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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 13/11/2001
REPORT OF MEMBER/TENANTS' SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP 23RD JULY TO EXECUTIVE



APPENDIX R

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

MEMBER/TENANTS' SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP
23RD JULY (WORKSHOP) AND 24TH OCTOBER 2001

REPORT TO THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE
COMMITTEE ON 13TH NOVEMBER 2001

A. WAVERLEY TENANT PARTICIPATION COMPACT
[Wards Affected: All]

A.1 The meeting on 23rd July took the form of a Tenant Participation Workshop led by Cathie French of the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS). A draft of Compact Aims was subsequently produced and circulated to all members inviting feedback.

A.2 Waverley has a Best Value Plan which sets out a programme upon which tenants will be consulted in addition to the regular consultation with the Tenants’ Panel through its regular meetings and Special Interest Group meetings. The tenants who expressed an interest in continuing to be consulted from the Tenant Survey last year are being asked to join a consultation database.

A.3 Officers are setting up consultation meetings to ensure that the Tenants’ Panel and/or other participants have information on what they are discussing and why and feedback about the outcomes from the meetings. Both Tenants Extra and the Independent Tenants Newsletter provide information generally to tenants in addition to local information and communication regarding local issues.

A.4 The Tenants’ Panel has a constitution and there is a standard constitution used by local Tenants Associations.

A.5 The Tenants' Panel, following meetings with TPAS, produced its own draft Compact Aims and Objectives which essentially followed the TPAS model, but with some modifications. The SIG received this paper at its 24th October meeting.

A.6 It is important that the matter is now progressed as quickly as possible to build on the work that has already been carried out. It is essential that the work is undertaken in such a way that it fully reflects what the Council and tenants require. In order to be seen to be fair, it is proposed that tenders are sought and that the Tenants Panel is involved in the preparation and evaluation of the tenders.

A.7 There is provision within the Housing Revenue Account 2001/2002 Budget of 10,000 in respect of the Tenant Participation Budget.

A.8 The Special Interest Group

RECOMMENDS that

4. Officers invite tenders from specialist consultants to prepare the Council's Tenant Participation Compact, building on the information which already exists, and involving the Tenants Panel in the preparation of and evaluation of such tenders.

B. PROCEDURE FOR MAJOR WORKS TO COUNCIL OWNED GARAGES
[Wards Affected: All]

B.1 The Council currently owns 1,361 garages situated mainly on and around estates throughout the district. Although a few are let as part of the tenancy (i.e. the house and garage rented as an integral whole), most of the garages are let separately. The garages were originally built to accommodate the cars of the households on the estate at a time when car ownership was comparatively low. Consequently, on many estates parking of cars is a major problem.

B.2 Tenants have a priority for a garage let but over the years many properties have been sold under the Right-to-Buy and the owner-occupiers have continued to rent a separate garage. The priority order for the letting of garages is firstly, for tenants living on or near the estate, secondly, for the private disabled, thirdly, owner-occupiers living on the estate and, finally, others. The garages are let on a weekly basis and are subject to one week’s notice to quit by either party.

B.3 There are currently 1,064 garages that are being let at the current rent of 5.84 per week (+1.02 VAT for non-council tenants). 22% of garages are void, mainly caused by the level of disrepair, location and because people prefer to park their cars near their house. However, some garage blocks have a waiting list. Many tenants and residents park their cars as close as possible to their own home even though this can cause congestion in estate roads not built for this level of car ownership.

B.4 Apart from a few garages supplied adjacent to properties and for the exclusive use of that property, generally, all garages are in blocks usually set apart from the houses they serve. Most of the garages are now at least 30 years old and in need of considerable refurbishment. Many have now reached the point that they are uneconomical to repair and, increasingly, reports on defects are recommending urgent demolition for health and safety reasons.

B.5 The Stock Condition Survey last year identified a requirement for investment of 2m over the next 5 years and a detailed plan of works is being worked up for future approval by the Executive Committee.

