Greenwich Council

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Jean Riddler  Email: jean.riddler@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5857

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received for Councillors Bill Freeman, Clare Morris, Paul Morrissey, Cherry Parker, Radha Rabadia, Aidan Smith, Danny Thorpe and Ray Walker.

 

Apologies for lateness were received for Councillor Mark James.

2.

Minutes

To agree the Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 25 June 2014.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the Minutes of the meeting of Full Council held on 25 June 2014 be confirmed and signed as a true and accurate record.

 

3.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor, Councillor Hayes, made the following announcements:

 

·        That Greenwich Housing Rights Volunteers had been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service for the work of its court-based volunteers.  The Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Dr van der Merwe, presented the award to Chris Minnoch, Greenwich Housing Rights.

 

·        That the Royal Borough’s New Build bungalows had won the Housing Design Awards 2014; Councillor Kirby, Cabinet Member for Housing, presented the award to the Head of Strategy & Partnerships.

 

·        That the Right Honourable Mark Francois MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, had complemented the Council on an impressive and successful Great Get-Together and Armed Forces Day and had asked for his appreciation to be reported to the Council.  

 

·        That former councillor Elizabeth Truss had been appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairsin the recent Government Cabinet re-shuffle.

 

·        That three former Members of the Council had sadly died, namely :

 

Barry Taylor who had served as a Councillor to the Middle Park Ward between1994 - 2002 and the Shooters Hill Ward, between 2010 -2014. 

Robert (Bob) Lewis, a Councillor between 1990 - 2006 representing residents of the Hornfair and Charlton Wards during this time.

Charles Brooker who served as a Councillor between 1978 - 1982, representing residents of the St Mary’s Ward during this time. 

 

Councillor Brooks, MacCarthy, Austen, Smith (J) and Drury spoke in tribute to former councillors Brooker, Lewis and Talyor highlighting their personal contributions and commitment to the Borough.

 

The Chamber rose and joined the Mayor in a minute’s silence in memory of their former colleagues.

 

The Mayor advised that he had agreed to take item 19 - Improving Housing Repairs - Modernising Craft Workers’ Terms and Conditions  - as an item of urgent business and he stated that understood that both Party Group had been briefed about this matter.

 

4.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the list of Councillors’ membership (as Council appointed representatives) on outside bodies, joint committees and School Governing Bodies is noted.

5.

Notice of Members wishing to exceed the 5 minute rule

Minutes:

The Council noted that there had been no requests to exceed the five minute rule.

6.

Petitions

Presentation to the Council of petitions for consideration.

Minutes:

The following petitions were presented at the meeting;

Subject and Number of Signatures

Presenting Councillor

Lead Department

For more buses serving Academy Road and pedestrian crossing serving residents, visitors to the Old Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.

 

100 signatures

Councillor

David Gardner

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

 

 

 

Help to save the Crossways Gymnastics Club.

 

Circa 4,800 signatures

Councillor

Olu Babatola

Director of Culture, Sport & Media

 

 

 

Against the introduction of Parking Permits to the Flamstead Estate.

 

89 signatures

Councillor

Denise Scott-MacDonald

Director of Housing Services

 

 

 

Health concerns about operation of WIFI rather than safer cable options internet systems in most if not all of the schools in the borough.

 

60 signatures

Councillor

Harry Singh

Chief Executive

 

 

 

Request that Greenwich council paint white lines across the drives of all properties in Colepitts Wood Road.

 

65 signatures

Councillor

Matt Clare

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

 

 

 

 

 

7.

Public Deputations on matters not otherwise on the agenda

Minutes:

The Council noted that there had been no requests for public deputations.

8.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Up to half an hour will be allowed for questions by Members of the Public.

 

Questions will be taken in the order notices are received by the Chief Executive.  Each question to have no more than one part.  No member of the public shall ask more than 2 questions at a meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised the meeting that notice had been received of 11 written questions by members of the public.  He drew attention to the composite Reply to Questions 6, 7 and 8 and that the questioners could still ask a supplementary question in relation to each of their questions.

 

He advised that, in the known absence of Councillor Thorpe any of his supplementary questions would be answered by Councillor Hyland.

