Agenda Item No. 4
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
HOMES AND SAFE COMMUNITIES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 15 MARCH 2017
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 6 MARCH 2017
C3493 Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy (Housing) (HSCH) (Scrutiny Committee - HOMES AND SAFE COMMUNITIES) –
Approval was sought for an Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy for public housing.
The external environment on public housing estates was important to residents. A recent tenants' satisfaction survey highlighted issues including: parking, defensible space, rubbish/litter etc. as significant concerns. As well as the appearance of estates, the survey showed issues like access to open spaces and safety in the home/local area could have a big impact on quality of life. It was vital therefore that the Council set aside appropriate sums of money to invest in the external environment.
The Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) standards required of the Council were vague in terms of the environment. They set out a minimum standard that "all dwellings should be located in an environment to which residents can relate and in which they feel proud to live" but provided little supplementary guidance, this had resulted in different interpretations by social housing providers. In recognition of this fact the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) were commissioned to consult with social landlords and develop a guide to best practice which could be used to inform investment plans and shape of this money was spent.
The Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy adopted the principles set out in the WHQS guidance and the supplementary guidance recommended by the TPAS report, particularly around the interpretation of the standard, the potential for harnessing environmental improvements towards social inclusion objectives and about adopting a systematic approach to investment which took into account residents' priorities.
Four key themes formed the basis of the Strategy, namely: increased residents' feeling of safety in their home and in their local neighbourhood; improved appearance and cleanliness of the local environment; improved access to and use of open spaces for recreational use; and increased residents' sense of pride in their area through effective community engagement around environmental issues. The four priority themes gave rise to a range of initiatives and actions to improve the quality of services provided.
Progress with implementing the Strategy would be measured via the completion of individual actions contained within the Operational Delivery Plan towards the back of the document. There would also be periodic reports to the Homes and Safe Communities Group regarding the range of projects and initiatives taking place.
After this item had been presented, the Cabinet Member for Visible, Leisure and Regulatory Services stated that he welcomed the report, as it showed that the Council was providing good homes for tenants and also an improved environment for people to live in.
The Leader agreed with his colleague, noting that the Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy had many community benefits.
This was a matter for Executive decision
Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein
(1) T H A T the new Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy (Housing) attached at Appendix A to the report be endorsed.
(2) T H A T the Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy (Housing) attached at Appendix A to the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Homes and Safe Communities) for consideration.
(3) T H A T the Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy be referred back to Cabinet for finalising upon receiving the views of the Scrutiny Committee (Homes and Safe Communities).
(4) T H A T the Scrutiny Committee (Homes and Safe Communities) and Cabinet receive six monthly monitoring reports in relation to the Operational Delivery Plan for the Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To ensure that the external environment on public housing estates was maintained to a good standard and was utilised by members of the local community.
(2) To provide an opportunity for the Scrutiny Committee (Homes and Safe Communities) to make any comments.
(3) To agree the final Strategy document.
(4) To ensure the actions identified were progressed.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 6 MARCH 2017