a) An update about the consultation of residents in the Stapleford block (report to follow after Cabinet papers are published on Mon 6th Sep)
b) An update about repair and maintenance issues on the estate.
Consultation of residents in the Stapleford block
Cllr Ruth Gordon, Cabinet Member for House Building, Place-Making and Development, introduced the report noting that this item was due to be considered by the Cabinet at their meeting the following day. The report set out the S105 consultation that had recently been undertaken with residents over whether they wanted refurbishment or demolition of homes in the Stapleford North block of the Broadwater Farm Estate. Responses had been received from all 21 of the households eligible to participate in the consultation. The majority of the responses favoured demolition rather than refurbishment so that recommendation would be going to Cabinet for consideration.
Cllr White commented that there had been only two options provided to residents and there was no option for temporary rehousing during refurbishment which risked conflating the issue of dealing with the disruption with the issue of the long-term future of the block. Cllr Gordon observed that an extensive response on this had been provided by the Director and that this issue would be the subject of a deputation at the Cabinet meeting the following day. David Joyce added that the recent exercise was a S105 consultation and not a ballot so residents could answer in any way they wanted and not necessarily in a yes/no way on the two options. The team also spoke to the residents directly as part of the consultation. The next stage would be to ballot residents and that would be a yes/no choice.
Cllr Ibrahim said that previously one of the challenges with having a binary ballot on the Northolt and Tangmere blocks was related to immediate health and safety concerns and so the GLA accepted that a ballot was not required. She noted that the Cabinet Member had previously expressed strong views about having a ballot on demolition and asked why it was different in this case. Cllr Gordon said that it had been a consultation not a ballot. The ballot would be on whether the scheme should go ahead. David Sherrington, Director of Broadwater Farm at HfH, confirmed that the GLA exemption on the Northolt and Tangmere blocks did not apply to Stapleford North. David Joyce confirmed that the whole estate would be balloted on this.
Cllr Barnes noted that, with regards to the recent Love Lane ballot, there had been allegations that there had a campaign for a Yes vote rather than a neutral approach and asked whether lessons had been learned on this ahead of any ballot on Broadwater Farm. Cllr Gordon said that it was a different set of circumstances on Broadwater Farm as the proposal redevelopment was for 100% Council homes so there was less controversy. Cllr Gordon said it was clear that the Love Lane ballot was carried out in line with Council protocols and the GLA guidance.
Update on repair and maintenance issues
Cllr John Bevan, Cabinet Member for Planning, Licensing and Housing Services, introduced this report and accepted that there were issues with the repair service on Broadwater Farm. A number of actions were listed in the report and these would be reviewed next March to see if they had produced the required improvements.
Cllr White said that much of the feedback from the ward Councillors that represent the Broadwater Farm area was about repairs being reported but not being actioned or the repair work being done to a poor standard. Judith Page, Executive Director of Property at HfH, said that the majority of capital investment had been internal on things like the heating system and new kitchens/bathrooms so a lot of the current issues on Broadwater Farm related to the communal areas. The capital investment for communal areas had been delayed and it was acknowledged that the way that communal repairs was managed needed to change and be more proactive. A lot of repairs were carried out but did not always have the desired impact or were not done to a sufficiently high standard. To address this, block surveys were carried out at the beginning of August, identifying 330 outstanding repairs, with 93 completed so far since then. She added that quite a lot of repairs reported by Members were found not to have previously been reported.
Asked by Cllr Tucker for more detail about the repairs that had been completed, Judith Page said that the 93 completed repairs were spread fairly evenly across the blocks and had been mainly plastering and electric works. From the block surveys, Debden block was found to be the by far the worst with 64 repairs required. Asked by Cllr Tucker who had conducted the surveys, Judith Page said that this had been completed by four interns over the summer. A surveying resource was being recruited but they hadn’t wanted to wait for this before carrying out the surveys that were needed. These had been paid interns and, while they were not surveyors, they had been fully trained before carrying out the surveys and some quality audits had been carried out by the Repairs Manager after the surveys had been done to check that what they had picked up was correct.
Cllr Ibrahim welcomed the internal works that had been done but said that she had visited the estate a month or two previously and had found the Debden block to have been in a shocking condition in the communal areas. She asked why the improvement work had not yet been done despite previous commitments. Cllr Bevan said that, as a previous member of Homes for Haringey board, he had supported a holistic approach being pursued. He agreed that the communal areas were in a poor condition but said that when the blocks were refurbished the holistic approach would apply and everything would be done, including the communal areas. This would be programmed in as soon as possible. In response to a question from Cllr Ibrahim, Judith Page confirmed that funding was in place to carry out the communal works.
Cllr Barnes expressed concerns about the length of time taken to complete repairs and speculated that some residents might not report communal repairs because they lacked confidence that anything would be done about it. She asked whether there were satisfaction check with residents after work had been completed and spot checks carried out to verify the quality of the repairs. Judith Page responded that there were published timescales for all of the repairs in three categories – emergencies (within 24 hours), routine (within 20 working days) and planned (within 60 working days). Statistics on overdue repairs were reported as part of the key performance indicators. A resident satisfaction survey was carried out by text message after all repairs and the satisfaction rate was currently in the high 80s (in terms of percentage). There was a target to carry out post-work inspections on 10% of repairs but this target had been suspended during the pandemic with fewer inspections carried out. These were in the process of being restarted. Cllr Barnes requested that statistics on repair timescales be provided to the Panel. (ACTION)
Cllr Hare reported that there had been helpful written correspondence on the repairs issue from the local ward councillor, Cllr Seema Chandwani, and proposed that the Panel look into these matters further, perhaps through a short Scrutiny Review. Cllr White said that the correspondence from Cllr Chandwani queried how the repairs money had been spent but did not feel that this had been addressed in the report. Cllr Ibrahim proposed a site visit from the Panel to the Broadwater Farm estate and to then for the Panel to produce an action plan with recommendations. (ACTION)
RESOLVED – That the Panel add a short Scrutiny Review on Broadwater Farm repairs and maintenance to the Work Programme. This Review would involve a site visit and one meeting to discuss and agree on recommendations.