Agenda item

Questions from Councillors


a)               Question from Councillor Plant to Councillor Upton


“There are significant pressures on the Disabled facilities Grant service and budget- demand exceeds the Council's grant allocation. Building more adapted and affordable housing would help alleviate pressures on this grant. The Council's Local Plan Part 2 policy (Housing standards), states that in developments of more than 100 dwellings at least 1% should comply with building regulation requirements M4(3)a-which is a purpose-built adapted property. How many of such properties have been built on currently completed sites?” 


Councillor Upton responded by advising that there were two related building regulations, being M4(3)(b) and M4(3)(a) and confirmed that Councillor Plant’s question referred to M4(3)(a) in relation to what properties could be adapted but he would like to take the opportunity to include M4(3)(b) in his answer, which related to properties built as adapted at turnkey. Councillor Upton explained that of the schemes completed by the Council since Policy 12 of Local Plan Part 2 came into force, five developments included provision for both wheelchair adaptable or wheelchair accessible dwellings. Of these, he said that three schemes had a combined total of 12 wheelchair accessible dwellings M4(3)(b), of which nine had already been built and that two schemes had provision for a combined total of five wheelchair adaptable dwellings, none of which had yet been built. He said that this amounted to a total of 17 properties.


In relation to the Gamston development, Councillor Upton said that the scheme should deliver a further 40 homes totalling 4000 dwellings and stated that this totalled 57 adapted properties either in existence or to be build.


The Mayor asked if Councillor Plant had a supplementary question.


Councillor Plant asked if she could receive Councillor’s Upton’s response in writing and whether the provision detailed by him in his response met the 1% requirement.


Councillor Upton confirmed that he would provide a written response and that the provision did meet the 1% requirement.


b)               Question from Councillor Way to the Leader, Councillor Clarke


“Following the Competition and Marketing Authority's report on the Housebuilding Market, what?decisive action?will Cabinet now take?to stop unfair practices relating to management charges on Rushcliffe's new housing estates?” 


The Leader responded by agreeing with the importance of this issue, which had resulted from a correct policy having unforeseen consequences. He referred to scrutiny work which was taking place, and which would result in a report to Cabinet setting out what the Council could do to respond, which would hopefully involve trying to raise standards with management companies and developers across the Borough. The Leader stated that he had also written to the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, to raise this matter, and that it had already been raised within the LGA and he would be raising it with the District Council’s Network, and given that this was a national issue, he would also be lobbying Government. He also thought that the situation had reached the stage where some management companies were drawing back from some of the onerous activities that they carried out.


The Mayor asked if Councillor Way had a supplementary question.


Councillor Way stated that she was pleased to hear that action was being taken as she had been trying to bring this issue to the fore for nearly five years. She felt that many of the suggestions being brought forward applied to the newer estates and asked if the Leader saw any way of providing assistance to people living on existing estates who were suffering from the worst of those charges.


The Leader responded by confirming that this needed to be looked at and that if there was something that could be done to help, he would be keen for the Council to pursue it, and whilst he did not expect it to be an easy solution, he agreed with the sentiments involved.


c)                Question from Councillor Thomas to the Leader, Councillor Clarke


“What process will be used to formulate the Council's response to the consultation about the future of the County Hall site so that it reflects the views of all councillors plus the residents of West Bridgford?and ensures that this critically located site serves the community in which it is located?” 


The Leader responded by advising that he thought it best if the views of Councillors and residents were expressed by themselves as individuals. He noted that the question referred to residents of West Bridgford but thought that residents and Councillors from other parts of the Borough might also wish to express their views. He did not think that it was particularly useful for one local authority to tell another local authority what to do with their assets.


The Mayor asked if Councillor Thomas had a supplementary question.


Councillor Thomas said that she was aware that the County Council were consulting with both individuals and neighbouring authorities and asked if this meant that the Council would not be putting in a response.


The Leader responded by stating that it did not necessarily mean that the Council would not respond but that there was a need to assess whether any response would represent the entire Borough or if it would be possible to respond in a corporate manner without negating individual responses.