Agenda item - Issues Raised by Members

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Agenda item

Issues Raised by Members

To consider the following matters raised by councillors:

 

(a)       Petitions: to receive any petitions submitted to the full Council or at the meeting itself;

 

(i)              Improve Our Estates Now – Councillor Janio (copy attached).

 

(b)       Written Questions: to consider any written questions;

 

(c)       Letters: to consider any letters;

 

(d)   Notices of Motion: to consider any Notices of Motion referred from Council or submitted directly to the Committee.

 

(i)              Truly Affordable Housing at Brighton General Site [Referred from Full Council] (copy attached).

 

(ii)             Deaths in Temporary Accommodation (copy attached).

Minutes:

(a) Petitions

 

Improve Our Estates Now

 

22.1 The Committee considered the following petition signed by 153 people and submitted by Councillor Janio:

 

“The Estates Development Budget (EDB) is a resident led project that improves council-housing-owned-buildings, community facilities, land or local environment - or that benefits the community and the quality of life of the tenants. The Labour Administration left £407,000 in the EDB Budget Reserve last year, and this year the budget was cut to £348,000 leaving £237,000 unspent.

 

We are requesting the Labour Administration spend a minimum of £100,000 of this reserve on improving the Estates across Hangleton and Knoll immediately.”

 

22.2    The Chair responded as follows:

 

“EDB reserves were £407,000, as mentioned in your petition, as at 1 April 2018.   The HRA 2018/19 budget assumes a total spend on EDB of £348,000;  £178,000 from this year’s budget resources and £170,000 from EDB reserves.   This leaves estimated reserves of £237,000 at 31 March 2019.   The current plan is to spend the reserves over a few years to temporarily boost the annual budget for EDB rather than spend it all in one year.  By doing this we have been able to make it easier for residents to plan and submit their bids by gradually reducing the budget rather than have a dramatic drop between years.  

 

The annual EDB budget is divided between the four area panels, according to the number of properties in each area.  Resident associations, and other groups of residents, can make bids for funding to carry out work that fit the criteria of the budget.  Residents make decisions on which bids to support at special meetings of the four area panels in April each year.  To spend an additional £100,000 in Hangleton and Knoll would undermine the established process for allocating the budget and making decisions on how it is spent and may be considered unfair to those in other parts of the City.  

There is still time for residents in Hangleton & Knoll to submit a bid for the 2019/20 programme and I have asked officers to contact representatives in these areas to offer their assistance.” 

 

22.3    RESOLVED:

         

          That the petition be noted.

 

 

          (b) Questions

 

22.4    There were no questions submitted by councillors.

 

          (c) Letters

 

22.5    There were no letters submitted by councillors.

 

          (d) Notices of Motion

 

(i)      Truly Affordable Housing at Brighton General Site

 

22.6    The Board considered the following Notice of Motion agreed at full council as follows.

 

This Council notes that the Brighton General Hospital site is a public asset, and as such should be used for public good; prioritising NHS use first and foremost with any spare land used for truly affordable housing.

 

This Council therefore requests:

1.     A report to be provided to Housing and New Homes Committee, detailing the availability of land at the site and the most appropriate ways in which to develop it for truly affordable housing, including options for development by the Joint Venture, B&H Community Land Trust, directly by the Council, or a combination.

 

2.     That the Chief Executive writes to partners at Sussex Community NHS Trust, to communicate the will of the Council expressed in this Notice of Motion, so that all parties can conduct negotiations with this in mind”.

 

22.7    Councillor Moonan welcomed the Green Notice of Motion and noted that this was one of the few brownfield sites in the city. This was an NHS owned site and the NHS were interested in working with the council. Key worker housing had been discussed in detail as nurses, physios and doctors were all struggling to live in the city. A report would be brought to the Committee regarding this ongoing work.  Councillor Moonan stressed that affordable housing was an aspiration. She assured the Committee that the Chief Executive was having conversations with the NHS. 

 

22.8    Councillor Gibson welcomed the action taken to date. A key point was this was a precious site that was publically owned and should be used for public use.   

 

22.9    Councillor Mears pointed out that the NHS would have aspirations for the site but housing could have an impact. She supported the work to help key workers and stressed that this should be made a priority. She would welcome a report to the Housing & New Homes Committee.

 

22.10  Councillor Druitt concurred with previous comments. He asked if the Chief Executive had already written to the NHS.  Councillor Moonan explained that there had been a great deal of discussion between the council and the NHS. The Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing stated that she and the Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture had met with the NHS three weeks ago and had discussed the Notice in Motion.  

 

22.11  RESOLVED:

 

(1)            That the Notice of Motion be noted.

 

(2)            That a report be brought to the Housing & New Homes Committee as outlined in the Notice of Motion.

 

(ii)    Deaths in Temporary Accommodation

 

22.12  The Board considered the following Notice of Motion:

 

This Committee notes that as a matter of urgency, a report is due to come to the next Housing & New Homes Committee regarding issues at Kendal Court, Newhaven and requests that it should provide:

·                 Information on the numbers of deaths in all the different forms of temporary and emergency accommodation over the last 2 years.

·                 Information of the support services that residents can access in Newhaven and a comparison with those available to residents in Brighton and Hove (including rough sleepers). Including any changes to the support provided over the last 2 years.

·                 A review of the support needs of the 54 residents of Kendal court, analysis of how well they are being met and what steps may need to be taken should more support be needed.

·                 Information about management in regard to managing the block and an assessment of the effectiveness.

·                 An independent survey of residents to identify their issues and concerns that we may seek to address.”

 

22.13  Councillor Gibson stressed that it was important that this was a joint Notice of Motion agreed by all parties. It was very worrying that there had been 7 deaths in 2 years. This meant that people were more likely to die in Kendal Court than on the streets. There needed to be a careful investigation with the support of the council. Councillor Gibson welcomed the fact that there would be a full report to the next Committee. He commended the motion.

 

22.14  Councillor Mears remarked that she was pleased to see the joint Notice of Motion which reflected councillors’ concerns. She stressed that councillors took this matter very seriously. The report to the next meeting would provide more information on why there were a higher percentage of deaths in this accommodation.

 

22.15  Councillor Moonan informed members that the council took any death of a person under its care very seriously. The Safeguarding Board had looked at rough sleeping deaths and had started to look at deaths in different forms of accommodation in the city.  A great many clients were very vulnerable and the Board was looking to see if there was something over and above that fact that was leading to deaths. The council tried to commission accommodation very carefully and were robustly managing contracts.

 

22.16  The Chair confirmed that there would be one joint report for the Health & Wellbeing Board and Housing & New Homes Committee as joint action needed to be taken. This was agreed as the best course of action by the committee.

 

22.17RESOLVED:

 

(1)            That the Notice of Motion be noted.

 

(2)            That a joint report be brought to the Housing & New Homes Committee and the Health & Wellbeing Board as outlined in the Notice of Motion.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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