 

The questions and replies, together with the supplementary submissions made during the meeting are attached as Appendix A to these minutes.

 

 

 

9.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 140 KB

a.      To receive written responses to questions submitted by Members in line with procedure Rule A1.38

 

b.     Up to 10 minutes will be allowed for Members questions.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor, Councillor Hayes, advised the meeting that notice had been received of 17 written questions.  He advised that any supplementary questions for Councillor Thorpe would be answered by Councillor Hyland as Councillor Thorpe had given his apologies for this meeting.

 

The questions and replies, together with the supplementary questions made during the meeting, are attached as Appendix B to these minutes.

 

Under procedures for oral question, the Mayor invited questions to Members of the Cabinet for response.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Hartley, regarding the criteria for replacing signs with ones that had the Royal Borough of Greenwich branding, Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, stated that a balance needed to be struck between replacing all signs, in which case there could be accusations of waste, or replacing old ones when required for which it could be seen that there was not sufficient enthusiasm for the Borough’s Royal status.  The Leader stated that the criteria for the replacement of road signs was adequate, however if any Member was aware of a road sign that needed replacing they should either write to her office or to Councillor Danny Thorpe.

 

Councillor Geary emphasised, further to the supplementary to her written question in respect of Ward Members being advised of visits to their Wards, the importance of ward members being kept informed of events and visits that impacted on their ward.  Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, responded that the visit in question had been requested by the local Member of Parliament and he was responsible for identifying those to accompany him on his visit.  Councillor Hyland stated that should Councillor Geary wish to have a tour of her ward with Officers to identify relevant issues this could be arranged.

 

Councillor Hartley asked if the Leader would join in a cross-party campaign calling for Woolwich Arsenal Station to be re-zoned.  In response, Councillor Hyland stated that she was supportive of the campaign and would support any measures that assisted residents and helped encourage the regeneration of the Borough.

 

Councillor Drury stated that ward members should be informed of events and visits to their ward; and highlighted the recent re-opening of the Orangery and that not all ward members were informed or invited. In response to the comments Councillor Hyland advised that the Orangery was developed by Greenwich Enterprise Board, which was a private organisation and they had been responsible for drawing up the invitations.

10.

Matters for early debate

Up to 3 items of business may be prioritised for consideration under this section.  Each political party may select an item of business, from the list of items on the agenda, for early debate.  The order in which early debate items are taken will be based on each party in rotation choosing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd items.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that no requests from the party whips for matters to be taken early had been received. However, as members of the public had requested to speak on Item 15 – Petition Responses report, he proposed that this item is considered after item 11.  The revised running order becoming:

 

Item 11 – Statement of Account

Item 15 – Petition Responses

Item 12 – Waterside Close

11.

Statement of Accounts 2013/2014 pdf icon PDF 29 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted the Audit Findings Report (AFR) in respect of the Royal Borough’s accounts and the Pension Fund accounts.

Noted the comments of the Audit and Risk Management Panel and the Pension Fund Investment and Administration Panel.

Approved the Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31March 2014, incorporating the agreed amendments.

Agreed that the Mayor sign and date the revised approved Statement of Accounts.

 

Minutes:

The Mayor, Councillor Hayes, advised that the Royal Borough’s accounts, the Pension Fund accounts and the Approved Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2014 had been published on a supplementary agenda and that copies were also available at the meeting.  Further, the Accounts and the Auditor’s Findings Report had been considered by the Audit and Risk Management Panel and the Pensions Fund Investment and Administration Panel and neither Body had any further comments for the Council’s consideration.  He also asked the Council to note that there were some minor non-material amendments to the Statement of Accounts which would be incorporated into the final version.

 

At the request of the Mayor, Sue Exton, the Appointed Auditor, presented the results of the audit of the 2013/14financial statements for the Council.  The Appointed Auditor stated that she was pleased to advise that the Council had presented a good quality set of accounts on 6 June 2104.  Council was advised that, in respect of the Pensions Fund Accounts no amendments had been identified, though a number of disclosure amendments had been agreed to improve the quality of the accounts but these had made no difference to the financial position.  She also advised that she intended to issue and unqualified report on the Annual Report of the Pension Fund.

