Meeting documents

Tenant & Leaseholder Panel
Wednesday, 18th January, 2017

Tenants and Leaseholders Panel Minutes

Wednesday 18th January 2017
The Council Chamber, The Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX

Attendance Details


Marilyn Smithies (Chair), Colin Wood (Vice-Chair), Syed Ahmed, Jill Arboine, Aishnine Benjamin, Yaw Boateng, Peter Cooper, Bernard Daws, Michael Hewlett, Sheila Howard, Guy Pile-Grey, John Piper, Sharon Swaby, Laurence Taylor and Kim Wakely

Councillors Lynne Hale, Maddie Henson, Oliver Lewis, Richard Chatterjee, Joy Prince and Manju Shahul-Hameed; and Councillor Alison Butler (Deputy Leader (Statutory) - Cabinet Member for Homes & Regeneration)
Colin Alexander (Head of Income and Lettings), Luke Chiverton (Interim Head of Finance (People)), Sian Foley (Head of Service Development), Rob Hunt (Asset Manager), Barry Lambton (Green Spaces Contracts Manager), Yvonne Murrary (Head of Tenancy and Neighbourhood Services), Rachel Pankhurst (Resident Involvement & Scrutiny Officer (Housing)), Judy Pevan (Service Manager Stock Investment), Kirsteen Roe (Head of Partnerships and Engagement), Sylvie Saunders (Senior involvement support officer) and Elaine Wadsworth (Head of Housing Strategy & Commissioning).
Councillor Mike Fisher; Sandie Fernando, James Fraser, Maureen Symes, Sylvia Fletcher, Jim Mansell, David Palmer and Paul Phillips.
Apologies for absence:
Sandie Fernando, James Fraser, Maureen Symes and Chris Stock. Apologies for lateness from Councillor Maddie Henson.

Item Item/Resolution

The Chair welcomed all to the meeting.


There were none.


Bernard Daws proposed agreement, John Piper seconded agreement of the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 4 October 2016 and these were agreed as a true record of the proceedings.


Barry Lambton (Green Spaces Contracts Manager) gave a verbal update:

  • Need to allow grow out - need equipment to be set properly so not too wide a spray, particularly in windy conditions
  • Issue - cleansing of food bins - all had second clean this year - timings going forward one in May and second in September.  This did not happen in 2016. 
  • Number of bins replaced.  Problem of contamination.  Looking at programme to advise people about what materials can be put in the bins.
  • Regular litter picking on housing sites - not picked every day, some daily, some twice a week, some once a week - aim to monitor to achieve a target standard - if need more resources will put them in to reach standard
  • Joint monitoring visits with housing colleagues, when they score locations - Veolia meet and go to the sites together
  • Members' visits - these are random, accompanied by officers
  • Fly tipping - when there is a lot on the estates, the litter picking team have to spend a lot of time dealing with it first - no easy answer.  Need co-ordinated approach with housing, Veolia and enforcement team
  • Dropped contents from recycling bins - Veolia training exercise to remind about putting boxes back and picking up refuse which comes out of bins - improvement but room for more
  • Meetings with Quadron and idverde - timing of grass cutting and litter picking to co-ordinate activities.  Last year grass grew so quickly, litter got caught in grass
  • Hedge cutting - on estates cut twice a year May/June and October/November - only time would consider other times would be if there is a road visibility issue or other safety issues


The following issues were raised:

  • Monks Hill (14-24A Tedder Road) - Food collection waste - bins cleaned but collection of the waste not done for over 10 weeks.  Reported but no action. 

Barry Lambton:  This is not acceptable.  We will investigate.

  • Litter picking - schedule in booklet - 2 levels - 1=tower blocks every day; 2 = 5 days a week.  No information about being changed.  If it has changed, it should have come to TLP for discussion

Barry Lambton:  That was in the old contract but things have changed.  With the current resource available, we have to work out the best method of maintaining standards. At the moment, resources do not allow for that level of cleaning.

Mark Meehan:  We should have brought it back to TLP. 

  • After collection of waste, bins are left obstructing highway and pavements.

Barry Lambton:  We re-enforce this regularly.  It shouldn't happen.

