The Chairman welcomed everyone to the ‘new normal’ meeting.
The Chairman informed the Committee that as part of the preparations for winter, a refresh of all the emergency flood resilience stores is taking place to ensure contact details and stocks within the stores are replenished prior to winter. The County Council have recently undertaken consultation on their new revised Local Flood Risk Management Strategy, and a joint response from Public Protection and Planning was submitted.
The Council takes its Safeguarding duties seriously and refresher training has been provided over the past few months for all new staff. This will be further supported by training for all Business Managers early in 2022.
The local implementation of the Council’s duties under the Domestic Abuse Act continue to be developed in partnership with the County Council and local partners. A domestic abuse case worker has been appointed and additional funding for the sanctuary scheme (which provides additional security measures to enable people to stay in their home) has been secured. Further actions will be developed over the coming weeks and months.
The Chairman advised that the Annual Tenant Report for 2020-2021 has been produced, detailing performance over the past 12 months, how the rental income we collect from tenants has been spent and how tenants feel about our services, as well as sharing some of the future tasks they are looking to deliver. The Chairman reminded the Committee that it is an online report and to keep an eye out for it.
The Chairman informed the Committee that the Tenant Forum has been busy with digital training and a two-day course on Mystery Shopping, which is hoped to start rolling out early next year. The Forum have reviewed the Repairs Policy and Consumer Regulation Gap Analysis as well as supporting a number of surveys of tenants and events.
A survey of all tenants in Chatham Court has provided further insight to what activities tenants would like to see at the hub (recalling this was part of the Safer Streets legacy) and the best times of day for these to happen. It is clear the children and youth activities are important and we are continuing to hold monthly sessions supported by Play Support and The Youth Service. The weekly drop in to see the Tenancy Officer has also started to gain pace, as has the coffee mornings with involved tenants seeing more new faces. New activities include a Gardening Club hosted by Newark in Bloom, which started in October and Police drop in sessions throughout November are being trialled.
The Chairman advised that currently they are experiencing increased levels of ASB, criminal behaviour and breaches of tenancy on one of our larger estates on the Sherwood side of the district. This has prompted a multi-agency approach involving our housing team, the Police, the local members, colleagues in Environmental Health and Public Protection and the youth service. A number of enforcement actions have already been undertaken and secured at court; including three injunctions prohibiting individuals entering the estate.
The Chairman was pleased to report some great progress in relation to the replacement of the temporary accommodation at Seven Hills, as the project team have reached the milestone of handing the vacant site to the contractors on Monday 1st November 2021 following months of hard work and planning to make alternative arrangements for customers. The new provision will be constructed using modern methods and there are many green initiatives being included, the Chairman advised the Committee to watch this space for further updates.
The team has worked closely with colleagues from the varying departments including Tenancy and Estates and Repairs to source and make ready the alternative provision. All in all it has been a massive team effort to get to this point but the reward for all this hard work will be a brand new facility due to complete in 2023. Demolition of the existing site has commenced and Woodheads, the allocated contractor, will then begin preparing the site to start construction early January 2022.
This followed hot on the heels of the formal opening of The Broadleaves Extra Care Village in Boughton on November 5th. The Chairman was delighted to attend this event along with the Vice-Chairman and the Chairman of the Council and met some of the residents. This is a very thoughtful and well-designed build that is something it is hoped members, the residents and those who have brought it to life are very proud of.