 

In respect of the Authority’s Main Accounts, Ms Exton reported that no substantial amendments had been required, though a number of amendments to the disclosures had been agreed to enhance the quality of the accounts and these had no impact of the financial position.  She advised that it was intended to issue an unqualified opinion on the financial statements, subject to the Council approving the accounts and the letter of representation.  Ms Exton also confirmed that she was going to issue an unqualified opinion in respect of the Council’s arrangements for achieving Value for Money.

 

The Appointed Auditor stated that the reports presented had demonstrated that the Council’s arrangements for financial stewardship remained strong and she thanked the Director of Finance and her team for their co-operation. 

 

In moving the recommendations, Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, welcomed the Appointed Auditor’s reports and the recognition that 2013/14 was another solid year for Council’s financial performance and that an unqualified opinion was being issued on both sets of accounts.  The Leader of the Council stated that the Authority continue to demonstrate good judgement in achieving Value for Money and had strong governance arrangements in place.  It was noted that this was during a time of further cuts to funding, reductions in the workforce and increasing pressures due to benefit reforms.

 

Councillor Drury, Leader of the Opposition, thanked the Council staff for their hard work in preparing the accounts.  He noted that the four year financial strategy had delivered £70million not £100 million of savings as stated. Further that he had concerns about the group accounts, such as GSPlus, GSS and Meridian Homes which, whilst he understood that there was no requirement for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Waterside Close - making up of the highway pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Decision:

Resolved to execute the street works necessary to bring the highway at Waterside Close to an acceptable standard using the provisions of the Highways Act 1980.

Minutes:

Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, moved the recommendations to the report stating that agreement to the proposals report would bring a long needed end to the ordeal the residents had experienced.   Councillor Brooks spoke in favour of the recommendations and welcomed the proposed solution to the problems faced by residents of Waterside Close.

 

Councillor Drury welcomed the proposals and questioned whether there were roads in a similar un-adopted and unmaintained situation elsewhere in the Borough.  

 

Councillor Hyland closed the debate and thanked current and past Thamesmead Moorings Ward Councillors and Officers for their work in identifying a solution to the long existing problems for the residents of Waterside Close.

 

Resolved-

 

That it be agreed that officers execute the street works necessary to bring the highway at Waterside Close to an acceptable standard using the provisions of the Highways Act 1980.

13.

Royal Greenwich Local Plan: Core Strategy with detailed policies pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

Noted the receipt of the Inspector’s Report.

Adopted the Royal Greenwich Local Plan: Core Strategy with Detailed Policies (referred to in this report as the ‘Core Strategy’) and the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal.

Minutes:

The recommendations were moved by Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, who advised Council that the Core Strategy replaced the Unitary Development Plan (UDP), and that the document would be kept under review. 

 

Councillor Clare drew attention to the recommendation that no Metropolitan Open Land should be built on to meet housing targets and he expressed his disappointment that the recommendation to restrict fast food outlets near schools had been removed.  Councillor Clare also expressed a concern regarding the accuracy of the figures given in relation to the number of new properties, e.g. in relation to the Grove Market site.  Disappointment was also expressed that the Strategy did not take forward the possible extension of the DLR into Eltham or considered the likely impact of the possible extension of the underground to Lewisham.

 

Councillor Elliott stated that there needed to be a greater emphasis on improving north to south transport links within the Borough and that this issue was not addressed in the Strategy.  The importance of ensuring that all train stations were fully accessible was also stressed.

 

Councillor Drury noted that the Strategy had implications for everyone in the Borough and he felt that as the Strategy was, in part, built on the Eltham Town Centre Masterplan it was flawed.  Councillor Drury highlighted the impact of the Town Centre Masterplan on the High Street and the possible loss of retailers.  Whilst welcoming some elements of the Strategy Councillor Drury stated that he could not support the overall document due its possible adverse effect on Eltham Town Centre.  Councillor Drury also stated that elements of the Core Strategy were already out of date due to developments in the area.