  • Collections used to be on both sides of the road on same day but now it is on different days.

Barry Lambton:  They work on polygons - it depends on which team is allocated.  There are some areas where different parts of the road are dealt with on different days.

Mark Meehan: There are two teams - 2 lorries. 

  • St Mark's Road - please thank the people for clearing fly tipping.  We only have black bins - why not a selection of bins for different waste?  Outside back door there are juice bottles, bits of paper and ice cream cartons - we have discovered this is coming from neighbours on the second floor.

Barry Lambton:  This should be reported to the housing officers - they work with enforcement officers who will pay a visit.  Coloured bins - generally food bin brown.

  • Sunnybank - mattress stuck there since Christmas.  Also in the car park behind the gate, there are two shopping trolleys put there by residents.  There is a gang smoking at night and leaving litter.

Barry Lambton:  Report night time activity to your housing officer.

Mark Meehan:  We will get in contact and let you know who is your housing officer.

  • Street cleaning is excellent in South Norwood.
  • New Addington - Regarding feedback about ongoing issues, we asked some of the residents.  Some issues have been resolved but litter picking and sweeping of pathways on Fieldway estate are non-existent.  When the grass is cut, it blocks up drains and pathways. Dropped content from recycling bins are not picked up by operatives.

Luke Chiverton (Interim Head of Finance for People Department) explained his report:

  • Provided update on draft housing budget for 2017-18
  • Year 2 of government rent policy
  • Service, garage, heating & lighting charges 2% increase
  • Overall impact - average property £55 decrease in rent, service charge increase approx. £10
  • Overall budget - finding ways to balance income and expenditure - 30 year picture
  • £808k efficiency savings
  • Increasing provision in HRA for bad debts
  • Investment - maintain same level of improvement works and day to day repairs
  • Council committed to increasing housing supply - Brick by Brick


The following issues were raised:

  • Efficiency savings - how reliable are your estimates?

Luke Chiverton: Staff savings from vacant posts.  Additional income includes a degree of estimation.  Cost efficiencies - there is a programme in place and we are monitoring closely to ensure the savings are achieved.

  • Caretaker cost is going up 29p per week and ground maintenance by 6p per week.  Will the quality will improve?

Mark Meehan: The Council is committed to an annual review regarding efficiency savings.  With the 2% increase, we must ensure we provide a good quality service.  The Housing transfer scheme is in place to incentivise people to move to smaller units.


Kirsteen Roe (Head of Partnerships & Engagement) and Rob Hunt (Asset Manager) gave a summary of the report:

  • Capital Investment Service Service Improvement Group established
  • Investing same amount as 2016-17 - £26.77m
  • Planned carry-over in 4 key areas
    • Some works unable to be delivered through existing contract. Carry over allows works required to take place under new contractMoney for conversions and extensions of large properties into smaller units - some moving across into 2017-18
    • College Green - consultation and investigative works took longer so whole project moved to 2017-18
    • Money for conversions and extensions of large properties into smaller units - some moving across into 2017-18
    • Window replacement scheme in conservation area - difficulty sourcing supplier
  • Total spend £28.96m
  • Made efficiencies with some of new contracts
  • Stock investment group - formal recruitment process for membership. Next meeting February.  Next meeting February
  • Housemark - awaiting information before sharing report
  • Over last 10-15 years spent considerable amount on kitchens and bathrooms - programme now reducing as need reduces - still aiming to meet decent homes standard across all properties
  • Money reallocated to special projects - roof replacement, window renewal, gardens to repair concrete, work to drains


The following issues were raised:

  • Do you have flexibility for planned carry overs?

Rob Hunt: Normally we would try not to carry over.  These are specialist areas and we have had discussions with the finance department to carry money across.

  • Longheath Gardens are in a dreadful state - problem of breaking concrete for 3 years.  Can we be assured all problems will be fixed next year?  Can we have a breakdown of estimated costs for each part?

Rob Hunt:  We cannot guarantee all problems will be fixed but cyclical problems delayed will be done - £3.6m.  There will be £2m to concrete and roof 2017-18 and £1.6m next year.  Drainage issues have been highlighted and a specialist contractor has done surveys - there has been a debris build up across the estate.  Funds have been allocated to do repairs - we plan to be efficient but cause minimum disruption to residents.  We will prioritise the worst blocks first.

