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Council to increase its housing scrutiny
8:00am Sunday 5th August 2012 in News
THURROCK Council’s housing matters are to be scrutinised by a new committee.
Housing was high on the agenda at a full meeting of Thurrock Council last week.
Conservative councillor Rob Gledhill proposed a motion to create the new housing overview committee.
Cllr Wendy Curtis also asked Cllr Val Morris-Cook, the council’s housing chief, why chief exec utive Graham Farrant had said 90 per cent of people were satisfied with the Morrisons repairs service, when this clearly isn’t the case.
Cllr Morris-Cook said Mr Farrant had “been given the wrong figures” and an accurate figure, which she said was “a lot less than 90 per cent” would be available in the coming weeks. Cllr Morris-Cook claimed the Labour-run council inherited the problem from the Tories and is angry a “get-out” clause was not put in the multi-million pound contract with Morrisons.
At the same meeting, a motion was passed by councillors to place greater scrutiny on housing issues.
Cllr Gledhill’s motion was seconded by Cllr Morris-Cook, who said there was “plenty of work for this committee to do”. She added scrutiny in the area is important, particularly on Morrisons and in establishing a gold standard for council homes.
Speaking afterwards, Cllr Gledhill said: “Over the past few years, we have seen failed management of repairs service, black mould and asbestos problems, a five-fold increase in voids and the current allocations policy is in dire need of refresh.
“We are now in the position that Thurrock will be keeping all of its collected rent to reinvest in home improvements or on new housing stock. With so much happening in relation to housing, more oversight of the service will have clear benefits.
“I am glad my motion had cross party support and am convinced this will lead to a better housing service for our tenants.”
The make-up of the new committee will be decided at a meeting in August.
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