 

In closing the debate Councillor Hyland confirmed that there were aspects of the Core Strategy which had been superseded by events and these would be addressed at the next iteration.  It was stated that the Core Strategy sat under the Mayor of London’s Plan and, whilst it has to be in accord with the London Plan it had a broader approach.   In relation to the extension of the DLR to Eltham Councillor Hyland stated that she had pressed TfL for this, but there was also a need to improve public transport links in general.  

 

Resolved –

 

1.    That it be agreed to receive the Inspector’s Report.

 

2.    That it be agreed to adopt the Royal Greenwich Local Plan: Core Strategy with Detailed Policies (referred to in this report as the ‘Core Strategy’) and the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal.

14.

London Council's - re-adoption of the Independent Remuneration Panel pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed to re-adopt the London Councils’ Independent Remuneration Panel for the purposes of advising the Royal Borough of Greenwich in formulating its Members’ Allowances Scheme.

Agreed that the Chief Executive submit a further report to Council, following consultation with the Party Group Leaders, on the proposed Allowances Scheme for 2015/16 taking account of the 2014 recommendations of the London Councils’ Independent Remuneration Panel. 

Minutes:

Resolved unanimously -

 

1.    That it be agreed to re-adopt the London Councils’ Independent Remuneration Panel for the purposes of advising the Royal Borough of Greenwich in formulating its Members’ Allowances Scheme.

 

2.    That it be agreed that the Chief Executive submit a further report to Council, following consultation with the Party Group Leaders, on the proposed Allowances Scheme for 2015/16 taking account of the 2014 recommendations of the London Councils’ Independent Remuneration Panel. 

15.

Petition Responses' pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted the action taken in response to petitions presented at recent meetings of the Council.

Minutes:

The Mayor, Councillor Hayes, drew Council’s attention to a written note, laid around the Chamber, from former Councillor Nigel Fletcher regarding the response to the petition he had submitted in relation to 38 Wellington Street.

 

The Mayor invited Mr John Briggs, Chair of the Friends of Sutcliffe Park, to address the Council on the petition relating to the building of a sports centre and car park in Sutcliffe Park nature reserve.   Mr Briggs stated that the proposals, particularly the Car Park, would encroach upon Metropolitan Open Land, and no matter how environmentally friendly the development was it was not appropriate for the identified site.  Mr Briggs highlighted the impact of the proposed development on park users, the local environment and the existing flood defences.  Concern was also expressed that the Friends of Sutcliffe Park were not consulted on any of the proposals, despite assurances that they would be; and that the location was unsafe as the car park would be at the junction of two major roads.  Mr Briggs sought assurance that, if the development proceeded, the Friends Group would be consulted.

 

Councillor James (M) addressed the Council stating that the Borough could be proud of its green spaces and community engagement and he stated that Sutcliff Park was valued and well used by the local community, forming a vital part of a green lung for the area.  He felt that whilst there could be seen that there was a clear local dis-benefit of the development proceeding, it did form part of the Borough’s Olympic Legacy. Concern was expressed about the lack of consultation with the Friends Group and he hoped that this situation would be rectified.

 

Councillor Williams, Cabinet Member for Culture and Creative Industries, confirmed that she would ensure that the Friends Group was fully consulted in future and she would ask Officers to confirm the development timetable.

 

Resolved –

 

That the action taken in response to petitions presented at recent meetings of the Council be noted.

16.

Decisions on Executive Functions taken under Urgency Procedures pdf icon PDF 36 KB

Decision:

Noted the decision on Executive Functions taken under Urgency Procedures.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that there had been a request from the Opposition Whip for there to be an Officer introduction to this item.  He invited the Director of Children’s Services to address the meeting.

 

The Director of Children’s Services gave a brief outline as to the background to the request for Conversion to Academy Status: Crown Woods College, Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys and as to why the decision was put as a matter of urgency.

 

Resolved –

 

That the decision on Executive Functions taken under Urgency Procedures be noted.

 

17.

