New Housing Committee set to lay out New Direction for City Council
Councillor Kevin Price, the new Executive Councillor for Housing for Cambridge City Council, has spoken ahead of the first meeting of the new Housing Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 1 July. Labour won control of the City Council in May 2014 and one of their first actions was to set up the new committee, bringing together the work done before by the City's Housing Management Board and Community Services Scrutiny Committee.
Councillor Price said: "For most people housing is the single most important issue facing the City Council. This new committee will be able to take a comprehensive overview of the different areas. The Council manages 7000 council homes across the City and we will be reviewing the Housing Revenue Account to put into place a significant City Homes Improvement Programme to revitalise our estates. We intend to kick-start the programme by doubling the money for fencing repairs and replacements to £200,000 for this year on Tuesday. We will also be seeking new ways of building new council homes, working together with established communities rather than breaking them up as happened under the Liberal Democrats over the last two years in Colville Road in Cherry Hinton and Water Lane in East Chesterton and that is why we have halted redevelopment plans for Lichfield Road and parts of Campkin Road."
Councillor Price added: "The Private Rental Sector is crucial in Cambridge. We want to look at options for a Social Lettings Agency and how we can work in a better partnership with the hundreds of small and large landlords across the City, taking best practice from elsewhere to get the best deal for both tenants and landlords. To help develop policy quickly both in this area and also the rising problem of Homelessness I will be asking two committee members to be Lead Councillors and work closely with me on them over the next 12 months. The challenge and focus for all on the committee must be to join up policy and thinking across all parts of the large Housing Department and improve standards for tenants in either the social or private sector."
Contact: Cllr Kevin Price, 07964 280689
Notes for Editors:
The Housing Scrutiny Committee, set on at the City Council AGM on 12 June, takes the place of the City Council's previous Housing Management Board, which dealt with City Homes and the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and some of the work in the Community Services Scrutiny Committee which dealt with strategic housing, new build council homes and Homelessness. It comprises 6 council tenant or leaseholder representatives elected by City Homes tenants and leaseholders along with 8 City councillors, of whom 5 are Labour members. It will be chaired by Labour's Councillor Mike Todd-Jones with a tenant representative and Vice Chair who will take the chair for the parts of the meeting dealing solely with council homes.
Newly elected Councillors Richard Robertson (Petersfield) and Dave Baigent (Romsey) will be asked to be the Lead Councillors for Homelessness and Private Rental Sector respectively, and their role will be in policy development together with the Executive Councillor for Housing, Kevin Price. Labour were elected on a manifesto of tackling the housing crisis in Cambridge and their Annual Statement on June 12th laid out clear policy direction on social housing, private rental sector and homelessness which the committee will scrutinise and put into place.
The agenda for the first meeting on Tuesday 1 July can be found here: http://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=178&MId=2591&Ver=4