Residents' fears over potential housing office closures
7:00am Wednesday 10th October 2012 in News
ELDERLY residents have voiced their concerns over the potential closure of housing offices.
At a meeting on Monday, a group of Bellmaine Avenue residents met Stanford East and Corringham Town Labour councillor Richard Speight in the Tom Wood Hall, Corringham.
They pressed him over the council’s plans to shut housing offices in Purfleet and Corringham, which would offer a more “cost effective service for residents”.
Letters sent to councillors in August warned of possible housing office closures and stated the move was the first in a programme where web-based portals and community hubs will be used to offer housing services instead.
It was this that concerned resident Lilly Neiss, who said going to the Civic Offices in Grays to sort out housing problems would be very inconvenient, particularly for vulnerable and less mobile residents.
She said: “If the housing office moves to Grays, it means people have to climb a hill and get on a bus, which is just no good.
“I would also like the council to come around this complex and see not everybody has got a computer.
“With the front desk at the Corringham office, we can just go in there to bid on houses should we wish to move.”
Cllr Speight moved to calm concerns. He said: “The office isn’t definitely closing.
“But there is an element of cost involved. We’ve got to make £17million of cuts in the next three years and this is one area being looked at.”
He added that at present, those who work in the housing offices are agency workers and so they can’t solve problems straight away. Cllr Speight added: “One thing we’re looking at is more appointments with housing officers and in-house visits or surgeries, so you’re talking to the right people about your concerns straight away.
“I know people being vulnerable, getting to Grays is a problem. I’m pushing for these surgeries.”