Agenda item

Portfolio Holder Verbal Update


Councillor Spillman gave the following update:


  • Homelessness figures had dropped from 293 – 218 which was good news but a contingency plan was needed in case the situation became worse again.
  • With out of borough placements, this figure had reduced to two families being placed out of boroughs.
  • With Mears and general repairs, there were concerns on supply issues but this was being monitored and Mears remained at an exceptional standard.
  • In regards to NEET and development, he had engaged with the Chair and local Ward Councillors and was working with other Council departments to ensure that young people had the opportunity to go into training and be supported in the housing side.
  • The service had looked at the CO1 site and potentially, it would be possible to build full Council flats on that site.


Councillor Spillman said that he was impressed with the Housing Team and was encouraging the department to think bigger and be more ambitious for the borough as finances were in a better position.


Councillor Fletcher commented that it was good to hear that finances were good. In regards to the CO1 site and the rest of the borough, he asked what the plans for social housing were. Councillor Spillman said that the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) had the capacity to build social homes but the risk were the costs of materials. He explained that he would be meeting with Ward Councillors to identify where social housing was needed and which sites were suitable for this.


The Chair sought clarification on the housing plans for CO1 and if the housing would be for private ownership. She pointed out that the plan had not been through formal discussions or through scrutiny. Councillor Spillman answered that the plan before was for private homes but he had felt that this was not good enough for Thurrock. He said that the financial model suggested that other plans were viable. He stated that only informal discussions had taken place for the CO1 site and that no decisions had been made yet so was not part of the formal decision making process yet.


Councillor Fletcher mentioned that he had been a member of the Planning Committee for a few years but had not seen an application for social housing in that time. He questioned when there would be an application for social housing. Councillor Spillman answered that this would be submitted as soon as possible. He stated that he was committed to building council housing for social housing and that good quality sites needed to be brought forward.


The Chair asked whether the previous Housing Site Options List had been removed. Councillor Spillman explained that the viable sites would go forward and no new sites had been added since. He referred to the previous process of sites which was no longer in place and said that individual sites were for the Planning Committee to discuss if it became an application.


Carol Purser said that she was from the Tilbury Hub and that developers had engaged residents in previous housing development plans. Residents had identified issues and developers were able to resolve these.


The Chair sought clarification on why there were different levels of rent in social housing. Ewelina Sorbjan explained that there was a formula that set a target rent as the government had adjusted the rents which had not been growing in line with inflation. Therefore someone moving into a property may pay a higher rent than the previous person or a neighbour but the difference was a couple of pounds.


The Committee thanked Councillor Spillman for his update.