Councillor Halden, Portfolio Holder for Education and Health, presented the Annual Public Health Report that considered the current and future needs of older people with respect to housing. The report reviewed the evidence that worked for older people’s housing to describe the vision for Thurrock and that local and national data would be analysed to form a set of specific recommendations.
Councillor Halden stated that there was evidence that showed the links between good housing and health and that it was Thurrock’s ambition to provide attractive housing and communities that would meet the needs of the borough’s population as they age and to keep them healthy and independent as long as possible.
Councillor Halden thanked the Public Health team for the work undertaken in preparing the report.
Councillor Holloway as Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee thanked Ian Wake and his team for the fantastic evidence based report and stated that although the report showed joint working with Housing there should also be reference to joint working with the Planning teams. Councillor Halden thanked Councillor Holloway for her comment.
Councillor J Kent stated the report contained some good detail and evidence and that the following recommendations could have been in more depth. Recommendation 1(a). A need to be more aware that not all elderly residents had access to on-line facilities and information should be available in all formats. Recommendation 3(b). That a specific exercise should be tailored as part of a local resident engagement. Recommendation 3(d). That advice should be as independent as possible and there was a lack of housing advisors who were able to advice on housing options available to residents. Councillor Halden agreed with Councillor Kent’s comments.
Councillor Spillman stated the report had been presented at Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee and had no negative comments. Councillor Spillman stated that until the Administration told the Government that there was a housing crisis and until the Government provided further monies the aspirations in the report would not be achievable. Councillor Halden stated that the Council supported private sectors to target and build the houses that Thurrock needed and the homes needed for elderly would be incorporated into the Local Plan.
Councillor Pothecary welcomed the report that contained some levelled evidence base but had concerns that the number of proposals in the report rested on new properties being built and questioned whether the Council’s proposal was a reality. Councillor Halden stated that in March 2018 monies were directly put into building new homes and not through the HRA which enabled more opportunities for the 1000 new homes to be built.
Councillor Jefferies asked Councillor Halden what provisions were being made for the provision of healthy housing for the elderly residents in Ockendon.
Councillor Rigby questioned whether the levels of bedding at the Community Hospital on the Long Lane site would be sustained or moved elsewhere once the Integrated Medical Centre had been built.
Councillor Allen stated that Tilbury was short of eight general practitioners and requested an update. Councillor Halden agreed to write to Councillor Allen.
That Council noted the contents of the report and approved the recommendations within it.