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Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.
An apology for absence was received from Councillor Miles (with Councillor Alexander substituting).
To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on 9 October 2017.
The minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on Monday 9 October 2017, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or other interest, and the nature of it, in relation to any item on the agenda.
Councillor V E Guglielmi declared that she lived next door to Honeycroft in Lawford, which formed part of item 4;
Councillor Alexander declared a Non-Pecuniary Interest in item 5, as he is a member of the Bee Society and he wished to ask a question on the item, which the Chairman indicated he would allow; and
Councillor Amos advised that he was part of the working party where the approach to the Public Conveniences was discussed.
The Council’s Head of Housing (Tim Clarke) will be in attendance to provide the Committee with a presentation on the review of the Honeycroft and Spendells Sheltered Housing Schemes.
The Committee is requested to formally respond to the consultation on the principle of closing the Spendells and Honeycroft Sheltered Housing Schemes.
The report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing submitted to the meeting of the Cabinet held on 10 November 2017 is attached for the Committee’s reference.
The Committee was requested to formally respond to the consultation on the principle of closing the Spendells and Honeycroft Sheltered Housing Schemes.
Members had before them for their reference and information the related report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing which had been submitted to the meeting of the Cabinet held on 10 November 2017.
The Head of Housing (Tim R Clarke) gave a presentation to the Committee on the review of the Spendells and Honeycroft Sheltered Housing Schemes. The presentation covered the following matters:-
a) the statutory consultation with the tenants at both Spendells and Honeycroft schemes had commenced;
b) Cabinet had concluded that it was no longer financially viable to continue with the schemes at both Honeycroft and Spendells for the reasons set out in the report;
c) water testing at Honeycroft had identified unsatisfactory results and subsequently, as part of the consultation process all residents had relocated to alternative properties with secure tenancies, and an option to move again should they wish to do so; and
d) the tenants at Spendells had all requested to move out of the scheme and be relocated, with suitable properties being found for all 10 residents on secure tenancies with moves due to be completed over the next 3-4 weeks. During the consultation, 2 responses were received, one being positive and the Town Council had expressed a concern to the scheme closing;
Members expressed a concern that the schemes would remain vacant for some time pending a decision from Cabinet on the future options for redevelopment.
Having discussed this matter it was RESOLVED that Cabinet be informed that this Committee supports the recommendations to Cabinet in its report of 10 November 2017 in that:
(i) the Spendells and Honeycroft Sheltered Housing schemes had proven to be unpopular for several years due to their shared facilities and dated design and that it was economically unviable for the Housing Revenue Account to continually subsidise the on-going and increasing revenue loss of rental income at the schemes;
(ii) the commencement of formal consultation on the principle of closing both the schemes with residents in accordance with Section 105 of the Housing Act 1985;
(iii) the Portfolio Holder for Housing had attended to present the outcome of the viability work for each scheme to the Committee, during the consultation period;
(iv) the outcome of formal consultation along with more detail on the costs associated with closure will be reported back to Cabinet to inform the final decisions on the future of these schemes;
(v) an associated budget of £200,000 within the HRA in 2017/18, to support residents throughout the whole process, funded from the HRA General Reserve had been established;
(vi) officers had been authorised to commence preparations to secure alternative accommodation for affected residents in the event that Cabinet decides to close the schemes, including holding open voids at other sheltered schemes;
(vii) further work be undertaken by officers exploring the provision of alternative sheltered type housing accommodation after detailed financial modelling within the ... view the full minutes text for item 17.
The Public Convenience Strategy and the progress towards meeting its key aims and objectives
The Committee will receive an update from the Head of Public Realm (Ian Taylor) on the Public Convenience Strategy and the progress being made towards meeting its key aims and objectives.
The Committee received an update from the Head of Public Realm (Ian Taylor) on the Council’s Public Convenience Strategy and the progress being made towards meeting its key aims and objectives.
Since Cabinet had identified 10 public conveniences for closure, across the District, the following 9 had been actioned:
The facilities in High Street Car Park would remain open whilst refurbishment of those in Rosemary Road were completed where provision for charging is also under consideration. Refurbishment at the Quay, Harwich was ongoing. Refurbishment at Promenade Way Brightlingsea was also underway with design work currently being sought and refurbishment planned for completion before summer 2018 as well as other new schemes such as a further Changing Place facility in Walton.
The closure and refurbishment programmes had been delivered during the same period the cleaning and repair and maintenance services contracts for public toilets had returned to being provided in-house.
The target for savings would be met and discussions were ongoing around the varied future uses of the buildings in accordance with the Property Dealing Procedure.
The Committee expressed their thanks and appreciation to the Officers for their hard work.
Having discussed this matter it was RESOLVED that Cabinet be informed that the Committee supports Cabinet’s approach and it’s Public Convenience strategy including the continuation of exploring charging at further facilities where appropriate to do so.