Housing · Politics · Tower Hamlets

Housing and re-generation scrutiny sub-committee

This Tower Hamlets scrutiny committee is meeting tonight and it is filmed and can be watched anytime. That’s my fourth meeting today. I attended four online meetings today.

  • No place for hate Tower Hamlets, Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association are a member of the Tower Hamlets Partnership and are happy that the new Community Safety Charter scheme is being promoted by Tower Hamlets Council.
  • Ourwatch funding, reports that PCCs often give direct funding to Neighbourhood Watch.
  • Cyberhood watch champions with Met Police and Ourwatch
  • Housing re-generation as observer.

At the beginning of the meeting a heckler shouts across the room and Councillor Francis re-iterates in support that Tower Hamlets Homes (THH) should have been invited.

The chair now tells the shouter to stop shouting or he has to leave.

The previous minutes state that THH was not invited to establish procedural rules in the first meeting since the new administration. Chair will have a meeting with THH Housing forum and feed back after this.

Social landlords performance is not on the agenda at this meeting and Cllr Francis thinks this is regrettable. Francis was the former chair and attempts to dictate the meeting procedure.

Complaints about Clarion housing complaints about service provision don’t seem to have been actioned according to Cllr Francis, who is very keen to hold Clarion to account.

Spitalfields Hsg. Ass. is reported to be similar to THCH and THH, long-standing concerns about miss-management People cannot find help from Councillors nor the previous Mayor and the committee should give help to all those seen as victims of bad management of social housing landlords.

Consider referring formally to the regulator requests Cllr Francis really strongly, he would encourage that referral, despite the last Mayor not having supported this.

So Cllr Francis expects a more supportive service from the Respect run committee.

The Tower Hamlets Housing Strategy does not include working together with Neighbourhood Watch, which is often quite intensely done in other areas to help reduce crime.

The question of crime has been raised, mentioning blind spots ideal for crime. tower Hamlets plans to sell affordable housing design services.

Tower Hamlets Housing Forum represents all social housing providers with stock mainly in TH, chaired by Andrea Baker, from Poplar Harca.

Question what will be done with the removal of cladding on tall buildings? Answer: There is no ACM on Tower Hamlets housing stock. Very closed to removing the ACM on buildings because of access to government funds.

Question: Mayor promised to build 4.000 homes over four years and how that can be achieved. Answer: 1.000 social homes every year. Answer: Section 106 taken out by Hsg Ass. It is hoped that all of those schemes will come out and the expectation will be met for all homes that everybody on the register would have access to.

Question: How can repair standards be improved if work is out-sourced, aiming on an overall review of the services. Homeless seem to get the worst and pot luck properties.

Answer: All properties are inspected prior to letting. Contractors secured through competitive tenders. It is alleged that there is not much choice of contractors.

The overall emphasis of the meeting seems to be on less privatisation and more council regulation.

Interestingly Councillor Kabir laments that the Council does not have enough power to interfere directly with bad service provided by housing provider.

Cllr Francis opposes the sale of Council property like Boiler House, Jubilee Street, Council owned buildings in Roman Road like Albert Jacob House should not be sold but developed into housing by the council. Cllr Kabir suspended selling any assets and agrees with Cllr Francis. Clearly there is largely agreement between Aspire and Labour on this aspect. It was remarked that the LEB building was sold under Mayor Biggs’ administration.

A thoroughly left-wing meeting with strong tendency to increase council run housing in the borough. The agreement between Councillor Francis and Aspire was very strong and it was clear that Labour thoroughly supports the development that Aspire wants to bring into the council as towards more council controlled council housing. Obviously Mayor Biggs was more leaning towards privatisation and open market policies, which probably helped the Aspire to win and the support from the Labour left supports this also. Mayor Biggs opposed the return of THH to the Council against opposition from his own ranks.

The meeting refused to discuss ASB but wants to discuss car parking instead.

Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com

The committee cannot deal with air quality and only with recycling in respect of estate recycling.