Agenda item

Public Question Time (15 Minutes)

To receive any questions from members of the public which have been submitted in advance of the meeting in accordance with the cabinet procedure rules. The deadline for the receipt of public questions is midnight Wednesday 18 July 2018.


Public question from Caterina Sartori


I have submitted two formal complaints about the interruptions to hot water and heating supplies on the Aylesbury Estate. One of them had 200 signatories. Other than to intentionally frustrate and neglect residents why has nobody responded to these written complaints? 


Response by Councillor Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for housing management and modernisation


Although a verbal response has been done to the complaint to Ms Sartori, due to an administrative error a full response was not done to the complaints and this has now been taken to stage 2 and a full response will be provided by 13 August at latest. This will include an apology for not correctly responding to the complaints at stage 1 as well as for the issues with the communal system. An immediate apology is offered for not following procedures correctly and any inconvenience involved.


There have been issues on the estate, mostly with boiler and associated plant and a cost report and plan of action is being prepared to advise on the most cost effective remedy, which may include additional planned preventative maintenance and/or major repairs. Calculations are also being undertaken to see where compensation is required and details of this will be provided as part of the stage 2 complaints response.


Supplemental question


Ms Sartori advised that she was requested to submit her complaint via the tenants and residents association; Taplow did not currently have a tenants and residents association.


Councillor Stephanie Cryan responded by apologising further and confirming that it was not necessary for her complaint to go via a tenants and residents association and that there was a set process for complaints. She invited Ms Satori to contact her if she experienced any further difficulties in respect of this matter.


Public question from Victoria Briden


Why did you sell a 125 year lease when the building has a shorter service life, and why am I being charged upwards of £17,000 in major works for a building that is due for demolition due to a shorter service life?


Response by Councillor Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for housing management and modernisation


The Right to Buy legislation requires us to sell a property on a 125 year lease (unless our own legal interest is shorter).  The council has no option but to sell under the Right to Buy and the requirements are laid down in the Housing Act.  Once we know about a proposal to demolish, we issue demolition notices, which stays and then stops the RTB for a period of time – but this was not an option in 2003 when the lease was acquired because the intention at that time was to refurbish not demolish. The older a property, the more work may be required in order to maintain the building so the major works costs could increase as a building deteriorates over time. We carried out refurbishment works in Taplow including fire safety works in 2010-11 – the actual service charge for this was £1,667.89.  We also carried out lift repairs/refurb, electrical works and work to the heating system. The last major works service charge was for £3,442.84 in Feb 2015, for Warm, Dry and Safe works carried out in 2014 -2015. We are legally required to maintain the building in a safe and habitable state while we still have tenants in it; we only carry out necessary work in order to maintain the building.


Supplemental question


Ms Briden stated that  if works were being carried out that meetings should take place with the tenants/leaseholders for officers to explain the current position and background for these works and charges.


Councillor Stephanie Cryan responded by confirming that she would ensure that meetings take place to inform and update residents about these works.


Public question from David Bailey


If you are advertising the land allocation in the papers. What measurements are in place to reach the people who don’t check the newspapers?


Response by Councillor Johnson Situ, cabinet member for growth, development and planning


Where the council intends to appropriate land that comprises open space, the statutory requirement is for the council to advertise its intention in a local newspaper for a period of two consecutive weeks.  There is no requirement for the council to advertise an intention to appropriate where land does not include open space.


In respect of land at the First Development Site and at Plot 18, the council’s intention to appropriate was advertised by way of notices published in the Southwark News on the 5 and 12 July.  The Southwark News also publishes digital copies of its newspaper on its website, and the notices were also included in the digital version published online.  In addition, prior notice of the cabinet agenda items relating to the recommendation to appropriate these two sites were advertised in the council’s forward plan published on the council’s website 1 month ahead of the relevant cabinet meeting.


Supplemental question


Mr Bailey queried why meetings with leaseholders and officers were no longer take place.


Councillor Johnson Situ confirmed that action would be taken to ensure that these meetings take place in the future.


Public question from Felix Badu


My block has been earmarked for demolition for use as a flower patch, a car park and now most recently due to noise pollution if I am prepared to tolerate the noise, why is the council still issuing a CPO?


Response by Councillor Johnson Situ, cabinet member for growth, development and planning


As set out in the cabinet report of 31 October 2017, upon which cabinet resolved to make a compulsory purchase order for the relevant land, although  construction of the Plot 18 scheme can commence on land already within the council’s control, full implementation of the scheme will require the council to achieve vacant possession of the block at 57–76 Northchurch to enable this building to be demolished and this land to be redeveloped as part of the scheme in line with the existing planning consent.  That scheme will deliver 122 new homes plus a range of community facilities for residents that include a new library, community trust offices, GP and health centre and early years facility.


The land upon which the block of 57–76 Northchurch presently sits is required to construct the new highway that will be delivered as part of the Plot 18 development, with residual land being soft landscaped for the period up to its redeveloped as part of the wider Phase 3 development.  The council therefore requires vacant possession and demolition of the block in order to fully implement the scheme.


Supplemental question


Mr Badu asked whether it was possible to refurbish Chartridge ?


Councillor Johnson Situ confirmed that he was happy to meet with the residents to  discuss their specific queries and issues.


Public question from Prudence Amuzu


The recently cancelled HDV and numerous submissions from Aylesbury leaseholders have revealed significant flaws to social housing regeneration schemes, can the council state the measures they have put in place to rectify these?


Response by Councillor Johnson Situ, cabinet member for growth, development and planning


The reported concerns around the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) related to the level of certainty around the proportion of new homes to be delivered at social rents and the offer for affected leaseholders. The council considers that these issues are fully addressed in the Aylesbury regeneration programme.


For the Aylesbury estate the proportion of new homes that are to be delivered at social rents is set out in adopted planning policy in the Aylesbury Area Action Plan (AAP) and is also fixed both within the s.106 planning agreement for the scheme as well as the council’s development partnership agreement with its development partner, Notting Hill Genesis.  The council has also recently revised its rehousing offer for resident leaseholders affected by the Aylesbury redevelopment scheme in response to feedback from residents and has introduced an additional form of rehousing assistance, which gives qualifying resident leaseholders further options for purchasing new homes in the local area.


Supplemental question


Ms Amuzu referred to the average salary for residents set against the costs of  shared ownership homes which would require a minimum income of £73,000 plus approximately. It was felt that the prices were not affordable for local residents.


Councillor Johnson Situ confirmed that it was the council’s main priority to ensure that local residents housing needs were met including through social housing and that he was happy to meet the residents to discuss further.