Agenda and draft minutes

Housing, Economy and Business Committee
Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019 7.30 pm, MOVED

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

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

Note: This meeting was moved from the 11 June 2019. 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and introductions

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Jayne McCoy, welcomed those present.

2.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Crossby and Mary Morrissey, Strategic Director of Environment, Housing and Regeneration. Councillor Sam Weatherlake attended as substitute for Councillor Crossby.

3.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

10. Award of contract for fire safety works at Chaucer House.

Councillor Eric Allen, Non Pecuniary, as a member of the LGA Stronger and Safer Communities Board.

.

 

4.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2019 be agreed as an accurate record.

5.

Performance Monitoring: Annual Out-turn pdf icon PDF 123 KB

This report provides members with the annual out-turn performance report for 2018/19 for performance indicators related to the Housing, Economy and Business (HEB) Committee. A dedicated performance monitoring session for members was held on 18 June 2019, and Appendix C provides a note of the discussion. Overall performance has remained consistent with 2017/18.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The chair highlighted the action points from performance session held on 19 June 2019.

 

RESOLVED: that the annual out-turn performance report and the performance monitoring session held on 18 June 2019 be noted.

6.

Annual Review of Council Tax Reduction Scheme pdf icon PDF 140 KB

This report sets out the latest position in respect of the Authority’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS), which was initially introduced on 1 April 2013 following devolution of the previous national council tax benefit scheme to Local Authorities. The Council’s CTRS was most recently reviewed and consulted upon during 2018/19 and was revised with an implementation date for these changes of 1 April 2019.

 

Under the government guidance the local scheme should be reviewed each year. This report details the final expenditure on the scheme in 2018/19 along with the estimated expenditure for 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

Members discussed the impact of the scheme on care leavers, support available to them and suggested officers attend a Corporate Parenting Forum to consider the impact on the most vulnerable residents in the borough. In addition, members discussed the impact of the Revenue Support Grant and the impact of the Local Government Funding Settlement. Members sought clarification on the average weekly award of council tax reduction based on council tax banding.

 

Officers advised that care leavers were supported by the leaving care team and that specific provisions in the scheme applied to care leavers and that the hardship fund was also available, but this was not just available to care leavers. The hardship fund is advertised on the Council website but promoted in the main by the welfare reform team, and was established to assist those who were struggling to pay council tax. Officers committed to further discussions with the leaving care team on the scheme and to update members as a result.

 

RESOLVED: that

 

1.    The out turn of the scheme in 2018/19 be noted.

 

2.    The Council undertakes a new consultation exercise on the proposed ‘inflation principle’ to be adopted for the financial year commencing 1 April 2020 be agreed. The outcome of the consultation will be reported back to this committee at a later date within this current financial year.

7.

Authority to consult on the Draft Sutton Town Centre Public Realm Design Guide for Developers and Infrastructure Providers Supplementary Planning Document pdf icon PDF 137 KB

As part of the council’s ambition to ensure that the physical environment is improved for all residents, this report introduces the Draft Sutton Town Centre Public Realm Design Guide for Developers and Infrastructure Providers. Sutton Town Centre will be undergoing a number of improvements over the next 10 years including: providing much-needed new housing stock, adapting to the new retail environment and, most notably, the arrival of the Sutton Link tram service.

 

A number of private and public sector organisations will be involved in improvements so it is important that all are replacing and improving the public realm to the same guidelines and standards to prevent a ‘patchwork quilt’ effect and improve the public realm standard overall.

 

The Draft Public Realm Design Guide sets the guidelines and standards and authority is sought to consult on it so residents, statutory bodies and other organisations can input into the document. It is proposed that the consultation will take place in the autumn with a view to bringing the document back to this committee at the end of the year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

 

Duncan Clarke, Strategic Planning Manager, presented the report. Members commented on: parks and green space and how these would complement existing green space, how the design guide would interact with plans to encourage developers to invest in retail space in the borough and other planning policy considerations such as conservation, the consultation process, how positive features of the town centre can be developed and the plans for economic development in the town centre.

 

In response officers advised more urban green space and pocket parks were expected to act as short stay parks and would complement some of the larger green spaces in the town centre where people are expected to stay longer, Officers offered to arrange a member briefing as part of the consultation which was planned to commence in September and advised that the tram extension was a key part of public realm development in the town centre.

 

RESOLVED: that

 

1.    The Draft Sutton Town Centre Public Realm Design Guide for Developers and Infrastructure Providers for public consultation be approved.

 

2.    Authority be delegated to the Strategic Director, in consultation with the Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee, to approve any non-material amendments to the document prior to commencement of consultation.

8.

Report of Sutton Federation of Tenant and Resident Associations on the Performance of Sutton Housing Partnership pdf icon PDF 123 KB

The Housing, Economy and Business (HEB) Committee receives an annual report on the performance of its housing management provider, Sutton Housing Partnership via its Annual Delivery Plan. The view of tenants of the performance of SHP is a vital ‘reality check’ to this annual report and therefore the Chair of the Sutton Federation of Tenant and Resident Associations (SFTRA) has produced the attached report, summarising the view of tenants on the performance over the past year of SHP in relation to a number of key areas, including repairs and maintenance and communications.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Colin Hawkins, Sutton Federation of Tenant & Resident Associations (SFRTA) presented the report set out at Appendix A and Steve Bullock and Steve Tucker from Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) responded, who thanked SFRTA for their report.

 

Members discussed some of the methods of cooperation between SFRTA and SHP, in particular the success of the ‘Boot Camps’ and how this can be better packaged and promoted in the future. Members questioned how issues raised in the report would be actioned and the motivation for the voluntary reduction in management fees stated in the report. The chair requested feedback on the dedicated leaseholder service be provided in a similar manner to the SFRTA report, from the Leaseholders’ Association and sight of a formal response to the report from SHP.

 

The Chair of SHP also committed to coming back to the committee to report on actions in December.

SHP advised that SFRTA would be addressing the SHP staff conference (where the report would be shared with all SHP staff) to discuss actions moving forward and that progress would be measured on a 6 monthly basis. Progress would focus on: the repairs service, how people are treated when they contact SHP, mutual trust and confidence between residents and housing managers, community hubs, improved dialogue with residents and the safety of residents in their homes. In relation to a reduction in management fees officers advised this was a result of changing legislation which meant rents had to be reduced by 1%, it was not a ‘voluntary’ strategy.

 

RESOLVED: that

1.    The contents of the view of the performance of SHP from tenants, via the attached report of the Chair of the Sutton Federation of Tenant and Resident Associations be noted.

 

2.    The Sutton Federation of Tenant and Resident Associations be thanked for their report.

9.

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:

The Chair advised that a report for the award of contract for fire safety works at Chaucer House had been accepted as a late and urgent item for the reasons set out in the report.

10.

Award of contract for fire safety works at Chaucer House pdf icon PDF 424 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Simon Latham, Assistant Director Housing, Planning and Regeneration introduced the report.

 

Members discussed fire restraints in relation to cables in ceilings, door types and the contractors who previously undertook work in Chaucer House. Officers confirmed that fire restraints would be better secured and the doors would be two way. In relation to the previous works Officers confirmed that Engie was a company new to the UK and that steps were being put in place to address residents’ concerns such as employing a full time clerks of works on site and developing a charter with Engie for completion of the works, which the Chair requested committee members were given sight of.

 

RESOLVED: that the award of contract to Engie for fire safety works at Chaucer House for the sum in confidential appendix be agreed