Mile End East Board meeting feedback on “Decent Homes”

Report from yesterdays local Mile End Board Meeting.

Three members of the MERA committee attended the first public meeting since last April – a lot of water under the bridge since then…….

The start of the meeting was delayed a little until enough people arrived to reach the required number of people to allow the meeting to continue.

Bernie Cameron could not attend so the meeting was chaired by Colin Antoine the vice chair which is refreshing as he has a more relaxed approach to the running of a meeting and actually allows discussion and debate.

Finally around 7.20 a quorum was achieved and the meeting commenced.

First item was Minutes of Last Meeting and Matters Arising.

Lene Milaa (MERA Secretary) took the opportunity under matters arising to ask about for a further update on the the Decent Homes Program (Kitchen and Bathroom Refurbishment) Which was answered by Andy Osburne – Project Manager who said that kitchens and bathrooms are wrapped up in the whole planning process and planners are holding back the “Decent Homes” homes progress due to the requirement of EastendHomes to discharge conditions (this is planning law and EastendHomes are aware of these conditions – It is they who are at fault here as they are in breach if planning regulations) So the program is delayed. Mr Osborne went on to say that consultation will be starting next Thursday (30/10) .

Mr Osborne went on to explain that “Decent Homes” is different from “kitchens and bathrooms” and due to the delays in the “planning process” most of the works will not start till after Christmas.

Mark Taylor (MERA Chair) asked a further question about the now perceived connection between the Telford works and the Mullaly “Decent Homes” internal works had some how become intertwined and he went on to say that we were told in 2004 in our offer document that Core Works were not dependant on planning approval.

Core works were defined in the offer document as:

Click image to download 3 pages from offer document (PDF)

  • Structural repairs
  • External decorations
  • Repair/renew roofs
  • New kitchens
  • New bathrooms
  • Repair/renew double glazed windows Balcony/walkway repairs
  • Balcony/walkway repairs
  • Repair/renew entrance doors
  • Door entry system works
  • Communal areas improvements
  • Drainage works
  • Essential landlord’s services
  • Essential internal services
  • Repair/renew lifts

Not subject to planning approval or the development of new homes for sale or rent. That seems to cover “Decent Homes”

The Decent Homes Standard is the minimum standard that all social housing in England  should  achieve  by  the  end  of  2010.  A  decent  home  is  defined  as  one that is ‘wind and weather tight, warm and has modern facilities’.

Andy Osborne told us that the planners had advised them that conditions needed to be discharged.  They were advised of this on 22nd March when the Conditional Permission for Development was finally passed by the GLA and of course they knew before this that conditions would be applied to the planning permission. This is normal. Specially so when areas involving Health and Safety had been identified during the process of the application in relation to site contamination and a construction management plan.

EastendHomes did not pay attention to conditions that needed to be discharged until they recieved a letter at the end of July from the LBTH Head of Planning and Building Control…..

The letter went on to point out 6 identified breaches of the planning application on Eric and Treby and the possibility of formal enforcement action by the Council. You can download the letter from LBTH Planning Enforcement here (PDF)

As an end note for the moment after a heated discussion about the representation of Mile End East residents on the EEH main board a long serving member of the board resigned last night. “I have no faith and as of tonight I resign from the board……As from now on I’m fighting against EastendHomes”
A word of comfort to that board member. Under the new TSA regulations we do not have to fight – our rights are enshrined in law. Though EastendHomes have not got it yet.

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