Agenda and minutes

Housing, Economy and Business Committee
Tuesday, 7th January, 2020 7.30 pm, MOVED

Venue: Civic Offices - St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA. View directions

Contact: Matthew Stickley, Committee Services Team Leader  Tel.: 020 8770 4990, Email:  committeeservices@sutton.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

23.

Welcome and introductions

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Jayne McCoy, welcomed those present.

24.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Nick Mattey with Councillor Tim Foster attending as a substitute.

25.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

Councillor Marlene Heron declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 6 as she is a member of the board of the Sutton Housing Partnership.

 

Councillor Jake Short declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 6 as he is a member of the board of the Carshalton Coronation Commemorative Trust.

 

Councillor Jean Crossby declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in Item 6 and advised that she would excuse herself from the meeting for the duration of that item.

 

At this point, the Chair expressed her thanks to Mary Morrissey, the outgoing Strategic Director for Environment, Housing and Regeneration, for her work supporting the committee and council’s work during her seven years at the council.

26.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 8 October 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting held on 8 October 2019 be agreed as an accurate record.

27.

Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2020/21 and Future Years pdf icon PDF 145 KB

This report proposes an index-linked increase to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, thereby supporting the Ambitious for Sutton aim that residents can be economically active.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mark Halls, Head of Revenues and Benefits, introduced the report.

 

Members discussed the responses to the consultation on the scheme and how best to ensure the scheme could be modified in future years.

 

An amendment to the motion was moved by Councillor Hicks and seconded by Councillor Allen:

 

To remove recommendation 2.2 and add in its place ‘that the Council Tax Reduction Scheme be returned to the committee should the rate of the preceding September’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) reach or exceed 5%.’

 

The amendment was put to the vote and carried.

 

The substantive motion was then put to the vote and carried.

 

RESOLVED:

·         to agree the Council Tax Reduction Scheme is revised and the Income Bands are uplifted by 1.7% with effect from 1 April 2020 and that in future years the bands will be increased by the rate of the preceding September’s Consumer Price Index (CPI); and

·         that the Council Tax Reduction Scheme be returned to the committee should the rate of the preceding September’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) reach or exceed 5%.

 

28.

Housing Rents and Related Charges 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 137 KB

The rent and service charge setting process is key to Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) delivering high quality housing management service to tenants, which supports the Council’s Ambitious for Sutton aims of maintaining and improving the physical environment for residents and helping people live well independently.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Jean Crossby left the room on account of the disclosable pecuniary interest she had declared earlier in the meeting. Councillor Crossby did not return to the meeting for the remainder of this item.

 

Trevor Hart, Housing Strategy and Commissioning Manager, introduced the report.

 

Members discussed the importance that residents feel they are receiving value for money if charges are increased and noted that the energy is purchased through a consortium of local authorities.

 

 RESOLVED:

·         To increase council dwelling rents by CPI + 1%, in line with government policy on social rents;

·         To increase garage rents by £0.50 pw to £14.00 pw and parking space rents by 9p pw to £3.44 pw;

·         To increase charges for heating and hot water by 2.7%, to reflect anticipated future costs of supply;

·         To Increase charges for services by a maximum of 2.7% (CPI at September 2019 plus 1%) per property until they have reached an amount at which full cost recovery is achieved;

·         To request that SHP works with residents to help them gain a better understanding of what their service charges pay for, with a view to reviewing the basis of charging from 2021/22 in order to achieve full cost recovery across all properties over an agreed period;

·         To increase rents for specialist HRA properties as proposed in paragraph 4.13;

·         To increase charges for the non-HRA dwellings as proposed in paragraph 4.14;

·         To recommend to the Carshalton Coronation Commemoration Trust that the rents of the properties leased to it are increased by CPI + 1% in line with the increase for council housing rents;

·         To increase charges for the pitches at The Pastures Traveller site by 2.7% in order to continue their relationship with council rents locally; and

·         To increase charges for ancillary services provided to occupants of non-HRA temporary accommodation to the amounts as set out in the table under paragraph 4.17.

 

Following the decision, Councillor Crossby returned to the meeting at 20:00.

29.

Housing Revenue Account Business Plan 2020/21 to 2049/50 pdf icon PDF 163 KB

The HRA Business Plan underpins the Council’s landlord function which in turn supports the Ambitious for Sutton aims of maintaining and improving the physical environment, regenerating estates, delivering more affordable housing and helping people to live well independently.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Trevor Hart, Housing Strategy and Commissioning Manager, introduced the report.

 

Justin Chamberlain, Head of Sutton Housing Partnership Asset Management, and Steve Tucker, Managing Director of Sutton Housing Partnership, were invited to comment on the report.

 

Members noted there had been transitional costs to bring the repairs in-house and that the higher costs had been due to a larger portfolio of residents in temporary accommodation as these units were more regularly vacated than others. It was further noted that the primary intention of bringing the repairs in-house was to improve the quality of this service to residents. However, it was further noted that the engagement of smaller, local contractors to provide repairs should improve value for money.

