Agenda and minutes
Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 6th November, 2019 2.00 pm
Venue: Council Antechamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension
Contact: Lee Walker
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 9 October 2019.
Councillor Wright, Chair of the Climate Change Subgroup informed Members that following the initial meeting of the Subgroup she would be meeting with the Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport and officers to scope the Work Programme. She further commented that she had confirmed with the Leader that a progress report on the possibility of introducing a zero carbon 2030 target would be submitted to the Executive before the end of 2019.
1. To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 9 October 2019 as a correct record.
2. To note the minutes of the Climate Change Subgroup meeting held on 22 October 2019.
Report of the Strategic Director, Growth & Development
This report describes the Council’s review of the social housing Allocations Policy and recommends changes to enable the city to best meet housing need within a backdrop of reduced turnover of stock.
The Committee considered the report of the Strategic Director, Growth and Development that described the Council’s review of the social housing Allocations Policy and recommended changes to enable the city to best meet housing need within a backdrop of reduced turnover of stock.
The Committee had been invited to comment on the report prior to its submission to the Executive on 13 November 2019.
The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -
· Providing a background and legal context to the Allocations Policy;
· Information regarding the demand and turnover of social housing;
· Information on the engagement and consultation exercise, noting that discussions always focussed on the objectives of helping those in greatest need;
· Information on the proposed changes to the Policy;
· Information on the Equalities Impact Assessment; and
· Next steps.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· Supporting the introduction of a two year continuous residency qualification;
· Supporting the review of the new policy at 12, 24 and 36 months following the implementation to identify if any of the changes had created any unintended consequences;
· Supporting the call to end the Right To Buy Scheme;
· What support was offered to assist people wishing to down size and free up larger family homes; and
· What was the support offered to ex-armed forces personnel.
The Committee then heard from Councillor T. Judge, Lead Member for the Armed Forces, who commented that some armed forces personnel experienced difficulties when accessing housing, health services and education when leaving service. He stated that the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who had served in the armed forces, and their families, were treated fairly had improved the offer to ex-service men and women, and this was to be welcomed. He further noted the creation by Government of the Office for Veterans' Affairs was to be welcomed. He commented that the number of ex-service personnel who slept rough in Manchester was low and there were a number of charities and support services dedicated to supporting them.
The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration commented that the impact of continued austerity; the capping of personal benefits and welfare reform; a freeze on the Local Housing Allowance had contributed to an increase in the number of families and individuals experiencing homelessness placing an increased demand on a very limited housing resource. She stated that the policy of Right To Buy had also significantly impacted on the availability of social housing and all of this had contributed to the necessity to review the Policy, to ensure the most vulnerable residents in the city were supported.
The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration informed Members that Northwards had a dedicated officer who would help and support those tenants who wished to ‘right size’ and free up larger properties. She further commented that ex-armed forces personnel would be allocated a Band 1 (Priority) when applying for ... view the full minutes text for item 43.
Report of the Director of Homelessness
This report provides an update, subsequent to the report to Neighbourhoods and Scrutiny on the 17th July 2019, on the work that is taking place to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in the city. The focus of the report reflects the concerns and questions raised by Members at previous meetings of the committee.
(Cllr Flanagan in the Chair)
The Committee considered the report of the Director of Homelessness that provided an update, subsequent to the report to the Committee on the 17 July 2019, on the work that was taking place to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in the city. The focus of the report reflected the concerns and questions raised by Members at previous meetings of the Committee.
The Director of Homelessness referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -
· Data on the numbers of requests for assistance for the period July to October 2019;
· Information on the location of facilities for the accommodation of homeless households, noting that accommodation was provided for the extent of the legal duty owed to any household;
· An update on the A Bed Every Night Scheme; and
· Noting that the number of people who slept rough who come from the armed forces was quite small in the city, it was understood that this group may be less willing to access services and therefore could be under-represented.
The Committee then heard from Yvonne Hope, Barnabus. She described that they had witnessed a huge increase in people accessing their service who had complex needs, often as a result of mental health issues, substance misuse and trauma. She commented that the impact of continued budget cuts to public services and welfare reform had resulted in impact on the number of people who were experiencing homelessness. She stated that the reduction in preventive measures and support had resulted in people presenting when they were in crisis. She stated that the increased rents within the Private Rented Sector and the freeze on the Local Housing Allowance meant that people would immediately be facing rent arrears and making their tenancy very unstable. She added that this was compounded due to the lack of affordable housing across the city. She concluded by stating that whilst many Mancunians had good intentions in trying to help homeless people, it was important to note that there were plenty of sources of food available for homeless people in Manchester and the best way Mancunians could help would be to give to the Big Change Campaign.
