Agenda and minutes

Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel
Thursday, 19th November, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: MS Teams

Contact: Dominic O'Brien, Principal Scrutiny Officer, 020 8489 5896 

Note: Use the link on the agenda front sheet or paste the following into your browser: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_YjZmNzEzOGMtMTEwNS00YTMyLWFmNzMtN2Q5YjI1M2Q2Mjgy%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%226ddfa760-8cd5-44a8-8e48-d8ca487731c3%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22d1dc05de-ecbd-4e6c-b7b3-3a52b6175baf%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

FILMING AT MEETINGS

Please note that this meeting will be 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. 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, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.

 

Additional documents:

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’.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

 

3.

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).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

 

4.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

 

5.

Deputations/Petitions/Presentations/Questions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel received a deputation from Sarah Klymkiw and Michael Jones on behalf of a number of leaseholders in the Noel Park area of Wood Green. It was noted that a similar deputation had been made to the meeting of the Full Council on 16th November 2020.

 

Sarah Klymkiw introduced the deputation covering the following key points:

  • That in September 2020, a number of leaseholders on Gladstone Avenue in Noel Park were issued with Section 20 Notices for major works incurring costs of up to £120,000 for some households. The leaseholders understand that these are the second highest set of estimates for leaseholder work that have been issued anywhere in the UK.
  • The affected properties are maisonettes in the Noel Park conservation area. In the early 1970s the Council had installed temporary prefabricated bathroom ‘pod’ structures to the rear of the properties which should have been removed 30 years ago. Sarah Klymkiw said that she understood from comments made by Cllr Ejiofor at the Full Council meeting on 16th November 2020 that these structures were now considered to be unsafe so she queried how long the Council had had concerns about this and why action had not been taken sooner.
  • In the 1970s, residents had been offered the option not to have a pod at all. However, in 2020 residents were not being given that option as they were being told that the old pods will be replaced with new pods despite other options being possible. The justification for this appeared to be convenience rather than sustainability or value for money because the change could be made in a day without the need for residents to be decanted.
  • Leaseholders had been told by the Council that the new pods would last as long as brick built structures, which she said were claims that simply parroted the manufacturers’ PR. She said that the 60-year warranty for the pods did not mean that they would actually last for that long or that the cladding would not need replacing as it was a risk-based warranty for mortgage purposes.
  • The proposals also involved replacing windows and doors, but no justification for the need for these works had been given and tenants were now concerned that these extra works would cause delays to the work on their bathrooms.
  • Detailed individual surveys would be carried out only after the contracts had been signed which raised concerns about the impartiality of the surveys in terms of incentives to drive down costs or determining the works that are necessary.
  • In the opinion of residents, communications and consultation had been handled very poorly by Homes for Haringey (HfH) and many questions from residents had not been answered.
  • Leaseholders agreed that the situation with the pods needed to be addressed, did not want to prevent tenants from benefitting from these works and did not expect the money to come from the rent of tenants. However, the leaseholders had been led to believe that the costs to leaseholders would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 295 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 14th September 2020 were approved as an accurate record.

 

7.

Cabinet Member Questions - Strategic Regeneration

An opportunity to question the Cabinet Member for Housing & Estate Renewal, Charles Adje, on developments within his portfolio.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Charles Adje, Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategic Regeneration, responded to questions from the Panel on regeneration issues:

  • Cllr Yvonne Say asked about the take up on priority-option purchasing for local residents at major residential developments at Tottenham Hale. Cllr Adje said that he did not have that information to hand and that this matter fell under the Housing portfolio rather than his Regeneration portfolio. He said that he would discuss this with officers and arrange for this information to be provided to the Panel. (ACTION) Cllr Diakides added that these kind of measures were important factors when the Planning Committee makes its determinations on planning applications so this information would be useful to see in order to monitor how effective the measures have been. Rob Krzyszowski, Head of Planning Policy, Transport and Infrastructure, informed the Panel that all the Section 106 (S106) agreements were monitored including the clauses on priority housing for local residents. The more detailed monitoring was carried out by the Housing Enabling team. Asked by Cllr Diakides which Cabinet Member and senior officer was responsible for S106 agreements, Cllr Adje said that these were Cllr Matt White (Cabinet Member for Planning and Corporate Services) and Rob Krzyszowski.
  • Cllr Brabazon asked whether any data was available on the progression of sales at Tottenham Hale. Cllr Adje said that he would need to engage with the Housing Enabling team to obtain that information, which he would then provide to the Panel. (ACTION)
  • Cllr Brabazon asked for an update on negotiations with the GLA on funding for the redevelopment at Love Lane/High Road West. Cllr Adje said that more information was currently being awaited on this from GLA on next steps. He indicated that he would be happy to provide a further written update to the Panel if more information on this became available. (ACTION). Asked by Cllr Diakides which Cabinet Member and senior officer was responsible for GLA negotiations, Cllr Adje said that the Regeneration team would usually lead in this area where he was the responsible Cabinet Member, supported by Peter O’Brien (Assistant Director for Regeneration and Economic Development). The Housing department may also be required to contribute in this area, led by Robbie Erbmann (Assistant Director for Housing).
  • Cllr Say asked for an update on the Wood Green Area Action Plan (AAP). Cllr Adje said that the Plan had been revised following the last consultation, but the Planning Policy team were still awaiting a decision to be made on the Council’s Accommodation Strategy. A number of sites within the AAP area were currently owned by the Council so the outcome of the Accommodation Strategy would have a significant bearing on the allocations and guidance and it would be premature to progress the AAP before this point. Asked by Cllr Gordon for a possible timescale on this work, Cllr Adje said that he could not provide a timescale but an engagement process with Members on the Accommodation Strategy would be taking place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Housing Delivery Programme update pdf icon PDF 206 KB

