Many tenants and resident leaseholders will have been contacted by a company called Altair about the future of Tower Hamlets Homes, as its contract with the Council is up for renewal. This is your opportunity to engage and to share your views on the organisation and its future.
During the recent local elections, Cllr Mukit and I made five local pledges on top of delivering our Labour local election manifesto. One of our pledges was to ‘work to make Tower Hamlets Homes a fantastic local landlord and to transform their estates’.
I believe that we can achieve this by, extending Tower Hamlets Homes’s contract and by giving it more tools and powers to tackle this issues in our neighbourhoods – effectively Tower Hamlets Homes plus approach.
For example, this could include giving Tower Hamlets Homes:
- more enforcement powers to tackle ASB and dumping on estates
- responsibility for enforcement of private lettings and for the landlord licencing scheme
- a role in delivering elements of the Council’s new build programme
Alternatively, one of the options for the Council, as part of the renewal process, is for it to take over the management itself. At present, I do not support this option because of the following:
- Now is not the time – the council needs to focus on its new build programme (1,000 new Council homes) and bringing the waste management contract back in house
- We need strong leadership – this option would remove the CEO position and resident, leaseholder and councillor participation the governance of the organisation.
- Let’s make our homes safer first – the organisation and the Council must prioritise fire safety works and achieving the emerging requirements following Grenfell Tower tragedy (Tower Hamlets Homes is now seen as an exemplar organisation in how it responded to residents’ concerns).
- Disruption could delay improvements to buildings – Tower Hamlets Homes needs to deliver the £160 million Better Neighbourhoods investment programme on estates. Residents in Weavers Ward have waited years for new windows and other works. We can’t afford further delays.
If Tower Hamlets Homes contract is renewed, it won’t be business as usual. We need to ensure it becomes a fantastic organisation, as we have pledged.
We have begun this journey over the last three years. Tower Hamlets Homes has started transforming as an organisation to better meet the needs of residents. Here are some of the improvements that have been delivered:
- Expanding the ASB team and adding a police team and private security patrols (follow them on twitter)
- Creating a digital account for residents to access services (register for an account)
- Creating a better neighbourhoods programme to improve its estates (view the map of the planned works)
- Making fire safety a priority, which prepared the organisation to respond to concern following the Grenfell Tower tragedy
- Appointing a new leadership team to support this transformation
Did you know that since the Tory Government’s austerity programme started in 2010, Tower Hamlets Council’s core funding has been cut by £148m? That’s a shocking 64%.
This means difficult choices, and we need your views to help us prioritise and plan for the future.
We have managed to keep all of our Idea Stores, libraries, leisure centres and children centres open. We’ve built more affordable homes than anywhere else in the country, launched a ground-breaking tackling poverty fund and invested in fighting crime and anti-social behaviour, including providing funding for additional police officers.
But with yet more government cuts, we have to look at innovative ways to generate additional income, work more closely with our partners and make our services more efficient.
Tower Hamlets Council has started a consultation so you can get involved in our budget and help us shape our priorities. Get involved here: www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/budget
The consultation closes on 10th December 2018 – don’t miss out on having your views heard.
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Mayor John Biggs has agreed to invest £545,000 for a neighbourhood operations scheme, in his Budget proposals for 2018-19, to tackling antisocial behaviour in Weavers Ward.
The pilot introduces a neighbourhood manager and neighbourhood wards to work with local Police and agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.
Your local Labour Councillors, John Pierce and Abdul Mukit (Chunu), were able to secure the funding after running a number of public meetings which highlighted the pressing need and concerns of residents.
Both councillors are working with council officers to launch the pilot as soon as possible.
Local residents will be invited to play their part in making the pilot a success.
Council funded Police Officers have slashed rates of anti-social behaviour with a radical scheme to tackle repeat offending.
Officers in Tower Hamlets are recording details of offenders and visiting them in person if they reoffend, instead of the usual practice of simply moving them on.
The pilot scheme has seen a 30 per cent fall in the number of calls to the Met about anti-social behaviour in the borough.
A part of his commitment to tackling anti-social behavior, Labour Mayor John Biggs has given Tower Hamlets Homes extra funding for a new neighbourhood patrol service on their estates.
Local residents living on the Dorset, Newling, Boundary, Granby and Hereford estates in Weavers Ward will benefit from this new service.
THH are now calling on residents and members of the public to help them catch more offenders. Anyone witnessing ASB are encouraged to report it to them on 020 7364 5015 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If it is an emergency the police should be contacted.
Over the last few years, Cllr Mukit and I along with local residents and Columbia Tenant and Resident Group have been campaigning for the Tower Hamlets Council to close Pelter Street to prevent drug dealing.
As a daily occurrence, drug users have been pick up drugs from cars on Pelter Street and then getting access to blocks to use them. Resident often were walking up to drug users on their stairwells or finding drug paraphernalia after they had left.
Tower Hamlets Council has now closed the road using bollards following a consultation with local residents.
Cllr Mukit and I visited residents of Pelter Street on Saturday 20 January to assess the impact. We had positive feed back from a number of local people.
As local ward councils we are happy to support all residents in making requests to the local Police, Tower Hamlets Council and local social landlord for improvements to their neighbourhood.