The Committee them heard from Hendrix Lancaster, Coffee4Craig. He reiterated the point that the numbers of people, and those with complex needs who were turning to them for assistance and support had increased significantly over the previous years. He said that due to the lack of appropriate housing for homeless people the risk was that they could become entrenched in this lifestyle and lose trust in services and support agencies. He stated that the A Bed Every Night scheme was welcomed, however this was not often appropriate for people with complex needs and assessment was always made. Mr Hendrix stated that people could volunteer to work with Coffee4Craig and Barnabus and information on how to apply to do this could be obtained from the respective websites. He also encouraged all Members to get involved in offering support ... view the full minutes text for item 44.
Report of the Director of Highways
This report provides Members with an update to the report that was considered by the Committee at the meeting of 7 November 2018.
The Committee considered the report of the Director of Highways that provided a further update to Members on the previous Highways Maintenance Programme report and is a follow on from the previous report of 7 November 2018.
The Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -
? An overview of the Highways Service’s role, key achievements and challenges;
? An update on the progress of the reactive maintenance programmes;
? Information on safety inspections, detailing the most common types of highway defects to be checked for during highway safety inspections;
? Information on additional inspections following reports received from members or the public;
? Information on repairs, including emergency repairs accompanied by case studies and drainage repair works;
? Information on the small patching repair programme, noting that regular coordination meetings were held to ensure that all works were aligned to other MCC highways programmes to mitigate against duplication of work;
? Performance monitoring;
? The delivery of Social Value including case studies;
? The management of utility works;
? Information on the Cyclical Drainage and Improvement Programme;
? Information on Community Action Days, including case studies;
? Highways planned Maintenance Programme update, providing year 3 progress and year 4 programme confirmation;
? Major schemes update;
? An update on cycling schemes;
? Information about how information relating to major schemes are provided to both local Ward Councillors and residents;
? Information on how disruption caused by major schemes was managed;
? An update on resident parking schemes;
? Information on the approach to tree planting in capital schemes;
? An update on the Street Lighting PFI Programme;
? An update on the Winter gritting programme, including carriageways, footways and segregated cycle ways;
? The provision of motorbike parking facilities; and
? Information on parking and bus lane enforcement.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
? Welcoming the investment into the Highways network,
? How many jobs had been created via Social Value;
? On some streets both footpaths had been closed during development works that endangered pedestrians e.g. at the Mechanics Institute;
? The investment in improvements to city centre paved areas was welcomed and it was asked that the footpaths in the district centres could also be improved;
? The Public satisfaction in the service being higher than any other Greater Manchester Council was welcomed and comment was made that Manchester should also strive to be the highest in England;
? Noting that there was no current policy in relation to motorcycle parking and this had not been evident in previous correspondence with the Highways Department;
? The issue of communications with Members and residents about highways works remained an issue;
? Acknowledging the Performance Dashboard that was available to Members;
? The need to promote and publicise the good work undertaken by the Highways Department;
? Would consultation be undertaken on every major Highways project; and
? How long did it take to implement a resident parking scheme.
The Director of Highways stated that he welcomed the satisfaction rating when considering the major works that had been undertaken ... view the full minutes text for item 45.
Report of the Director of Highways
This report provides information on the red and amber school crossings programme, reporting that with 46 of the 81 sites being complete and the remainder due for completion by the spring/summer 2020.
The Chair recommended that this item of business be deferred to the December meeting.
To defer this item of business to the meeting of 4 December 2019.
Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit
This report includes details of the key decisions due to be taken that are relevant to the Committee’s remit as well as an update on actions resulting from the Committee’s recommendations. The report also includes the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee is asked to agree.
The report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit which contained key decisions within the Committee’s remit and responses to previous recommendations was submitted for comment. Members were also invited to agree the Committee’s future work programme.
Members commented that consideration needed to be given to the number of items listed for each meeting to allow enough time for appropriate scrutiny by Members.
The Committee notes the report and approves the work programme.