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 11 January 2023.


Barry Duckett


“Why is the council considering a rent increase when the Canada Estate major works programme, a ten month contract, is still running 26 months late?  There has been no consultation with residents, officers have refused to meet us, and this looks like a waste of the housing revenue account (HRA).”


Response by Councillor Darren Merrill, Cabinet Member for Council Homes and Homelessness


The original contract period for the Canada Estate major works programme was 14 months. This has now been extended to 33 months.


There are many reasons for this, which include:


·  Review of, and changes to, designs such as: 

o  The inclusion of new pigeon netting following extended consultation with the resident project group (RPG).

o  Wider consultation on windows following concerns from the tenants and residents association (TRA) with proposed designs.

o  Wider consultation on the low-rise blocks on insulation and pointing as TRA not happy with advice by three separate consultants.


·  Review of flooring tiles within high-rise blocks - The RPG shared concerns with specification to refurbish tiles, which were considered not at the end of their useful life, and so will remain in situ.


·  Fire doors - Renewal of front entrance doors (FEDs) in response to new building safety regulation. i.e. Front doors must now be certificated and where they are not then new doors must be installed, which can take up to 12 weeks.


·  New windows to low-rise blocks – The RPG requested wider consultation with proposal on new windows in the low-rise block which resulted in delays.


·  New legislation – Building and fire regulations now require a broader more intrusive surveys by qualified fire engineers to understand the structure and fabric of our buildings to mitigate fire risks.


·  The impact of the COVID 19 – The pandemic meant that works had to be suspended, due to government guidelines and repeated lockdowns. The pandemic also caused delays through supply chain issues for materials and inflated costs.


The council have undertaken wide ranging forms of consultation on this scheme as requested from the Resident Project Group (RPG) – often beyond the level of consultation we would normally apply to schemes that have been successfully delivered.


The RPG Chair continues to be included in monthly project meetings and in additional briefings about the scheme, either in-person or online. We have engaged in this way to ensure residents are clear on the status of the project. This has been as a direct result of the level of requests made by the TRA.


Officers and members including the day-to-day operational team are actively engaged in the consultation process at Canada Estate. This includes regular site visits by the project manager and also attendance of the strategic director, director of asset management, assistant director of building safety, often including councillors and lead members.


Our consultation process has included:


·  Section 20, Notice of Intention and Notice of Proposal

·  Resident Consultation meetings

·  Resident Project Group meetings 

·  Tenant and Resident Association meetings and AGMs

·  Newsletters

·  Special briefings on design changes to RPG.


The major works team are committed to the continued high levels of consultation to engage as promised under the guidance of Putting Residents First and beyond.


If there is any concern on our level of engagement, please do raise it with the cabinet member for council homes and homelessness.

Supporting documents: