(Declarations of personal interests in
relation to this item are set out under Minute 8 above)
The Lead Member for Place - Housing submitted a
report (COHE/29/19) to provide Members with details of the significant investment
and improvements being carried out to the housing stock to ensure that
tenants had a high standard of quality accommodation which would require
minimal investment in the future. The
report also provided an update on the current process for managing empty
properties and provided an overview of the challenges faced in ensuring that
the refurbished properties met the agreed lettable standard, recommended and
supported by the Tenant and Membership partnership.
The Lead Member for Place-Housing introduced the
report and drew Members attention to the main points for consideration.
The Head of Service, Assets made a presentation
outlining key points of the report and referencing the earlier the earlier
site visit to void properties.
During discussion, the following points were
noted, in particular:
It was acknowledged that the lettable standard had been supported by
the Tenant & Membership Partnership in December 2016 and a ‘whole house’
approach to the refurbishment of Council Housing had been adopted. As a result of these changes tenants were
receiving a high quality service and feedback from tenants had been positive.
Following a restructure in 2018 the in-house DLO were able to
undertake the full range of void refurbishments.
The Voids Commissioning Team carried out a number of preparatory
services including needle searches, asbestos reports and schedule of works.
As part of the restructure it was envisaged that Estate Officers would
inspect their own area regularly to ensure that the letting standard for
properties was being maintained.
The change to the lettable standard had resulted in a significant
increase of work being carried out internally and externally. The number of empty properties had
increased and this would create a spike in the work for this area. Members were concerned that contractors had
insufficient resources to complete the work in a timely manner.
Over the past 12 months (up to May 2019) 568 properties had been
brought back to the new lettable standard.
In contrast private house builders constructed 222 new properties in
Wrexham during the same period.
A Member suggested that it could be difficult to attract small
businesses to tender for the refurbishment works due to the hurdles they had
to go through in respect to the Council’s tendering process via Tender Wales.
Officers were working out the costs for the responsive repair
programme against the new units and expected a significant cost reduction
providing that the work was carried out correctly.
The Housing Strategy Plan for the Council had recently approved new
build properties for the first time in 38 years.
Officers made comment that there was a desire for Estate Officers to
be more focused on the day to day management of their Estates. Part of the
process was looking at issues for universal credit, managing and supporting
Tenants by recovering rent and forming relationships between tenants and
... view the full minutes text for item 9.