Agenda and minutes

Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel
Thursday, 4th November, 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: Woodside Room George Meehan House - Outside Venue

Contact: Dominic O'Brien, Principal Scrutiny Officer 

Note: To watch the meeting live click the link on the agenda frontsheet. The recording of the meeting is available on the Council's Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/haringeycouncil 

Items
No. Item

13.

FILMING AT MEETINGS

Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on. 

 

By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.

 

The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.

Minutes:

The Chair referred Members present to agenda Item 1 as shown on the agenda in respect of filming at this meeting, and Members noted the information contained therein’.

14.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apaologies for absence

15.

Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business (late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items will be dealt with as noted below).

Minutes:

There were no items of Urgent Business

16.

Declarations of interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:

 

(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.

 

A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.

 

Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

None.

17.

Deputations/Petitions/Presentations/Questions

To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, Paragraph 29 of the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

None.

18.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 397 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

Cllr Hare requested to see preview of the employment land study. The Clerk agreed to ask David Joyce.  (Action: Clerk).

 

In relation to a previous action, the Panel sought the Cabinet Member’s view on whether there had been any consideration of the Council building its own homes going forwards. In response, Cllr Gordon advised that officers had provided a response on this point but that from her perspective, there was no reason why the delivery of house building in-house would not be discussed in the future but that those discussions had not gone forward at present.

As a follow up, the Panel sought clarification around what the Cabinet Member’s view was around direct delivery of Council housing and the feasibility of building up the existing team to facilitate this. In response, the Cabinet Member advised that the Housing Delivery team contained an array of talent within it, including staff who had experience of project management and managing building projects and that this team was going to be expanded upon further. However, there were no plans at present to expand upon the roles in that team to include bricklayers and carpenters, for example. Any consideration of direct delivery of housing would have to be looked at in the round and there would need to be consideration of whether it was financially prudent for the Council to build its own homes or whether the costs of doing so were more than the Council could afford. The Cabinet Member acknowledged that there were some conceivable benefits to having a direct labour force but that these costs would need to be considered in the round. 

In response to a further request for clarification, the Cabinet Member set out that she had not had any discussions about the direct delivery of housing and that no consideration of this had been undertaken at present.

In response to further questions around whether there would be any discussions on this issue in the future and whether there were any plans to, for example,  undertake a feasibility study on this, the Cabinet Member advised that there were no plans at present but that she may look at the issue in the future.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting on 13th September 2021 were agreed as a correct record.

19.

St Ann's Development pdf icon PDF 732 KB

Minutes:

The Panel received a report which provided an update on the proposed development of the St Ann’s site, as requested previously by the panel. The report was introduced by Peter O’ Brien, AD for Regeneration as set out in the report pack at page 13.

 

The Panel noted that Catalyst had been selected as the Mayor of London's preferred development partner for a site adjacent to St Ann’s Hospital. This site was purchased by the Mayor in 2018 as part of the Mayor's Land Fund. The redevelopment would deliver around 930 new homes, 60% of which will be affordable. It will also provide a new and enlarged Peace Garden, improved streets as well as new retail and affordable workspaces. The Council was in negotiations to purchase 50% of the affordable rent homes. The proposals would equate to 147 Council homes, in addition to circa 34 homes being provided to Commissioning for Sheltered Housing.

 

The following arose during the discussion of this report:

a.    The panel queried the sums behind the Council’s allocation of 147, suggesting that 50% should be 152. Officers agreed to come back on that point. (Action: Peter O’Brien).

b.    The Panel sought assurances that the Council was going to acquire the full 50% allocation of affordable homes. In response, officers advised that this was the intention and that part funding had been received from TfL for this purpose.

c.    The Panel raised concerns around potentially high levels of service charges and sought clarification as to what the cost of the service charge would be. In response, officers advised that discussions on the service charge were ongoing with TfL and that they were unable to comment further at this stage as it was an ongoing negotiation.

d.    The Panel commented that service charges should be the same across all Council properties and noted concerns with any arrangement that created variable service charges in council homes. Officers advised that the AD for Housing would respond to this point in writing. (Action: Robbie Erbmann).

e.    The Panel requested that the Cabinet Member make a firm commitment that all Council tenants should be treated the same in regards to service charges. In response, the Cabinet Member acknowledged that this would be something that she would strongly encourage but cautioned that without knowing all of the facts she could not make a firm commitment at the meeting, there may for example be cost implications to the HRA.

f.     The Panel noted with concern that Paragraph 3.4 suggested that the service charges would be set by Catalyst and advocated that this  should be managed by HfH. The Scrutiny Panel asked for a written response about if/why Catalyst would be responsible for setting the estate/service charges rather than say HfH, in respect of the 50% affordable homes that the Council intended to acquire as part of the development. (Action: Robbie Erbmann).

g.    The Panel commented that although 60% of homes on the site were affordable, only 20% of homes would be at social rents.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Climate Change pdf icon PDF 650 KB

Minutes:

The Panel received a report on Climate Change, regarding how portfolios and services were contributing to reducing carbon emissions. The Cabinet Member for Planning, Licensing & Housing Services and the Cabinet Member for House Building, Place-Making and Development introduced how their portfolios were contributing to carbon emissions, as set out on the report, which was on page 3 of the addendum report pack. The Assistant Director, Planning, Building Standards & Sustainability, The Assistant Director for Regeneration & Economic Development and the Head of Carbon Management were all present for this agenda item. The following arose during the discussion of the report:

  1. The Panel queried where the authority had got to with the Local Plan and questioned what was being done to engage with a wide array of people. In response, the Cabinet Member for Planning advised that the consultation on the Local Plan was ongoing and that he had specifically requested that the views of groups who did not regularly engage with the Council were sought. Officers added that they were engaging with the Bridge Renewal Trust and the Youth Advisory Board to seek their input. Officers also set out that Haringey had received feedback from the government that its latest engagement strategy around planning policy was a best practice example.
  2. The Cabinet Member for Planning advised that the Cabinet was due to meet in a few weeks to review progress to date across a raft of measures related to climate change that were set out in the Local Plan. 
  3. In response to a question, the Cabinet Member for Planning advised that all 33 London Boroughs were working together to try and agree proposals around Energy retrofit works that would cover a ten year period, as having an assured funding stream and assured programme of works was the only way to make significant progress. The Energiesprong pilot was underway in relation to retrofitting homes in the agreed pilot locations. 50 homes in White Hart Lane had been selected as part of the pilot scheme, the works would be delivered in 2022.
  4. The Panel sought assurances around the Council meeting its carbon reduction targets. In response, officers advised that Haringey had agreed that the borough would be carbon net-zero by 2041 and that the Council’s buildings and vehicle fleet would be carbon net-zero by 2027. The Council had started the procurement process for a number of electric vehicles and officers were working with the Corporate Landlord to understand key issues going forwards. The Council had allocated £101m to retrofitting Council housing stock and officers advised that they were working through a strategy to deliver that programme, which included focusing on the worst performing buildings first. The target for these works being completed was 2035. In relation to wider engagement, the Panel were advised that at a Cabinet away-day earlier in that week, Cabinet had undertook to do more to reach out into the community and speak to harder to reach groups.
  5. One of the panel members suggested that the Council should be seeking to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Love Lane Ballot pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Minutes:

The Panel received a report, which provided an update on the resident ballot undertaken on the Love Lane estate as part of the High Road West Regeneration scheme. It was noted that the ballot took place from 13 August to 6th September. The GLA stipulated that the ballot was administered by an independent body, the Council appointed Civica Election Services (CES) to this role. CES had managed over 90% of resident ballots undertaken in London. The results of the ballot were that 55.7% voted in favour of the proposals, with a turnout of 69.4%. CES have advised the Council that they were satisfied that the ballot process was conducted in accordance with GLA regulations. The following was noted in discussion of this report:

 

  1. A member of the Panel enquired as to whether he may be able to review the ballots cast during the election in order to verify concerns around spoiled ballots etc, given that there was only a dozen or so ballots in it.

N.B. Clerk’s note – Officers have subsequently advised that there was only one spoiled ballot and the margin of votes between yes and no was 23.Officers advised that they were unsure whether this was permissible and that it may be counter to GDPR regulations. Officers agreed to ask Civica as to whether it was possible for a Councillor to review the ballots in some redacted form. (Action: Peter O’Brien).

  1. Cllr Ibrahim suggested that Civica administered the election and that they would have process in place for tallying up and verifying spoiled ballots.
  2. Members of the Panel commented that they were more concerned with allegations that the Council had been improperly involved in the process. In response, Cllr Gordon commented that CES administered the election and that any questions around the process should be directed to them. Cllr Gordon advised that as part of the engagement process for the ballot, officers were instructed to be clear about the Council’s landlord offer with tenants and be able to answer questions. Cllr Gordon set out that there was no evidence that officers had done anything to invalidate ballots or in any way undermine the result of the ballot. The Panel was advised that Civica concurred with the Council on this and had clearly advised that the ballot was run according to the GLA guidance.
  3. The Panel commented that encouraging people to take part in the ballot was fine but that they were concerned about allegations from Defend Council Housing that officers handled ballot papers or were involved in the collection process for the ballots in some way. In response, the Panel was advised that the Council had followed Civica advice to the letter. Officers advised that there were categorically no instances of officers collecting unsealed ballot papers or helping to fill ballot papers in. Officers advised the Panel that there were four instances where officers posted sealed ballot papers on behalf of residents at their request, for example due to mobility issues. It was noted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 382 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The panel reviewed its work programme.

 

RESOLVED

 

     I.        That the work programme was agreed.

 

    II.        That the Scoping Document for the Scrutiny Review on Wards Corner was agreed and that this should be sent to Overview and Scrutiny Committee for formal approval.

23.

New items of urgent business

To consider any items admitted at item 3 above.

 

Minutes:

N/A

24.

Dates of Future Meetings

9th December

28th February

Minutes:

9th December

28th February