Motion Signed by: Councillors O'Mara, Cornforth, Hyland, Fahy, Austen, Hisbani, MacCarthy, May and Morrissey pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Council condemns the Coalition Government's attacks on council tenants and others in receipt of benefits.  The percentage of housing benefit claimants affected by the bedroom tax in Greenwich is 13.3%. This is higher than any other London borough. 3,665 households were identified as affected (by the welfare reforms and bedroom tax) in April 2013 and this included 2,302 council tenants.  Unjustly, people on disability and health related benefits are not exempt from the bedroom tax.  This is compounded by the failure of the Mayor of London and the Coalition Government failing on their promises to deliver affordable housing.

 

Council recognises that some people impacted by the Coalition’s welfare policies will be working part time and / or in low paid work, and whose salaries are topped up by benefits.

 

The impact of the welfare reforms is demonstrated by a shocking increase in the use of Food Banks in the borough.  According to the charity, The Trussell Trust, the Greenwich Food Bank has assisted 5,270 people in the past year, an increase from 1,200 in the previous year. The Charity says that it all changed significantly in April 2013 when a number of welfare changes were imposed- matters such as the Bedroom Tax and the welfare cap.

 

Council notes that employment offers the best route out of poverty and that specifically the Royal Borough, in order to address the effects of these welfare cuts and increase employment opportunities, has invested £6 million into the Greenwich Local Labour Programme (GLLP), a paid supportive work placement with successful outcomes.

 

Council also welcomes the success of GLLaB in assisting over an additional 180 individuals affected by welfare reforms into work; with GLLP aiding 172 individuals into paid employment for six months on the London Living Wage; and, 70% of those completing the schemes subsequently obtaining permanent employment.  These successes have been achieved in the face of vicious cuts inflicted on this Council by central Government and staff are to be congratulated on their achievements.

 

Further this Labour Council will continue to highlight the effects of these attacks on the most vulnerable by the Coalition Government in the run up to the 2015 General Election.

Decision:

Resolved –

Council condemns the Coalition Government's attacks on council tenants and others in receipt of benefits.  The percentage of housing benefit claimants affected by the bedroom tax in Greenwich is 13.3%. This is higher than any other London borough. 3,665 households were identified as affected (by the welfare reforms and bedroom tax) in April 2013 and this included 2,302 council tenants.  Unjustly, people on disability and health related benefits are not exempt from the bedroom tax.  This is compounded by the failure of the Mayor of London and the Coalition Government failing on their promises to deliver affordable housing.

 

Council recognises that some people impacted by the Coalition’s welfare policies will be working part time and / or in low paid work, and whose salaries are topped up by benefits.

 

The impact of the welfare reforms is demonstrated by a shocking increase in the use of Food Banks in the borough.  According to the charity, The Trussell Trust, the Greenwich Food Bank has assisted 5,270 people in the past year, an increase from 1,200 in the previous year. The Charity says that it all changed significantly in April 2013 when a number of welfare changes were imposed- matters such as the Bedroom Tax and the welfare cap.

 

Council notes that employment offers the best route out of poverty and that specifically the Royal Borough, in order to address the effects of these welfare cuts and increase employment opportunities, has invested £6 million into the Greenwich Local Labour Programme (GLLP), a paid supportive work placement with successful outcomes.

 

Council also welcomes the success of GLLaB in assisting over an additional 180 individuals affected by welfare reforms into work; with GLLP aiding 172 individuals into paid employment for six months on the London Living Wage; and, 70% of those completing the schemes subsequently obtaining permanent employment.  These successes have been achieved in the face of vicious cuts inflicted on this Council by central Government and staff are to be congratulated on their achievements.

 

Further this Labour Council will continue to highlight the effects of these attacks on the most vulnerable by the Coalition Government in the run up to the 2015 General Election.

Minutes:

Councillor O’Mara moved the motion stating that it sought to oppose the Government’s reduction in welfare benefits which were affecting the most vulnerable in society rather than ensuring those responsible for the economic crisis paid the greater burden.  Councillor O’Mara stated that many of the Boroughs residents had seen a reduction in their Housing Benefit as a result of the single home subsidy, with over 300 families experiencing a real reduction in their income of £50per week.  She noted that there was an increase in the use of Food Banks, including by those who were working and that the Council and its Third Sector Partners were reporting increasing numbers of distressed clients and limited resources to assist.

