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Agenda Item No.

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 21ST SEPTEMBER, 2011

 

REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION): 7TH SEPTEMBER, 2011

 

 

“           INTRODUCTION OF LOCAL LETTING POLICY - AWBERY HOUSE, BARRY (DLPPHS) -

 

The Operational Manager indicated that housing officers, in discussions with the local community and resident groups, had been asked to consider the introduction of a Local Lettings Policy in respect of Awbery House, the thrust of which would be to stabilise the community through an age-related restriction.  As accommodation suitable for young persons and couples, the flats had attracted a disproportionately large amount of younger people with a criminal justice or anti social behaviour background.  The building itself was in a poor internal condition, unkempt communal areas, extensive damage to Council property and issues with the disposal of rubbish since its redesignation from being an older persons’ accommodation.  He drew attention to the fact that the introduction of age-related criteria was not unique in the Vale and that experience from earlier dedesignation schemes had shown that persons aged 40 and over co-existed better with older tenants than persons under the age of 40.  The exercise in profiling the existing tenants at Awbery House had indicated that 56.5% of the tenancies were currently allocated to people under the age of 40 and that, of those, 61.5% were at varying stages of action under the Council’s Anti Social Behaviour Policy.  An analysis of the crime and anti social behaviour for Awbery House and the wider Buttrills Estate indicated an increase in both crime and anti social behaviour recorded and an increase of reported neighbour nuisance of 110% over the period April 2010 to April 2011.  In total, there had also been 103 reports of all anti social behaviour over the same period.  The profiling had also identified that 83% of residents were in receipt of full Housing Benefit and that only 5 residents received Housing related support.  He confirmed that tenants under the age of 40 would not be evicted but that enforcement action would be taken in relation to any breaches of the Tenancy Agreement and/or Council policy.

 

Two tenants groups in the area had been consulted already about the proposals and had been positive about the proposed local lettings criteria.  He continued by stating that there was a significant degree of discontent within Awbery House.  It was recognised that the Housing Department would need to devote resources to ensure more intensive management of the estate and more of a visible presence for the duration of the Local Lettings Policy to assist in supporting tenants and that the introduction of the Plan in itself would not solve all the problems currently being experienced.  The Policy itself would be evaluated in 12 months time to ensure that it had met and continued to meet its objectives of promoting a more stable community.  The Plan would also be discussed at future resident groups meetings in the area as a further method of the evaluation of its effectiveness. 

 

Members drew attention to the general dilapidation of the area and poor internal condition of Awbery House itself.  The Operational Manager, in recognising the points made, referred to the Department’s limited resources and to the requirement to use those resources cost-effectively and where the benefit of any expenditure was considered to be sustainable.  Initial proposals in respect of Awbery House were to stabilise the position there and to undertake environmental enhancements, effecting other refurbishment/improvements when it was considered that a stable situation had been achieved.

 

Further discussion ensued on the need to enforce requirements stipulated within the Tenancy Agreement and the Council’s duty of care to its tenants.  Mr. Amos, whilst confirming that members on the Tenants Panel unanimously endorsed the implementation of the Policy, drew attention to the 2 final bullet points of the consultation document as appended to the report, asking for consideration to be given to amending each.  The Operational Manager indicated that he would consider the points made.

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)    T H A T Cabinet be requested to approve the introduction of a local lettings policy in respect of Awbery House, Barry.

 

(2)    …………...

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)    To create a stable and sustainable community within the flats at Awbery House.”

 

(2)     …………...”

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