 

RESOLVED:

·         To agree the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan 2020/21 to 2049/50, as set out as a supplementary report immediately following this report;

·         to agree the HRA expenditure within the financial modelling on property acquisitions, subject to meeting prudential borrowing rules;

·         To agree that a flexible approach be adopted to directing resources between the acquisition and future new build programmes as potential new build sites are identified and assessed;

·         To agree the proposed approach to managing the HRA self-financing and other debt, as set out in paragraph 4.2 and chapter 3 of the HRA Business Plan;

·         To agree the policy proposals and approach to asset management, as set out in chapter 4 of the HRA Business Plan; and

·         To delegate authority to the Strategic Director, Environment, Housing and Regeneration, in consultation with the Chair of the Committee, to approve extension of the current Energiesprong retrofitting contract at the appropriate juncture to deliver the wider programme of up to 100 properties, as described in paragraph 4.15 and chapter 4 of the HRA Business Plan.

30.

Report on the Performance of Sutton Housing Partnership pdf icon PDF 135 KB

This report provides a response from the Sutton Housing Partnership to the report on its performance submitted by the Sutton Federation of Tenants and Residents Associations. The work of the Sutton Housing Partnership supports Sutton Council’s Ambitious for Sutton corporate plan, and a report such as this supports the Sutton Housing Partnership and Sutton Council in making informed choices.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Steve Bullock, Chair of Sutton Housing Partnership, welcomed the process by which their performance was being judged via this report. Steve Tucker, Managing Director of Sutton Housing Partnership, noted that this process and the introduction of a direct contact system had built trust with residents.

 

Following discussion, an amendment to the motion was moved by Councillor McCoy and seconded by Councillor Hicks:

 

To establish a member Task and Finish Group - to be Chaired by Councillor Catherine Gray and for other membership to include Councillors Allen, Crossby, and Heron - to consider the subject of residents using video recording in and around their properties, and any legal implications arising from this, and that this group should liaise with the Sutton Housing Partnership to ensure resident representation to the group, and that relevant officers of the council would also advise the group.

 

It was agreed that Councillor Gray would be invited to chair this group and that councillors Heron, Allen, and Crossby would be invited to join the group.

 

The amendment was put to the vote and carried.

 

The substantive motion was then put to the vote and carried.

 

RESOLVED:

·         To note the report at Appendix A - (Report from the Managing Director of Sutton Housing Partnership) from the Managing Director of Sutton Housing Partnership including the response from SHP to the report from the Sutton Federation of Tenant and Resident Associations (SFTRA) on the performance of SHP, which was submitted to the Committee at its meeting in July 2019;

·         To note the progress SHP has made in delivering on the key themes of its 2019/20 Improvement Plan as set out in Appendix B1 (report from SHP’s Operation Director) and Appendix B2 (progress and achievements on Improvement Plan actions, with commentary and ‘RAG’ rating); and

·         To establish a member Task and Finish Group - to be Chaired by Councillor Catherine Gray and for other membership to include Councillors Allen, Crossby, and Heron - to consider the subject of residents using video recording in and around their properties, and any legal implications arising from this, and that this group should liaise with the Sutton Housing Partnership to ensure resident representation to the group, and that relevant officers of the council would also advise the group.

31.

Sutton Leaseholders' Association Report on the Performance of Sutton Housing Partnership pdf icon PDF 128 KB

This report provides an assessment of the performance of the Sutton Housing Partnership submitted by the Sutton Leaseholders’ Association. The work of the Sutton Housing Partnership supports Sutton Council’s Ambitious for Sutton corporate plan, and a report such as this supports the Sutton Housing Partnership and Sutton Council in making informed choices.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Margaret Phillips, Tanya Campbell, and Bethany Brigden, the Chair, Vice Chair, and a member of Sutton Leaseholders’ Association respectively, who introduced their report.

 

Members discussed that a future report from the Sutton Housing Partnership to the committee in response to this report from the Sutton Leaseholders’ Association would be welcomed. Moreover, it was noted that an update from the Sutton Leaseholders’ Association to consider performance against the commitments from the Sutton Leaseholders’ Association would also be of value to the committee.

 

RESOLVED:

·         To note the views of leaseholders on the performance of Sutton Housing Partnership’s home ownership and other services, via the report of the Sutton Leaseholders Association attached at Appendix A; and

·         To thank the Sutton Leaseholders Association for their report.

32.

Homelessness Review - Update from the Task and Finish Group pdf icon PDF 140 KB

The implementation of the new homelessness strategy will help the Council deliver on its Ambitious for Sutton aims through helping households to actively meet their housing needs. This report, following the meeting of the Homelessness Review Task and Finish Group, will allow the committee to make informed choices regarding the homelessness strategy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members noted the report and that the group would continue to consider the issues within its remit.

 

RESOLVED:

·         To note the report from the Task and Finish Group set out at Appendix A (Report from the Task and Finish Group); and

·         To approve for publication the Homelessness Review document, set out at Appendix B, which will inform a new homelessness strategy for the borough, to be submitted for approval to the next meeting of the Committee.