 

Councillor Cornforth seconded the motion, expressing concern over the increasing numbers of disabled people who were unable to gain employment; the reduction in legal aid; the negative affect of the single room subsidy;  and that the Department of Work and Pensions was unclear in it communications with the public.

 

Councillor Drury proposed an amendment to the motion (below), which was circulated round the Chamber prior to the start of the meeting. 

 

First paragraph after ‘Council’ delete the remainder of the text so the motion, if the amendment was agreed, would read:

 

‘Council notes the Coalition Government's policies affecting council tenants and others in receipt of benefits.  The percentage of housing benefit claimants affected by the "under-occupancy penalty" in Greenwich is 13.3%. This is higher than any other London borough. 3,665 households were identified as affected (by the welfare reforms and "under-occupancy penalty") in April 2013 and this included 2,302 council tenants.  People on disability and health related benefits are not exempt from the changes to the benefits system. 

 

Council recognises that some people impacted by the Coalition’s welfare policies will be working part time and / or in low paid work, and whose salaries are topped up by benefits.

 

Council notes that there has been an increase in the use of Foodbanks in the borough.  According to the charity, The Trussell Trust, the Greenwich Foodbank has assisted 5,270 people in the past year, an increase from 1,200 in the previous year.

 

Council notes that employment offers the best route out of poverty and that specifically the Royal Borough, in order to address the effects of these welfare cuts and increase employment opportunities, has invested £6 million into the Greenwich Local Labour Programme (GLLP), a paid supportive work placement with successful outcomes.

 

Council also welcomes the success of GLLaB in assisting over an additional 180 individuals affected by welfare reforms into work; with GLLP aiding 172 individuals into paid employment for six months on the London Living Wage; and, 70% of those completing the schemes subsequently obtaining permanent employment. 

 

Further this Council will take practical steps to support those residents struggling to make ends meet, including (but not limited to):-

 

ØCeasing to add ‘legal costs’ to Council Tax bills for those residents who claim Council Tax support but who are in arrears  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Motion Signed by Councillors Brighty, Brinkhurst, Clare, Drury, Elliott, Geary, Hartley and Hills pdf icon PDF 31 KB

Council welcomes the news published in Greenwich Time on 1st July 2014 that Council homes will be improved “to ensure homes are wind and watertight”, although it notes that no formal decision to this effect has been made by the Cabinet Member for Housing or the Cabinet. 

 

Council notes that in response to various questions regarding children living in damp Council properties the previous administration confirmed that no formal survey had been conducted of all Council homes to check their condition and in fact “inspection, analysis of complaints and review of property files” were the methods used to identify properties which suffered from condensation/damp.

 

Council further notes that its own forecasts suggest that 2,586 will not meet the Decent Homes Standard on 1st April 2015 and that this will rise to 2,615 the following year.

 

Council considers that “to ensure homes are wind and watertight” and to meet the previously stated goal of ensuring that no children are living in damp Council-owned properties, a full survey of Council-owned properties needs to be undertaken and published so that a clear and appropriate schedule of work can be developed to address the problem of sub-standard Council housing.

 

Hence Council requests that the Cabinet agree to commission a full and independent condition survey of properties owned by the Council.  Once complete this survey should be published together with a clear schedule of works aimed at ensuring that all Council properties are wind & watertight and maintained to at least the Decent Homes standard.

Decision:

Resolved –

Council welcomes the news published in Greenwich Time on 1st July 2014 that Council homes will be improved.  The extensive programme of works will include external cladding to tower blocks, the replacement of communal heating systems, the installation of solar PV and LED lighting, roof replacement and cavity wall insulation.

 

This will build on the £300m invested by the Council that resulted in 98% of Council homes meeting the Decent Homes standard in 2010, one of the highest levels in London.

 

The new programme of works will bring homes up to the ‘Greenwich Standard’, which is higher than the Decent Homes Standard and incorporates environmental improvements including paths, play areas and communal spaces. This will ensure our residents can look forward to living in modern, well maintained homes in a Royal Borough that provides an outstanding environment to live, work, learn and visit.

