Monday 22 March 2010
Communities and Local Government
Sheltered Housing (Sidcup)
The Petition of persons resident in the Old Bexley and Sidcup parliamentary constituency,
Declares that they are concerned for the future of Heron Court, a sheltered housing scheme in Sidcup, with provision for elderly residents and operated by London and Quadrant Housing Trust to which nominations are made by the London Borough of Bexley.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State responsible for Local Government to ensure that their local authority considers the 600 persons upon their sheltered accommodation waiting list while empty places are retained in appropriate schemes within the Borough.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented on 12 January 2010, Official Report,; Vol. 503, c. 14P.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:
The Secretary of State acknowledges the concerns of the petitioners about the future of the Heron Court sheltered housing scheme. As autonomous bodies, the management of available social housing stock, and nominations for accommodation, are operational matters for the London and Quadrant Housing Trust and the London Borough of Bexley. Ministers have no remit to intervene in their day to day activities.
I understand, however, that the Housing Trust has met with residents of Heron Court and their families on a number of occasions to discuss their plans to modernise and refurbish the accommodation at Heron Court, so that it better meets the needs of its residents, for instance by improving accessibility.
I also understand the Trust has written to every signatory of this petition, explaining the programme of modernisation underway at Heron Court and reassuring them that no resident will be forced to move from their home. I am assured that the Trust will continue to consult with residents on each phase of the modernisation programme to ensure that their specific needs and requirements for both their homes and the communal areas of the scheme are satisfied.
More generally, my Department sponsors the Tenant Services Authority to regulate Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), such as London and Quadrant Housing Trust, to ensure they provide decent homes and services for tenants and that they are properly managed. RSLs must meet existing eligibility and registration criteria, and they must then demonstrate ongoing compliance with the Regulatory Code and guidance in respect of their financial viability, governance and management.
The Petition of Mr and Mrs Martin, the residents of St. George's Walk and others,
Declares that the constant playing of football on the green adjacent to St George’s Walk is causing a nuisance to local residents by damaging the green, surrounding properties and area; that the participating youths behave anti-socially which causes distress and creates unnecessary work for residents who must clean up the mess left at the end of the day; further declares that the Council has a statutory responsibility, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to take reasonable steps to investigate any complaint of a nuisance in their area; that for these and other valid reasons, Castle Point Borough Council should prohibit the playing of football on this area of the green and plants trees around the green to increase the safety of properties and the visual amenities for the community.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to press Castle Point Borough Council and local Councillors to immediately investigate this nuisance, ban football on the green and begin planting trees for community wellbeing.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Bob Spink, Official Report, 2 March 2010; Vol. 506, c. 916.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for the Home Department:
The Government are committed to tackling anti-social behaviour in all its forms and have made it a key priority for action at all levels. No one should be expected to suffer from antisocial behaviour—which is why our approach is tackling not tolerating antisocial behaviour.
We have made it clear to local areas that we expect local agencies to use all the powers available to tackle anti-social behaviour; and to take swift and effective action when dealing with complaints of anti-social behaviour.
The Government have introduced a set of robust powers for local partners, including the police and local authorities, to tackle anti-social behaviour and have issued new guidance on how to make full and effective use of them. Warnings, acceptable behaviour contracts (ABCs), fixed penalty notices, enforcement of tenancy agreements, anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs), premises closure orders, and injunctions are all tools that could be used to stop anti-social behaviour. There should be no situation in which anti-social behaviour cannot be tackled or victims not supported.
I understand from Castle Point borough council that action is being taken to address the problem. Ward members and residents have met with the police and the police were to increase patrols to respond to any problems.
The request for tree planting on the green has also been referred for consideration at the next Canvey West neighbourhood meeting which is to take place on 24 March 2010.