Minutes of ACF Meeting, Kingsfield Close, Southwick
Thursday, 17th March 2011
Present: – Wendy Farmer (Chair), Bruce Andrews, Ruth Andrews, Fred Bathurst, Rose Boden, Lisa Cook, Dave Donaldson, Gary Hackett, Arthur Kingsley, Paula Kinsella, Sue Lane, Bob McClelland, Bridget Orman.
ADC: – Barry Maxey (Tenant Participation Officer).
1. Welcome and introductions
Wendy welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Apologies were received from Vi Bailey, Bill Bone, Patricia Crowdy, Richard Letchford, June Moulton, Sylvia Page, Tanya Page and Ann Seldon.
3. Minutes of the last meeting 27th January 2011
The minutes were agreed.
4. Matters arising
• Ruth said the council have no plans at present to extend the housing surgeries beyond the three venues already agreed at the ACF Office in Lancing, Watling Court in Southwick and the Meet-In Place at Fishersgate.
• The meeting with new contractors has been arranged for Thursday, 7th April at 10.30am in the Civic Centre. There were questions about whether Dave Millard (Contract Monitoring Officer) would be able to attend the meeting. If not, it was agreed that he should be invited to the next ACF meeting.
• Ruth asked whether there was any more news on the estimated £40 million that the council would be have to pay to central government as a result of repealing the current housing subsidy system. It was agreed to invite Christine Ryder (Finance Manager) to a future ACF meeting to discuss the implications of this when these details have been clarified.
• Bridget has received a card from Elsie Kitson thanking the ACF for their best wishes and for her present.
5. Update on the ACF Office
Plans to convert part of the former Lancing Local Office to a public toilet were shown and Wendy read out a letter that the ACF has sent to the council objecting to this proposal. The plans were described as insulting to the ACF but it was agreed to continue with work to open the office, rather than waiting for the outcome of these proposals.
6. Bids for environmental improvement grants
• Dave said that since the introduction of large wheelie bins at Rock Close, the bin area is unsuitable for present needs and some bins have to be stored on the grass. The council has looked at removing the brick wall surrounding the bin area, stripping back the turf and topsoil and laying 20 square metres of paving. The cheapest estimate received for this work is £1,850 but the council say there are no funds available for this now or in the foreseeable future. Dave said that he would ask the council for at least a contribution towards the cost of this work, as they had changed the system of refuse collection but asked for approval to get the work carried out if this was not forthcoming. This was agreed.
• Barry said he had been asked to speak on behalf of Marsh House sheltered housing scheme, who had previously been awarded a grant of £259.99 to purchase a patio set. They have managed to obtain a similar set for only £145 and were asking for approval to spend a further £140 on materials to create a small paved area in the gardens. There were some concerns about ensuring the work is carried out safely but the grant was approved provided the specification is agreed with the council.
7. Treasurer’s report
There is £2,144.10 in the bank account.
8. Cabinet reports
There are no housing related reports on the next Cabinet agenda.
9. Reports of committees
i) Compact Monitoring Group
The next meeting will be at the Civic Centre on Thursday, 14th April at 2.30pm and will look at possible changes to the service as a result of cuts to staff and finances. With the recent resignation of Elsie Kitson, who was the only leaseholder on the panel, it was agreed to seek another leaseholder to replace her.
ii) The Forum
Work has started on the spring edition. The next editorial meeting will be on Thursday, 24th March and contributions from residents’ associations about what is happening in their areas are requested as soon as possible. With the end of Adur Outlook, it was questioned whether the Forum should be published more frequently but it was decided that this would not be possible with the number of volunteers who currently participate.
ii) Adur Leaseholders’ Forum (ALF)
The next meeting will be at the Civic Centre on 13th April and will be attended by the Adur Homes Service’s management team, so leaseholders will have the opportunity to put questions direct to them. This meeting will be advertised in the next edition of Housing Voice.
Sue said the survey results have been sent to Sue Hart (Supported Housing Services Manager) for comments from her and other managers. The overall results will be sent to all sheltered housing residents but with individual comments removed.
She also mentioned that Brenda Jackson (Manager of the Chichester Community Alarm Centre) had attended the last SHARP meeting, where there had been a lively discussion about the time taken to answer some alarm calls. The next meeting will be at Tollbridge House on 10th May at 2.00pm.
10. Local offers
The list of proposed local offers was circulated and discussed. It was argued that some of the offers are quite vague and need to be more specific to be capable of being monitored. In particular: -
Offer 2 – at what age is a resident considered ‘older’ and does this only refer to people living in sheltered accommodation?
Offer 6 – what is meant by ‘a range of services’? Council policy is to persuade tenants to move from their accommodation rather than to carry out some adaptations. It was argued that this needs to be clarified. Ann Seldon had also asked for it to be mentioned at the meeting that her request to have a handrail fitted to the garden steps in Pashley Court had been refused. Comment was also made about how this offer fits in with the removal of Housing Support Officers from living on-site at sheltered schemes?
Offer 9 – how will the council protect tenants who provide witness evidence?
Offer 10 – how will this work, particularly in the light of cuts to police funding?
11. Any other business
• Wendy mentioned about problems with vehicles churning up the grassed areas in Daniel Close and asked who is responsible for dealing with this issue. She was advised to discuss this with the Housing Management Officer for that area.
• Paula asked where the Tenant Participation staff will go if the proposed public toilet is installed in the ACF Office and the Civic Centre is sold. Barry advised that some council staff will still be based at another location within Adur.
• Dave expressed concern about suggestions that the Lancing and Southwick libraries may close. Although not a housing matter, the libraries are seen as important facilities within the local communities and something that the ACF is keen to support.
• The evening raffle raised £23.00 for ACF funds.
12. Date of next meeting
Date to be arranged.