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Agenda item

Deputations/Petitions/Questions

To consider any requests received in accordance with Standing Orders.

Minutes:

 

Deputation 1 – Enid Henry and Grace Lungu – Resident Procurement Panel

 

The deputation outlined that they had worked with the Council over the last 5 years, agreeing the residents charter, setting up the design panel, and developing the design guide which was used during the procurement process. Enid and Grace had also been members of the resident design panel and involved with the procurement of the developer partner for the past 15 months.

 

This work had taken up a lot of their time but they welcomed the involvement in developing proposals for High Road West and were also happy that the proposal included the Council acquiring the replacement new homes for Love Lane Residents and the appointment of Lendlease as the preferred bidder. They always wanted the Council to remain their landlord and to be able to remain in their area which some of the residents had resided in, over the last 25 years.

 

Having been involved in procurement process, the deputation was pleased with the outcome and looking forward to working with the Council on detailed proposals for the new homes.

 

They recognised that there was still more work to be completed on agreeing the leaseholder offer and detail designs but hoped that they could continue to work closely with the Council and create a good working relationship with the developer.

 

In response to a Cabinet Member question, the deputation advised that they were enabled freely to take part in the plans for their area and were able to ask questions to understand how the regeneration would be taken forward. They had help from an independent advisor to make representations to the Council on a decision which they felt was a good enabler for progress.

 

Councillor Strickland further responded to the deputation, thanking Enid and Grace for attending the meeting and giving up their time to take part in the procurement process. It was through resident involvement in the process, enabled by the support of the Independent Tenant Liaison Adviser [ITLA] that this proposal contained stronger and better outcomes. Residents would continue to be part of the next steps of the scheme and involved in shaping their area.

 

The tenants wanted the Council to be their landlord and the Cabinet Member was pleased that this outcome had been achieved and more new Council housing would be built in this scheme.

 

Deputation 2 – Zenek Chalarca and Maria Chalarca – Love Lane Leaseholder Association.

 

Mr Chalarca presented the deputation, which was based on providing the Cabinet with information on the leaseholder’s experience of the regeneration scheme in High Road West. He continued to outline the commitments made to leaseholders by the Council at the outset of the High Road West scheme which the deputation did not believe had been met. There were now, instead, a range of issues being experienced by residents on the Love Lane estate such as:

 

  • Repairs not being carried out.
  • Communal areas which had not been cleaned.
  • A large number of Council tenants had moved away from the estate and these tenants have been replaced by homeless households who have been placed in temporary accommodation.
  • There were squatters living in empty unoccupied garages near the Children’s play area.
  • There was anti-social behaviour, prostitution and drunken disorder on the estate.

 

The deputation felt that the only option for them, as leaseholders, was to sell their property to the Council at a price which they considered was below the market value.  Mr Chalarca stated that this conclusion was based on independent valuation reports.

 

The deputation advised that they knew of several leaseholders who felt pressured by Council officers and the appointed surveyor into making a decision about their property.

 

The deputation continued to outline:

 

  • Their dis-satisfaction with the progress in providing the leaseholder swap option.

 

  • The need for individual financial assessments to be carried out before the shared equity scheme was finalised to ensure that no leaseholder is unfairly excluded from the scheme.

 

  • Their concern that the previous deputation is considered a reflection and representation of the community feeling as whole.

 

They contended that the Residents Procurement Panel did not have an influence on appointing Lendlease as a partner and had not been involved in the scoring of the bids.

 

The deputation was seeking fair treatment of leaseholders and always looking to build a constructive relationship with the Council as this was the best way to obtain good outcomes for the residents in the area.

 

Response by the Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Planning

 

Councillor Strickland thanked the deputation for attending the meeting. He challenged the view put forward that the Council were intentionally running down the estate. The Cabinet Member advised that Homes for Haringey were aware of the current issues on ASB and had issued ASB orders and banned disruptive people from the estate. There was also new CCTV fitted.  The Local Authority was therefore trying to resolve the anti-social behaviour but was not responsible for causing it.

 

In respect of the valuations of leasehold properties, the Council worked in accordance with a transparent methodology.  Where there was a discrepancy in values they would work through these issues with the leaseholder to reach a fair value.

 

The Cabinet Member emphasised, that if there were leaseholders that felt pressurised into making decisions, they could contact him about this situation. The Cabinet Member had not heard any such suggestions previously of leaseholders feeling pressured to complete a valuation and these were provided when leaseholders asked for them. Only leaseholders could request that a valuation was undertaken.

 

There was a clear process on how the leaseholder’s policy goes forward with the current consultation on the Estate Renewal, Rehousing and Payments Policy, [ERRPP] which considers increasing the current offer for leaseholders. The consultation results on the detailed offer for leaseholders would come back to Cabinet in October and this was still work in progress. The Council would continue to work with the leaseholders in Love Lane. It was also important to consider that this was the first leaseholder scheme being taken forward by the Council and there would be issues to be worked on.

 

The Cabinet Member further challenged the view expressed by the deputation party about the motives of the first deputation party in presenting to Cabinet. He highlighted that attending Council meetings could be an intimidating experience and obtaining support to do this was not inappropriate. Furthermore, the first deputation had not claimed to be speaking for the whole community in their statement or presentation.

 

The Leader provided further assurance, that there was awareness of the anti- social behaviour issues at Love Lane Estate, at the top level of the organisation, and the Council were working through the issues to get on top of this situation.