Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2 - Deanes. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services Team
Link: Video recording
Apologies for absence and substitutions
Councillor C Ashfield was replaced by Councillor L James.
Declarations of interest
Cllr Wooldridge declared that she was an employee of Sovereign Housing Association.
To consider any items of business, other than those shown on this agenda and which, by reason of special circumstances to be stated at the meeting, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.
There were no urgent items.
Minutes of the meeting held on 23 July 2019
The minutes of the meeting held on 23 July 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Refuse Collection Contract
Due to the number of visiting speaker’s for this item, the Chair amended the order of the meeting.
The Chair introduced the item and explained that he had requested its inclusion on the Agenda due to the number of complaints that he had received in relation to SERCO, the new waste collection contractors. It was noted that the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Enforcement had been invited to attend the meeting but had declined. The Leader of the Council was present and was welcomed.
The Chair invited visiting speakers Patricia Litten, Jenny Foster and visiting councillors Janet Westbrook, Colin Regan, Colin Phillimore and Paul Harvey to address the Committee. Each speaker relayed anecdotal problems with current refuse collection including:-
· Overflowing bins in bin stores of flatted developments, leading to rat and maggot infestations;
· Missed collections;
· Criticism at the limited 24 hour window to report any missed collections;
· Contamination of refuse in shared bins;
· Bins not being replaced correctly;
· Bins being used as slave receptacles for others; and
· Locked bin stores being broken into by SERCO.
It was requested that a new refuse information leaflet be drafted encouraging residents to flatten all cardboard prior to recycling.
The committee members relayed further anecdotal evidence that emphasised the following issues with the refuse collection service:-
· Missed garden waste collections;
· Problems with assisted collections;
· Insufficient bin capacity in flatted developments;
· Poor communications from BDBC to residents;
· Fly tipping outside bin stores;
· General lack of professionalism shown by SERCO; and
· A lack of local knowledge and learnt knowledge displayed by SERCO in relation to routes and collection customs.
It was suggested that given the council’s declaration of a climate emergency on 18 July and the forthcoming Basingstoke Green Week (21-30 September), that far more should be done to improve the current situation.
It was the general view that whilst initially issues had related to missed collection days, now the number of missed locations was becoming a greater cause for complaint.
The committee noted that problems were borough wide, expressed a lack of confidence in Serco and requested an independent investigation into the contract.
The Leader of the Council acknowledged the widespread criticism and commented that the borough deserved better. The Leader suggested that the reality of the situation was improving and expressed hope that the data would corroborate this in November.
Resolved: the Committee
· Look forward to receiving a full report and update from the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Enforcement at November’s meeting addressing all queries and criticisms raised above; and
· Require recommendation of a suitable independent body to review the current waste and recycling contract, and for this to be confirmed by the Chair.
Contact Officer: Kate Randall
To note a report summarising the annual review (2018/19) of the Council’s housing allocations scheme. The report highlights matters for annual review, together with areas where statutory or regulatory changes have impacted the scheme.
The Portfolio Holder for Homes and Families introduced the report and welcomed the fact that the Council had delivered 414 affordable homes in the past year which was in excess of the 300 target.
It was clarified that a council review of Housing Strategy was due to commence imminently which could influence and shape future affordable housing delivery in the borough.
The Service Lead for Housing and Social Inclusion commented that the report needed to be viewed within the national context of a framework governed by statute and case law, and emphasised that housing allocations policy concerned determination and allocation of a scarce resource rather than influencing new supply.
The Chair invited visiting councillors Colin Phillimore and Paul Harvey to address the Committee. Their comments included:
· A need to address allocations in rural parishes to allow local people to continue to live where they have been born and raised; and
· A request to review house-building policy in relation to housing families in flatted developments (to be undertaken by EPH).
The Service Lead for Housing and Social Inclusion clarified that there were people on the housing register with a local connection, eligible to bid who had chosen not to bid. It would only be after such action/inaction that allocations would be opened up to non-local eligible residents.
Committee members made the following requests and comments:-
· Clarification was sought in relation to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government website which recorded that the council had delivered 166 affordable houses between 01/04/18-31/03/19, as compared to the figure of 414 referred to in the report;
· It was noted that the Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) of 2016/17 recorded building of 37 2-bedroom flats and 44 2-bedroom houses, and the AMR of 2017/18 recorded 69 2-bedroom flats and 64 2-bedroom houses. This highlighted a trend in flatted developments and raised concern at the number of families being housed in flatted accommodation;
· A breakdown of single person applicants in Band 1 was requested;
· Clarification was requested in relation to the fact that whilst it was acknowledged that there were a large number of single applicants on the register, with only limited available stock, waiting time for 1 bed properties appeared similar to other property types; and
· To assist in developing an informed view on the potential benefits of houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s) the committee requested details as to how many applicants had been assisted into HMOs in the past 12 months.
The Service Lead for Housing and Social Inclusion clarified that accommodation would not be made available to families unless deemed suitable by the housing association. It was further clarified that viewings were possible prior to accepting tenancies and that there was no penalisation for refusing unsuitable offers. Further, there was no discernible difference between bidding patterns for either flats or houses.
It was clarified that Band 1 category applicants would include existing housing association tenants in under-occupied properties aswell as those categorised as critical/urgent need to move.
The Housing Needs and Homelessness ... view the full minutes text for item 23/19
Review of Work Programme
The Committee reviewed and agreed its work programme with the following comments:-
· It was noted that the remit and requirements of the Refuse Collection Contract report had significantly altered both in terms of scope and level of detail; and
· S106 monies task and finish group - it was reported that the group had requested early ward councillor consultation when drawing up s106 agreements. Meeting to be scheduled in October.