Minutes:

Councillor Drury moved the following motion:

 

‘Council welcomes the news published in Greenwich Time on 1st July 2014 that Council homes will be improved “to ensure homes are wind and watertight”, although it notes that no formal decision to this effect has been made by the Cabinet Member for Housing or the Cabinet. 

 

Council notes that in response to various questions regarding children living in damp Council properties the previous administration confirmed that no formal survey had been conducted of all Council homes to check their condition and in fact “inspection, analysis of complaints and review of property files” were the methods used to identify properties which suffered from condensation/damp.

 

Council further notes that its own forecasts suggest that 2,586 will not meet the Decent Homes Standard on 1st April 2015 and that this will rise to 2,615 the following year.

 

Council considers that “to ensure homes are wind and watertight” and to meet the previously stated goal of ensuring that no children are living in damp Council-owned properties, a full survey of Council-owned properties needs to be undertaken and published so that a clear and appropriate schedule of work can be developed to address the problem of sub-standard Council housing.

 

Hence Council requests that the Cabinet agree to commission a full and independent condition survey of properties owned by the Council.  Once complete this survey should be published together with a clear schedule of works aimed at ensuring that all Council properties are wind & watertight and maintained to at least the Decent Homes standard.’

 

Councillor Drury stated that the motion reflected shared concerns over the condition of the Council’s properties and in particular regarding damp.  He felt that a survey was required to discover which properties were not wind and watertight to allow a schedule of works to be produced.

 

Councillor Geary formally seconded the motion, reserving her right to speak on the motion.

 

Councillor Kirby, Cabinet Member for Housing, moved an amendment, copies of which had been laid round the Chamber prior to the start of the meeting.  He stated that the Council had a very good record in delivering improvements to its housing stock and the Council could be proud of the fact that 98% of its homes met the Decent Homes standard.  Councillor Kirby confirmed that property inspections were on-going and the outcome was used, along with feedback from residents, to build up a comprehensive database of all the Council’s properties.  He confirmed that work was continuing to improve energy efficiency and cladding to Council properties.

 

Councillor Scott-McDonald formally seconded the motion.

 

Councillor Drury did not accept the amendment to the motion as he felt it did not meet the level of action he was seeking.  In closing the debate on the amendment Councillor Drury questioned if the Decent Homes standards had not been met, would it be possible to meet the higher Greenwich standards particularly as there appeared to be no clear plan or timetable for improvements.

 

The amendment was to put to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Improving Housing Repairs - Modernising Craft Workers' Terms and Conditions pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Decision:

 

Agreed the proposal to modernise the Craft Workers Pay and Reward scheme through the introduction of Banded salaries which will increase productivity, quality and value for money within the repairs service by rewarding completion of effective repairs.

Noted that the introduction of Hand Held Technology for operatives alongside the Banded Salary Scheme will enhance the service provided to tenants by creating a real time appointment system enabling follow on jobs to be booked and notified to tenants while onsite.

Minutes:

The Mayor, Councillor Hayes, informed the meeting that he had agreed that this item could be considered as urgent business as the next Council meeting was not until October and a 3 month delay would impact on the level of savings delivered through the efficiencies that are achievable from the introduction of the new scheme.

 

The Mayor informed the Council that the report relating to this matter has been circulated on a second supplementary agenda and that copies had been laid round the Chamber. 

 

Councillor Drury stated that whilst he understood the need for urgency he was concerned that Members had not had a chance to look at the issues closely and requested that more details be presented at the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel or Full Council.

 

Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, confirmed that she would advise the Chair of Overview & Scrutiny to meet the request.

 

Resolved –

 

1.    That the proposal to modernise the Craft Workers Pay and Reward scheme through the introduction of Banded salaries which will increase productivity, quality and value for money within the repairs service by rewarding completion of effective repairs, be agreed.

 

2.    That it be noted that the introduction of Hand Held Technology for operatives alongside the Banded Salary Scheme will enhance the service provided to tenants by creating a real time appointment system enabling follow on jobs to be booked and notified to tenants while onsite.