Members considered a briefing paper introduced by Kelly Tasker – Service Manager Housing Operations South, which provided a performance and development update on YHG business areas identified in the legacy agreement and related to business activity between April 2021 and September 2021. Aaron Hamersley – Head of Housing , Dave Lovatt – Regional Housing Manager, Paula Marshall Director of Housing and Customer Service and Conan McKinley - Director of Asset Strategy were present at the meeting. Two customer representatives; Cheryl Ballan and Andrea Hampton were also in attendance. Apologies had been received from George Wallace.
Topics covered within the report included:
- Your Housing Group Response to Covid 19
- Housing Management
- Neighbourhood inspection and Customer Engagement Events
- Money Advice Support
- Repairs and Maintenance
- Asset improvement
- Digital Engagement
- Community Regeneration
- Commercial update
Clarity was sought around the actual number of new houses built and more detail on the new staffing structure was requested
Around letting performance, it was felt that the target of 28.5 days was a long period of time for properties to be re-let. Officers explained that performance had been impacted by Covd-19 and been affected with shortages of labour and materials to complete void repair works.
It was queried as to whether any of the properties planned on Sunninghill Drive, Leek would be available to rent once the site had been developed. Colleagues from the Development Team at YHG would look into this and confirm after the meeting.
A member of the Panel raised his concerns in relation to the length of time an elderly tenant had waited for the heating and hot water to be reinstated and the unsightly damp patches on the relatively new properties at Cellarhead was noted.
The organisation was thanked for the engagement with members in regards to the Bellevue Flats, the excellent communication and local knowledge of David Lovatt – Regional Housing Manager, and for the support a councillor had received with the installation of swift boxes. She asked if it would be possible to consider the roll-out of the boxes in other areas of the Moorlands.
With reference to the ongoing structural works at Daisy Haye and the annual service charge paid by residents, Officers confirmed that the works were due to come to end shortly and had included the replacement of the cladding. Members were assured that the cost of the works had not been passed on in the service charge to residents. However, increased costs of utility bills for communal areas within the building may be passed on to customers in the future.
Cheryl Ballan – YHG Customer Representative, advised the Panel that following concerns in relation to the handling of complaints, the policy had been amended. Customers were now allocated a single point of contact and direct contact number for the person handling their complaint.
At the request of the Panel, Conan McKinley - Director of Asset Strategy, provided a presentation on the organisation’s approach to climate change and planned investment. The topics covered included:
• Current Performance & Scale of the challenge
• Smart Technology
• Planned Investment (Overall and for the Staffordshire Moorlands)
Members were pleased with YHG’s commitment to climate change and wished to receive regular updates on the work undertaken by the organisation. More information was requested on heat source pumps and if consideration could be given to a pilot community heating scheme in the area.
Discussion took place around energy performance assessments for each house, policies for renewable energy and plans for the management of green spaces and increased biodiversity.
Although gas boilers would no longer be installed in new build properties from 2025, and alternative heating solutions were being considered, some members felt this time period was too long.
The Chair thanked the Officers for their attendance at the meeting.
1) The performance update be noted;
2) That the Climate Change and Planned Investment presentation be circulated to members;
3) Confirmation of the actual numbers of homes built and a detailed staff structure to be provided after the meeting;
4) For members to notify the Democratic Services Team the specific details of the heating/hot water repair and location of the damp properties in Cellarhead to enable YHG to investigate.