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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Civic Suite. View directions

Contact: John Bardens (02083149976) 

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2017 pdf icon PDF 218 KB

Decision:

Resolved: the Committee agreed the minutes of the last meeting as a true record with the above amendments.

Minutes:

The scrutiny manager outlined two changes that will be made to the minutes of the last meeting:

1.1 The attendance will be amended to reflect that no apologies were received.

1.2 Paragraph 5.4 will also be amended to say that “the committee agreed that in all future reports officers should define and explain the different types of affordable housing being referred to”.

 

Resolved: the Committee agreed the minutes of the last meeting as a true record with the above amendments.

2.

Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 200 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Slater is a member of the board of Phoenix Community Housing

 

Councillor Hall is a governor of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

 

 

 

3.

Responses from Mayor and Cabinet

Minutes:

There were no responses at this meeting.

4.

Lewisham Housing Strategy pdf icon PDF 272 KB

Decision:

Resolved: the Committee noted the report.

Minutes:

Jeff Endean (Housing Strategy and Programmes Manager) introduced the report. The following was noted:

5.1 This report is intended to set out the council’s progress against its housing strategy 2015-2020. The strategy’s priority areas are: Helping residents at times of severe and urgent housing need; Building the homes our residents need; Greater security and quality for private renters; and Promoting health and wellbeing by improving our residents’ homes.

5.2 The Government is yet to publish any further detail on the implementation of recent changes to housing legislation. Officers do not therefore propose to carry out a wider review of the Housing Strategy at this stage.

5.3 Instead, officers have drawn a series of service priorities for the coming year from the existing strategy. This includes: Maximising the benefit of the Trailblazer programme on preventing homelessness; Implementing new approaches to housing development, both in-house and through wider partnerships; Continuing work to improve conditions in the private rented sector; and Restructuring the Housing Needs service to incorporate Refugee and No Recourse to Public Funds services.

5.4 The £985,000 of funding from DCLG for the Homelessness Prevention Trailblazer programme is one-off money. The £340,000 of funding from the GLA for the No First Night Out (NFNO) Shared Accommodation Scheme is to fund a shared programme across the boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham.

 

Resolved: the Committee noted the report.

5.

Fire safety in tall buildings pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: the Committee noted the report.

Minutes:

 

Kevin Sheehan (Executive Director for Customer Services) introduced the report. The following key points were noted:

4.1 Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, council officers have been working to establish the number of tall buildings in Lewisham that need to be tested. Officers have been looking at the buildings owned by the council, registered social landlords (RSLs), and private developers, and what powers the council has to influence each sector.

4.2 Government guidance was to test all buildings with cladding made of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) and, if a sample fails, to put in place interim fire safety measures to reduce the risk.

4.3 In Lewisham six blocks managed by Lewisham Homes were identified as needing testing. Three of these blocks have since failed ACM fire safety tests and the council has ordered the removal of cladding from these buildings and put interim fire safety measures in place. Lewisham Homes will be prioritising an intrusive inspection programme across their buildings. Cladding will not be the only risk being looked into.

4.4 RSLs in the borough are following a broadly similar process to the council and a small number of tower blocks have needed to have their cladding tested. One private sector building has had its cladding submitted for testing.

4.5 The council’s relationship with its private sector partners is complex. The council does not regulate the private sector, but it does have some powers (as set out in the report) which it deploys on the basis of risk. the Grenfell fire public inquiry may look into relationships like this and who has the authority to regulate.

4.6 The Lewisham Mayor has asked officers to consider introducing sprinklers in tower blocks where it would be possible and appropriate. Only 1% of tall buildings in the social sector in the UK have sprinklers.

4.7 It is not yet clear if the Government are going to meet the costs of any necessary work. The council intends to ask the Government to contribute, as it sees this as a national issue.

4.8 Where fire risks are identified and there are things that could be done to improve safety – sprinklers and fire doors for example – the Council will be forceful, using relevant legislation where necessary, including with leaseholders.

4.9 Officers will talk to Barry Quirk (Chief Executive) about writing to the DCLG permanent secretary to express the Council’s concerns about the cost of the necessary work.

Steve Kilden (Fire Safety Manager, Lewisham Homes), Andrew Potter (Chief Executive, Lewisham Homes) and Thiru Moolan (Building Control) also spoke on this item. The following key points were noted:

4.10 Lewisham Homes has a very experienced fire-safety team, with the right experience and qualifications, which cares about making their buildings as safe as possible for their residents.

4.11 It has long been accepted that the best advice in the event of a fire in a tower block of flats is to stay in your flat. Each flat is intended to act as a fire-resistant compartment to prevent the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Select Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 273 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: the Committee noted the work programme.

Minutes:

John Bardens (Scrutiny Manager) introduced the report. The following was noted:

6.1 The first evidence session for the Committee’s in-depth review of models for delivering new housing will be held on 6 September.

6.2 The annual report and business plans for Lewisham Homes and the Brockley PFI will also be presented at the meeting on 6 September.

 

Resolved: the Committee noted the work programme.

7.

Referrals to Mayor and Cabinet

Minutes:

The Committee didn’t make any referrals.