33.

Establishment of a Task and Finish Group regarding HMOs pdf icon PDF 112 KB

This report recommends the establishment of a member Task and Finish Group to consider information and possible actions regarding Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the borough.

Minutes:

Duncan Clarke, Strategic Planning Manager, introduced the report.

 

Following discussion, it was noted that Councillors Garratt and Colburn would be invited to join the Task and Finish Group alongside Councillors Bartolucci, Heron, Hicks, and McCoy.

 

RESOLVED:

·         To establish a Task and Finish Group to review the evidence and policies relating to HMOs, with membership of this group to be decided by the committee; and

·         To agree that the Task and Finish Group will meet on at least one occasion prior to its recommendations being presented to the next suitable meeting of this committee for agreement.

34.

Adoption of the Sutton Town Centre Public Realm Design Guide pdf icon PDF 140 KB

As part of the council’s ambition to ensure that the physical environment is improved for all residents, this report seeks the adoption of the Sutton Town Centre Public Realm Design Guide (for Developers and Infrastructure Providers) Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which provides guidance for the improvement of the public realm in Sutton town centre.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Duncan Clarke, Strategic Planning Manager, presented the representations on the consultation on the Sutton Town Centre Public Realm Design Guide and outlined the changes to the draft document arising from the consultation representations.

 

Members noted that the majority of the changes were minor but thanks were made to representors, particularly Michael Parsons, Vice Chair and Access Champion of Sutton Vision, for his invaluable input.

 

RESOLVED:

·         To approve the ‘Council Responses’ to representations (Appendix A), Representations on the Draft Sutton Town Centre Public Realm Design Guide SPD;

·         To approve the changes from the draft version to the adopted version of the Sutton Town Centre Public Realm Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document arising as a consequence of the representations (see Paragraphs 4.1-4.4 of this report); and

·         To adopt the Sutton Town Centre Public Realm Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document for use in the determination of planning applications and guiding infrastructure providers on the council’s expectations for high quality public realm arising from any public works affecting the Town Centre (Appendix B).

35.

Review and Establishment of the Design Review Panel pdf icon PDF 173 KB

As part of the Ambitious for Sutton commitment to maintain and improve the physical environment for all residents, this report sets out the outcome of the one-year trial period of the Design Review Panel utilised by the Sutton Council Planning Service.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Andy Webber, Head of Development Management and Strategic Planning, presented the report.

 

Members discussed the value of the panel to the Planning service’s consideration of applications. Members additionally discussed how the contract would be extended, if agreed.

 

RESOLVED:

·         To agree an extension of the existing Design Review Contract for six months in line with the terms of the contract; and

·         To agree that following the expiry of the current contract, officers commence procurement of an extended contract for a period of three years, subject to re-procurement.

36.

Review of the Pre-Application Service pdf icon PDF 162 KB

As part of the Council’s commitment to enabling residents to make informed choices as part of its Ambitious for Sutton programme, a discretionary pre-application service is offered to allow all applicants for planning permission the chance to obtain advice on how to submit successful and suitable planning applications within the borough. This report provides a review of the service and suggests improvements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Andy Webber, Head of Development Management and Strategic Planning, presented the report.

 

Members discussed the value of advice at the early stages of proposed applications and how members may best be made aware of any upcoming reviews or applications within their wards.

 

RESOLVED:

·         To agree recommended protocols to ensure openness and transparency in all aspects of the pre-application service;

·         To agree the revised charging schedule as set out in Appendix B, Revised Pre Application Schedule; and

·         To agree that the Planning Service should monitor the agreed charging schedule.

37.

Adoption of the Revised Statement of Community Involvement pdf icon PDF 144 KB

The London Borough of Sutton’s Statement of Community Involvement sets out how the council will engage with the local community on plan preparation, neighbourhood planning and planning applications, and supports Ambitious for Sutton commitments to “create opportunities for meaningful resident involvement in decision making across the council through effective community engagement”.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Duncan Clarke, Strategic Planning Manager, introduced the report.

 

Members noted that the revisions to the statement were relatively minor and largely followed changes to the corporate plan, local planning policy, and national planning legislation. It was further noted that the council exceeds the statutory requirements for publishing documentation.

 

RESOLVED:

·         To approve the revised Statement of Community Involvement for publication on the council’s website.

38.

HEB Performance Report pdf icon PDF 118 KB

The biannual review of services by members of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee allows members to make informed choices about services they consider when the committee meets and, therefore, to ensure the services offered deliver on the Ambitious for Sutton priorities.

Minutes:

Members noted the report and that the report followed a members’ session to consider performance in greater detail. It was noted that further performance data remained available to members upon request.

 

RESOLVED:

·         To note the HEB Performance Report.

39.

Any urgent business

To consider any items which, in the view of the Chair, should be dealt with as a matter of urgency because of special circumstances (in accordance with S100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972).

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.