Agenda item

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing


Councillor Johnson, Portfolio Holder for Housing, presented his second portfolio holder report to Members by highlighting the performances, the key challenges and the opportunity of this portfolio in 2018/19. Some of these were:


           The number of new tenant satisfaction Local Performance Indicators had been added to the scorecard for 2018/19 where 71.5% of tenants had been satisfied with the quality of their home.

           The Annual Tenants Conference had taken place in March 2019.

           The satisfaction with Transforming Homes remained high at 87.5% for 2018/19.

           The percentage of repairs completed on target was consistently above the contractual target of 95% throughout the 2018/19 financial year.

           That Improvements had been made on the Active Garage Project.

           The new build programme will deliver in total 117 new Council homes for rent.

           That Cabinet had agreed to deliver up to 500 new Council homes for Thurrock over the next five to ten years.

           That a report will be presented to the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee in November to look and identify the allocation of these 500 units.

           That a number of changes to the Housing Allocations Policy had been around the financial criteria and the allocation needs.

           That the number of new homeless applications had increased by 15% from the previous year and it had been identified that more needed to be done.


Councillor Johnson stated that the area of complaints was an area to be improved stating that the Administration were listening, learning and taking action.


Councillor Pothecary thanked the Portfolio Holder for the report and stated it had been concerning to see housing had the highest number of complaints at stage 1 when compared to other areas in the Top Ten Complaints Areas taken from the Annual Complaints Report for 2018/19. Councillor Pothecary stated that this would suggest the Council were not getting it right first time and asked the Portfolio Holder that complaints received were being upheld and what steps are being taken to reduce this number. Councillor Johnson stated he was not happy with the number of complaints but the Council were working to address this with Officers showing that these areas can be improved and was confident that they would improve.


Councillor Spillman touched on Out of Borough Placements and questioned what plans were in place to address this. Councillor Johnson stated there were 34 families housed in temporary accommodation outside of Thurrock and plans were in place to get this number down. Councillor Johnson stated this was the last choice to house a family outside of the borough and this will continue to be monitored. Councillor Johnson was pleased to announce the recent purchase of Brooke House which would increase in the number of Council owned temporary accommodation properties by ten.


Councillor Okunade thanked the Portfolio Holder for the report and requested more information on the achievements made by Thurrock Regeneration Limited. Councillor Johnson stated he had confidence and would support Thurrock Regeneration Limited in the delivery of new homes in the borough with an aim to develop 1000 units over a five year period. Councillor Johnson stated that lessons would be learnt going forward but confirmed that a matrix detailing site locations would be consulted on and that all Members having an opportunity to comment.


Councillor Gerrish referred to the abolishment of the Housing Revenue Cap following the announcement made by Government in 2018 and stated the development and plans should have moved forward more. Councillor Johnson agreed this had not been actioned as quickly as he would have liked but 500 units would be built over the next five to ten years and was confident and asked Members to wait and see the report that would be presented to Cabinet.


Councillor Kerin stated he looked forward to seeing the report and reiterated that the Council must focus on the consultation as the Belmont Road consultation had been poor. Councillor Johnson stated he was aware of the concerns of the access to Belmont Road but stated the report would implement these concerns.


Councillor Rice stated that it was good that the scheme in Claudian Way, Chadwell was coming to an end where 20 bungalows would be available for older residents to move into which in turn would release larger properties.


Councillor Allen questioned how many families had been housed in temporary accommodation outside the borough, what areas they had been housed and what was the furthest point a Thurrock family had been placed. Councillor Johnson confirmed that the number of families housed in temporary accommodation outside the borough was 34. Councillor Johnson stated that some of the families had asked to be moved, some had consented to the moved and some had been forced onto the Council. Councillor Johnson agreed to provide a breakdown of data to Councillor Allen if legally allowed to so.


Councillor Johnson summed up by thanking Members for their questions.

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