·         Update on Community Benefit Society (CBS)

·         Purchase of 104 & 106 Woodside Avenue – report to follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Introducing this item, Cllr Ruth Gordon noted that the Panel was already familiar with this programme but wished to continue monitoring it on an ongoing basis including any ‘red flag’ issues. She noted that the Housing team had provided a spreadsheet to the Panel listing the housing delivery sites.

 

Robbie Erbmann, AD for Housing, said that good progress had been made on the number of sites on the programme in the previous couple of months and seven new people had been recruited to the team. Building work was progressing at Joy Gardner House on Templeton Road which was the first direct delivery site. Despite the lockdown, the team was feeling confident about hitting 1,000 starts by March 2022, though it would take quite a lot longer than originally planned to reach 1,000 completions.

 

Robbie Erbmann then responded to questions from Panel Members:

  • Asked by Cllr Gunes about the potential impact of Covid or other adverse factors on the programme, Robbie Erbmann said that there had been a significant impact on the programme caused by the first lockdown, such as migration of staff to online working, the pausing of work on some sites and the shortage of some building supplies. The impact of Covid was continuing in the second wave with most sites estimated to be working at only approximately two-thirds of their normal pace but the same pattern of problems was not being seen in the second lockdown when compared to the first.
  • Askes by Cllr Barnes what a realistic timescale for the 1,000 completions would be, Robbie Erbmann said that the latest estimates were for May/June 2024, though the timescales for this type of project does often change.
  • Asked by Cllr Barnes what a realistic housing completion target for the next administration might be, Robbie Erbmann said that there were now sites with capacity for up to 2,000 under active development so, given the time required to get developments planned and built on a site, finishing the 1,000 completions and then getting a further 1,000 starts on site could be a reasonable target for a 2022-26 administration.
  • Asked by Cllr Barnes about demand for different types of home, Robbie Erbmann said that the existing aim was to build decent sized homes with outdoor space and he wasn’t sure that the pandemic had dramatically changed people’s housing needs, but should make everyone resolute not to deliver bad housing because poor quality accommodation causes additional problems for people in such circumstances.
  • Asked by Cllr Barnes about the potential impact of Brexit on the programme, Robbie Erbmann said that this would depend on whether there was any disruption in the market or on building supplies. The supply of labour could also be a problem, and while local labour initiatives and apprenticeships could play a part in encouraging local people into the industry, the shortage of labour could impact negatively on timescales for the programme. As this was a national issue, it would be difficult to mitigate against these problems, not least because  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Cabinet Member Questions - Housing and Estate Renewal

An opportunity to question the Cabinet Member for Housing & Estate Renewal, Cllr Emine Ibrahim, on developments within her portfolio.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Emine Ibrahim, Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal, responded to questions from the Panel:

  • Cllr Gunes asked about the type of social housing to be delivered through the Housing Delivery Programme. Cllr Ibrahim said that all of the social rent properties to be delivered through the programme would be Council homes at Council rent levels.
  • Asked by Cllr Diakides whether she was confident that the financial problems with ALMOs experienced in Croydon could not occur in Haringey. Cllr Ibrahim said that a number of solutions had been put forward by various Councils over the years to try to meet the challenge of delivering social housing. Haringey Council had decided to deliver this through the HRA a couple of years ago, when the HRA borrowing cap was lifted, so she was confident that Haringey would not end up in the same situation.
  • Cllr Diakides asked about weaknesses in consultation processes, Cllr Ibrahim said that she was aware of the issues, which were common across the sector, and expressed concerns about the problems of engaging with hard to reach groups. This would be exacerbated by the need to rely on online solutions in the current circumstances so it would be important to continue to try to find solutions.
  • In relation to the Housing Delivery Programme, Cllr Brabazon asked about the West Indian Cultural Centre which was marked on the spreadsheet provided to the Council as ‘direct delivery’, though she said that her understanding was that it was being delivered through Paul Simon Magic Homes. Cllr Ibrahim said that, to her knowledge, there was an ongoing conversation with the Cultural Centre about delivering something in partnership. Robbie Erbmann added that there was a long leasehold interest at the Centre, which had an existing relationship with Paul Simon Magic Homes, but that did not necessary mean that the Council would need to deliver the new homes through this route. In response to further questions, he added that there was no current agreement between the Council as freeholder and the leaseholder interest to deliver a scheme.
  • Cllr Brabazon queried why Stokely Court and Chettle Court were listed on the Housing Delivery Programme spreadsheet as she had understood that these were not being put up for development. Cllr Ibrahim said that, in relation to Stokely Court, the debate had been on the type of development and what happened to the existing blocks and not on whether there would be more homes delivered there. The Council did intend to deliver something on this site, but a conclusion had not been reached on what this would look like. She said that, in relation to Chettle Court, the development would be on a piece of vacant land. This would not involve the demolition of the block and residents had been written letters to reassure them of this.
  • Cllr Say asked about Waltheof Gardens being listed on the Housing Delivery Programme spreadsheet as she understood that a conservation area was being extended to cover this area. Robbie Erbmann  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Maintenance Service Level Agreements - Homes for Haringey pdf icon PDF 218 KB

Report to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mark Baigent, Interim Executive Director of Property Services at Homes for Haringey (HfH) introduced the report for this item which set out how the communal repairs on Council estates are carried out by HfH. There were around 9,000 such repairs carried out each year and the report set out how those works were ordered and the improvements made in this area.

 

Mark Baigent responded to questions from the Panel on the report:

  • Cllr Barnes noted the targets for response times as set out in paragraph 3.1.1 of the report and asked how often these targets had been missed. Mark Baigent said that he did not have this information to hand and would respond on this in writing, noting that there are monthly performance indicators for the target time on emergency repairs and for non-urgent repairs. (ACTION) He explained that the data reported on was for all repairs and not just those in communal areas. Cllr Barnes said there would be no need to separate out the communal repairs from the data as she would prefer to see the data for all repairs in full.
  • Asked by Cllr Barnes how residents report repairs if they do not use the App. Mark Baigent said that residents can call the Contact Centre which would report jobs through to the Repairs team at HfH.
  • Cllr Diakides asked whether there was a cyclical maintenance programme to minimise the long term costs. Mark Baigent said that HfH was working on a new Asset Management Strategy which would set out plans for the next five years and was scheduled to go to Cabinet for approval in January. This would cover all areas of the programme including cyclical works. Cllr Diakides suggested that the Panel should look at the Strategy to see if it could make any useful suggestions. (ACTION)
  • Asked by Cllr Diakides whether there was a sinking fund for leaseholders to pay in to cover maintenance costs, Mark Baigent said that he would look into this and provide a written response to the Panel. (ACTION)
  • Cllr Brabazon said that some communal areas on estates, such as Broadwater Farm, could sometimes be poorly lit and asked why improvements to these had not been carried out. Mark Baigent said that, as noted in the report, the Haringey Repairs Service will sometimes identify areas in need of improvement and major works in the course of carrying out a repair and will then provide a report to the Asset Management Team with their recommendations. He added that he would speak to David Sherrington, Director of Broadwater Farm, to see how had been built into their refurbishment plans for these blocks. (ACTION)
  • Cllr Barnes said that she was aware of cases when residents reported problems at annual site inspections and, though these were logged, residents later reported that the repairs had not been carried out. Mark Baigent said that the Estate Management staff who had carried out the inspection would feed the reports back to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 425 KB

To consider potential issues for inclusion within the Panel’s current work plan for 2020/21.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Gordon noted that the additional special meeting of the Panel on Noel Park would be added to the Work Programme.

Cllr Gordon proposed that the remaining evidence sessions for the High Road West scrutiny review, which had been suspended earlier in the year due to the pandemic, should be held in long sittings of the Panel, perhaps over two days. Cllr Hare agreed with this approach and expressed an interest in gathering further evidence on some of the examples of developments in Brussels that had been described by Professor Mark Brierley in his evidence to the Panel.

 

Cllr Gordon also reported that she had been approached by the Chair of the Adults & Health scrutiny panel about the possibility of holding a joint scrutiny meeting on the subject of sheltered accommodation which could be added to the Work Programme.

 

Cllr Diakides suggested that an item on funding models relating to the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and an item on asset disposals be added to the list of items to be considered by the Panel for future meetings.


RESOLVED – That the Work Programme for 2020/21 be updated on the basis of the above discussion and circulated to the Panel.

 

12.

Dates of Future Meetings

·         Tues 15th Dec 2020

·         Tues 2nd Mar 2021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

·         15th Dec 2020

·         2nd Mar 2021