B.6 To inform the proposed procedures, Annexe 1 illustrates the different options for repair, demolition and/or replacement and their associated costs per garage.

B.7 Living conditions, forms of tenure, and use of the motor car have changed considerably since most of these garages were built. Therefore, any proposal to refurbish or replace garages must not only take into account current usage and demand but also the wider implications of parking and garaging on estates. Some of the garage sites could ideally be used as play areas or infill housing opportunities on estates and in rural areas, where parking is not a problem.

B.8 The need to produce a procedure to determine the required action plans for the effective use of garages and garage sites has been identified within the current Best Value Reviews of the Repairs and Maintenance Service.

B.9 The following factors have been identified in relation to the impact of this report as part of the section 17 requirements of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. A recent survey of local residents and tenants about the repair or otherwise of four garage areas in disrepair in Roman Way, Farnham, elicited the following quotes from tenants and residents.


If open space, would attract kids and ball games

Garages are badly needed/ would reduce car crime

Garage areas need more lighting

Commercial vehicles are a problem

B.10 Any proposals for the use of garage areas need to assess ways in which crime and disorder issues will be minimised. It is, therefore, proposed that the following four-stage procedure be adopted to identify the most appropriate way of dealing with each garage area:

Stage One: The identification of the need for major works and an assessment of the works required, health and safety issues and cost implications carried out by the surveying and maintenance team. Immediate demolition and making good where the garages are dangerous to life and limb and entire block is in council ownership and subject to resolving any tenancy issues.

Stage Two: An assessment of the problems of garaging, parking, play and crime and disorder in the area and the opportunity to provide in-fill housing be considered by the relevant officers in light of the report of the surveying and maintenance team.

Stage Three: Consultation with local tenants and residents on their need for a garage and household parking, and their views on the initial proposals and plans of housing officers.

Stage Four: On the basis of the above reports and consultation, firm proposals for the Garage area/s are reported to the local residents and the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee for agreement by the Executive.

B.11 It is likely that proposals will vary depending on the garage area and residents concerned but stages 1 to 3 above would probably take 3 - 4 months to carry through.

B.12 Each garage area itself has a value and any works and future use proposed will also have financial implications varying from site to site. The resource implications would be provided to members on a scheme by scheme basis. The resolution of garage and parking issues are integral to the quality of life of tenants and residents living on estates in Waverley.

B.13 The Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered this matter at its meeting on 10th September and commended the procedure to the Special Interest Group.

B.14 The Special Interest Group concurs with the views of the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee and

RECOMMENDS that


5. the procedure outlined in paragraph B.10 above for the management and planning for major works to garage areas be approved.

INFORMATION MATTERS

C. CAR PARKING ON COUNCIL HOUSING ESTATES
[Wards Affected: All]

The SIG received a brief update on the actions being pursued by officers to improve conditions generally on Council housing estates where the parking of vehicles is causing a problem for tenants and residents.

D. MEASURED TERM CONTRACT
[Wards Affected: N/A]

The SIG received a briefing on progress to date to re-let the Measured Term Contract for responsive repairs. A separate report on this subject is contained elsewhere on the Executive Committee's Agenda.

E. NEXT MEETING

It was agreed that, subject to agreement by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman on the exact date, the next meeting of the SIG would be held in January 2002.

Present at the Meeting

The following members were present at the meeting:

Representing WBC:

Dr M-G Lane (Chairman), Mrs E H Denningberg, Mrs P Ellis, Mrs J R Keen, Mrs P N Mitchell, Mrs A Mugford, Mr J H Wootton.

Representing the Tenants' Panel

Miss P Wright (Vice-Chairman), Mrs I Birch, Mrs K Hall, Mr R MacDavitt, Mr R Randle, Miss E Taylor, Mr H Williams.

Apologies were received from Mr P B Isherwood and Mr G Gallagher.

The following officers were present:-

Mr D Simmons, Mrs S Goodall, Mr D Bennett. Apologies were received from the Director of Housing.