were done more options would be available for the units. Independent assessments on all 12 tenants could be carried out and reported back to the Affordable Housing Committee. Mr Kennelly confirmed that although it may be possible to move all 12 to Burlington House as a group, this would include void repair costs and a double payment of home loss compensation; also the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

Extra Care Housing Scheme pdf icon PDF 168 KB

Minutes:

Please see the report on page 11 (agenda item 3).

 

John Kennelly, Specialist Housing Project Manager, presented the report and distributed plans submitted by PRP Architects (see paragraph 3.1.4, page 13.) he confirmed that the scheme would incorporate lifts. Peter Matthew advised that there had been some difficulty in finding funds; there was no more borrowing capacity and more money may have to be found. Cllr Steve Curran asked about allocation of receipts from Right to Buy (RTB). Suzannah Taylor advised that the money was allocated across the housing budget as a whole and had to be spent within three years or given to central Government. Estimated income was under review but there had been 150 sales in 2014 and 70 in the last quarter. Retained income was £15.5 million which could be used to fund up to 30% of the total scheme cost. If sales continued then income would be available. RTB funding could not be combined with grants and RTB was the more attractive option. An allocation of £5 million had been received from the GLA giving £10 million of GLA funding altogether. Cllr Theo Dennison felt that affordable housing had to be provided, even if the market were to collapse and so even given the financial issues described by Mr Matthew the Council should proceed with building.

 

 

Resolved:

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee:

 

  1. Agreed that responsibility shall be delegated to the Assistant Director of Housing, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, to take all necessary actions to proceed through stages 1 - 5 of the development process (as set out in para 3.4.8 of this report) to deliver an extra care housing scheme at 178 Blenheim Park, Feltham (‘the scheme’) and to include the letting of a construction contract.

 

  1. Agreed that HRA funds to the value of £3.85m shall be made available from the date of implementation of this decision in order to enable officers to:

·         procure and appoint a project team to carry out the professional work required to achieve stages 1-5 of the scheme;

·         commission legal advice in respect of the title on the land at 178 Blenheim Park, Feltham and associated legal aspects relating to the scheme, including whether the land should be appropriated under section 122 of the Local Government Act 1972; and

·         instruct a land valuation in order to define the site value for the purposes of appropriation from the General Fund to the HRA.

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee noted that:

 

1.    A future Cabinet resolution will be required in order for the land at Blenheim Park to be appropriated into the HRA from the General Fund.

2.    Should the current use of the land at 178 Blenheim Park Feltham be inconsistent with that required for the scheme, authority will be sought for it to be appropriated to an alternative purpose under section 122 of the Local Government Act 1972.

3.    Officers of Affordable Housing & Supply Services may submit a grant funding bid to the GLA to support the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Future Management of Hartlands Gypsy and Traveller Site pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report on page 21 (agenda item 4).

 

Cllr Steve Curran wished Head of Affordable Supply, Nadja Stone, who had worked very hard on this project, good health and a speedy recovery, which was echoed by all Members and officers present.

 

Isabella Rossi, Affordable Housing Supply Manager, presented the report.

 

Cllr Steve Curran expressed concern at previous managerial difficulties at the site and stated that estimated costs had been greatly exceeded in the last four years. He felt that the site should be as well managed as any other social housing estate and asked officers if there was confidence that the project would be well run under the proposed management structure. Ms Rossi advised that officers were looking for a suitably experienced candidate for what was a highly specialised area and that a temporary manager was in post until the permanent vacancy could be filled. Once the project was complete rents and service charges could be increased, enabling a much clearer picture of finances to be formed than was currently possible. Peter Matthew advised that the site was still under construction with 16 pitches complete so far, with a further 10 almost ready. A total of 30 were to be in place by December.  There was still enforcement work to be carried out. No charges had ever been brought in relation to offences such as vandalism of CCTV cameras and illegal use of utilities but Mr Matthew felt that management would be easier once the build was complete; Residential Services was being restructured and the new organisation would take account of the site.  Once transferred to Residential Services the site could be managed like any other estate.

 

Mr Matthew stated that if the site were to be transferred to Residential Services costs would be met from central funds as accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers was classed as a social good rather than a housing good and so would not be part of the HSA. Cllr Katherine Dunne urged that enforcement be fully monitored. Cllr Curran agreed and asked that the site office be completed and running at the earliest opportunity as residents could not be expected to share information with officers. Cllr Theo Dennison advised that full confidence in the manager was essential if the site were to work; Cllr Curran stated that the post had to be a full time commitment, it was not appropriate for the role to be only part of someone’s job. Mr Matthew advised that the management structure was in place, it only remained to find the right candidate and reminded members that the site would contain 30 pitches rather than the average of 350 homes covered by a manager. Cllr Curran felt that the cost of clean ups for unmanaged sites put that into context.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee agreed:

 

1.      that the future management of the Hartlands Gypsy and Traveller site, Cranford, be undertaken by Resident’s Services Division and that the post currently within the Affordable Housing and Supply  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

37.

Brentford Towers - Ensuring the Towers' long term future pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report on page 29 (agenda item 5).

 

Sonny McCann, Senior Housing Development Officer, presented the report and distributed plans of the proposed works. He advised that a range of colours were available and sheet metal or tiles could be used. It would be necessary to remove damaged concrete before fixing the panels directly to the structure. The method had been used previously and was known to work well. Demolition had been looked at as an alternative but it was not feasible to replace the large number of units affected; 88 flats in each tower for a total of 528. The best option was to repair and retain the existing blocks. Life expectancy for the cladding was in excess of 60 years. Cllr Theo Dennison expressed a strong preference for white cladding rather than bright colours.

 

Officers would begin to examine options and cost before October 2015 and then report back to members with the preferred system. Tenants would be consulted, as would neighbours. Funding would come from the HRA. The basic structure of the towers was known to be sound but outer panels were failing and the future of the site as a whole had to be considered, hence the proposal to “infill”. The infill possibility was for three towers of around ten storeys each and again, tenants would be consulted. Cllr Curran advised that there was a need to brief members and hold public meetings about the proposals.

 

Cllr Katherine Dunne asked if there was any likelihood of opposition to the cladding. Mr McCann advised that the cost to leaseholders may cause some concern but steps had to be taken to preserve the buildings if the towers were to be retained; cladding was a long-lasting maintenance free solution. Peter Matthew advised that the timeframe was such that leaseholders would have to begin to contribute within a financial year. Cllr Dennison felt that given the 60 year life of the cladding longer term payment options should be examined. Mr Matthew stated that currently the Committee’s agreement was required for officers to begin consultation with tenants as soon as possible. Consultations would begin with the cladding proposal and the infill would be discussed later.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee noted:

 

1.      That the towers require major investment works for health and safety reasons as the existing cladding is affected by concrete deterioration. The preferred investment option is to over clad the towers with a rain screen cladding system.

 

2.      That a full report on the major investment works for over cladding the existing towers will be presented to the Affordable Housing Committee for approval, with indicative costs to be included within the update to the HRA Business Plan due to be reported to Cabinet in October 2015.

 

3.      That the results of a development capacity study for the estate support the long term retention of the towers, indicating that housing outputs  would be maximised through infill development on currently vacant areas of land and making use  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.