  • Are security doors a major problem?  Old doors get jemmied so are not secure.

Kirsteen Roe: There is an ongoing programme in relation to security features such as door entry systems to blocks and security doors to individual properties in high crime areas.
Rob Hunt: Under the current policy, all blocks over a certain size will have a door entry system.


Mark Meehan (Director of Housing Need) gave a verbal report:

  • New Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell MP
  • No plans to introduce Pay to Stay - it is now voluntary
  • High Value voids - message from Gavin Barwell is that it is in Government manifesto - so will still happen - but now opportunity to review with a view to make fairer for local authorities


The following issues were raised:

  • Housing and housing needs - how can we resolve the issue of taking people from inner London Boroughs like Westminster?

Mark Meehan: The law has to be followed.  Westminster may not be able to house everyone outside the borough.

  • Leaseholders - charges are based on occupied rooms - is the same true for rentals?

Mark Meehan: It depends on the size of the property, regardless of how many people.


Margot Rohan (Senior Members' Services Manager, Democratic Services) explained the Council's progress towards paperless meetings, plus a brief presentation showing how papers can be accessed online, downloaded and annotated on laptops, tablets, iPads etc:

  • The Council is now rolling out paperless meetings, where Councillors and officers will access meeting papers on their mobile devices - laptops, tablets etc.
  • Non-Council panel members will continue to receive hard copies of meeting papers, unless they advise otherwise
  • The complete papers will be available online, for downloading as a pdf, with bookmarks for easy location of each report
  • This will contribute to a significant annual saving on printing and distribution across the Council - over 4,500 fewer agendas will be printed (which vary in size from 30-200 pages)
  • All meetings in public will be provided with at least 2 hard copies of the agenda, for reference, and members of the public will be able to access papers online via the link which will be displayed in the public gallery, using their mobile phones or tablets etc

London Tenants' Federation - Michael Hewlett

  • Waiting for new London Plan - to go to examination in public
  • 2 pieces of funded research work - one now finished


ARCH - Michael Hewlett

  • Executives together with the national fedederation of ALMOs met with housing minister - 86% of people on universal credit are on rent arrears.  There is a crisis as the debt is building up.  Can the system be made more friendly?
  • Housing Act - still not clarified what is expensive housing.  Not helpful to LAs setting budgets as they do not have a definition.
  • ARCH Tenants' Federation met 9 Jan - good meeting - discussed conference 2017 which will include a presentation on using Twitter

CVSA - Guy Pile-Grey

  • Last meeting concerned new commissioning process
  • Number of organisations applied to Community Fund
  • Meeting focused on process itself - to help smaller organisations
  • List of organisations successful in funding - funded for 3 years
  • Rolling grants fund - up to £5000 - for smaller organisations
  • Process had mixed reviews - some thought complex, some OK
  • 2 meetings set up - one with Steve Reed MP in February, one with Gavin Barwell MP at the end March

Croydon Congress - Marilyn Smithies


"The last meeting on 23 November 2016 was a Croydon Congress "Economic Summit" and was held at the Croydon College Conference Centre.


It featured a presentation from Jo Negrini, Chief Executive of Croydon Council, regarding "Regeneration and Growth in Croydon", which included a short film.  Although this was very interesting, there were no hand outs given to relate to the topic before, during or subsequent to the meeting and there were no updates.


The keynote speaker was Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, describing Croydon as a 'significant cog'' in the success of London.  The Mayor said:

"There is no question the regeneration of Croydon and the knock on contribution this will make to London's wider economy will play a significant role in ensuring our city continues to flourish in the years and decadesto come."

Applauding the Council's ambition and vision for the Borough, the Mayor also commended culture being at the heart of new developments in Croydon, a sentiment echoed by the capital's first night czar, Amy Lamé, who, speaking publicly for the first time since being appointed to the role, praised Croydon's commitment to supporting local culture and arts and spoke of the Borough's significant contribution to the British music scene.  She went on to say she is "dedicated to making London's night scene diverse and dynamic and Croydon can lead the way by telling the world we are open for business."


