Decision Maker: Housing, Finance and Regeneration Policy and Scrutiny Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
5.1 Members had before them an update from Councillor Andrew Smith (Cabinet Member for Housing Services). The Committee sought further information in respect of progress on fire doors and sprinklers, including fire doors in tower blocks. In respect of the consultation underway for the process of issuing leaseholder bills, Members asked what would happen to those leaseholders who had already received their bills. Members asked what criteria was used in respect of prioritising major works. Details were also sought on the Section 20 process in relation to providing estimated major works charges.
5.2 Members welcomed the steps being taken on homelessness prevention and asked if the main causes of homelessness in Westminster had been identified. In addition, Members enquired if
there were any preparations in helping homeless people with the onset of winter. In noting the number of people in temporary accommodation, a Member asked why a substantial amount of accommodation being built would be available at market rates. It was also asked why there was no mention of customers in the five key priorities set out for Housing Services. Another Member welcomed progress on implementing traffic management orders and asked how many orders were now in place.
5.3 In reply, Councillor Smith advised that consultation with leaseholders regarding fire doors was taking place as part of the major works planning. There was also a specific fire door programme in respect of tower blocks. With regard to prioritising major works, Councillor Smith advised that consideration was given as to what was viewed as most urgent and steps were being taken to ensure that access to sites happened earlier. Councillor Smith commented that there was a focus on early intervention in tackling homelessness and there was on-going consultation in developing the Homelessness Strategy. Councillor Smith added that there was a cold weather protocol in place in respect of homelessness. Members heard that 1,850 new affordable homes were planned for Westminster and residents on the housing list would also receive support in finding long term accommodation in the private sector.
5.4 Neil Wightman (Director of Housing) advised that there was every intention to ensure that Housing Services was customer focused and this would be made more clear in future communication.
1. How much parking enforcement has been rolled out on former CityWest Homes estates under the Traffic Management Orders programme to date and what is the completion date for the programme. (Action: Sam Swales [Project Manager] and Kevin Goad [Director of City Highways].)
2. Briefing note to be sent to Councillor Matt Noble on the Section 20 process. (Action: Neil Wightman [Director of Housing Services].)
3. Provide a timeline for the Council acquiring property and an update on the property acquired to date, to be provided in the next update. (Action: Gemma Stanton [Cabinet Officer].)
4. Reply to be provided on Councillor Richard Elcho’s query raised at the previous meeting on the use of drop keys at Orsett Terrace in Bayswater. (Action: Neil Wightman [Director of Housing].)
Publication date: 13/11/2019
Date of decision: 12/09/2019
Decided at meeting: 12/09/2019 - Housing, Finance and Regeneration Policy and Scrutiny Committee