A panel session was held on improving Croydon's night time and evening economy and how the Council and local stakeholders can work together to ensure local people reap the benefits of major businesses moving to Croydon.

Panel speakers were from: The Oval Tavern, Rise Gallery, Central Licensing Unit Metropolitan Police and Croydon's Borough Commander.


Croydon's Good Employer Charter was taken by Councillor Mark Watson, Cabinet Member for Economy and Jobs, and Councillor Jamie Audley, Deputy Cabinet Member for Economy and Jobs.


The final panel session concerned 'Reaping the Benefit for Local People'.

Panel speakers were: the Head of Community Engagement (Gatwick Airport), the Head of Global Communications and Employee Engagement (Body Shop), the Development Director (Boxpark), the Chair of Croydon NHS Trust and Councillor Mark Watson, Cabinet Member for Economy and Jobs.


There have been no updates since this meeting.  To be totally frank and honest, I do not know what benefit these meeting are to this Panel.  They come over as being meetings to discuss topics of interest to politicians and stakeholders who have a specific interest in the subject matter, with little or no input from Croydon Tenants & Leaseholders and other residents of the Borough."

Resident Youth Services Panel (RYSP) feedback - Sian Foley

  • Feedback from meeting on 12 Jan:
    • Strategy Communities and Commissioning team has responded to issue raised regarding resident engagement in the moderation stage of the Community Fund commissioning
    • Recognised that could have built in stakeholder involvement into the evaluation process and apologise for this lesson learnt
    • Going forward we will be working with the RYSP to get their feedback on our review of commissioning process, suggestions for improving the Communities Fund
    • Also we have built in stakeholder and service user feedback into the ongoing contract management process
    •  RYSP will receive Communities Fund update and details of the new commissioned services for youth services
    • RYSP will be meeting quarterly and will provide regular feedback to TLP
    • We are currently agreeing ToR
    • Update on the new CF programme - 12 projects in total - Crystal Palace FC Develop through Sport Community Programme; Croydon Drop In Talkbus Outreach health and information service; PlayPlace Family Community Fun programme (holiday activities) and PlayPlace Our Space (youth clubs), Youth club in St Francis Church, Monks Hill
  • Family Safety Challenge - working with fire brigade and ambulance service
  • Over 900 people attended local events and now looking to bring together 10 of teams for final challenge half term in the Town Hall
  • Football coaching project for adults with disabilities


The following issues were raised:

  • All Ages work is really important - a lot of effort has been put into it.  Are we assured that the project will keep going?

Mark Meehan: Yes

  • What about older disabled people?

Sian Foley:  We look to do projects elsewhere - older people will be included.

  • Is there a mechanism to monitor amount of money from HRA for the Youth budget?  We need to justify the expenditure.

Sian Foley:  We will be coming to TLP to report on how we are monitoring spend.  You are getting the same level of service, if not greater now, from the community project.

Mark Meehan:  We regularly review the expenditure of HRA funds.  It is monitored closely to ensure it is spent on estates.


This report was attached for information only.


Julian Paine advised this was his last meeting, as he is retiring at the end of January and going to South Wales. 

The Chair wished Julian all the best in his move.


An issue was raised concerning blocks of flats and intruders, particularly when door systems do not work. The problem with the door system was that if the button was pressed it undid the door, regardless of the time. Now it has been fixed.  Yaw Boating advised that the Tenant Scrutiny report has tackled the door system issue.


There was another problem of garages being broken into and people living there with no lighting.


Marilyn Smithies enquired about Estate inspections.  There are Croydon residents living in houses but why aren't their pathways etc being looked at?  The inspections do blocks and sheltered housing but not houses.  Why does the Council not check?

Mark Meehan:  We will investigate and report back.  There is no reason why they should be ignored.


There was a request that a report on 'Brick by Brick' should be brought to the next meeting.


All meetings start at 6:30pm in the Council Chamber:

Tuesday 4 April

Tuesday 4 July

Tuesday 10 October

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Tuesday 24 April

The meeting ended at 8:21pm