Why is the Council carrying out this consultation and engagement with tenants?
Councillors agreed in November last year that they will consider the options for the long-term future of the high-rise flats later this year and consultation with tenants is an important part of this. What you think about these options really matters and will help inform any decisions Councillors have to take. That’s why we’re coming out to speak to you and find out what you think of the different options available and what you want for the long-term future of the flats.
What are the ‘essential and advisable’ works?
As you know, we commissioned a full structural survey of the flats last year and this confirmed that – in addition to the planned improvement works that were already on site – further “essential and advisable” works had been identified.
These include the removal of the external cladding, existing timber and aluminium windows, and pitched roof covering; new insulated render system; full rewiring; new heating and hot water systems; replacing kitchens and bathrooms; upgrading the sprinkler systems; and upgrading passenger lifts.
Why is the Council currently doing improvement works in the blocks if you don’t even know if you will keep the flats?
This is about what we need to do for our tenants now – not what the long-term plans are. The works underway were agreed by Councillors in October 2017 and are designed to further enhance the fire safety measures in place and reassure you about our commitment to supporting your safety and wellbeing. As you know, this package of work is focusing on ground floor communal and entrance areas as well as the replacement of all entrance doors to individual flats.
If the refurbish option is chosen by Councillors, how long will I be decanted for?
You would be decanted from your home for at least one year, but it could be a good bit longer. The refurbishment works will take 12 months to complete per block. Each block would need to be completely empty before the works could get underway and that will depend on how long it takes us to get existing tenants into suitable temporary accommodation. The overall refurbishment programme for all three blocks would take more than three years.
If Councillors decide to demolish the flats and rebuild on the same site, how long will I be decanted for?
You would be decanted from your current home for at least three years, as that’s how long it would take to demolish the existing blocks and then rebuild on the site. All three blocks would need to be completely empty before the demolition works could get underway and that would depend on how long it takes us to get existing tenants into suitable temporary accommodation.
If we were to rebuild on the site, the style of housing likely to be developed would mean there would be a reduced number of properties, and therefore unable to accommodate all existing tenants within Riverside Place.
If the Council decides to demolish and rebuild on the existing site, will the new build development still include amenity housing?
Given the level of demand and the existing stock available, any proposed development is expected to include amenity housing.
Is there an option to partially demolish the flats e.g. keep one block and demolish two or reduce the height of the existing blocks?
No. That is not feasible with the existing structure of the three multi-storey blocks.
If refurbishing or rebuilding, do you have enough empty properties to be able to decant so many people at once?
Not right away. We know it will take time to get existing tenants into suitable temporary accommodation that meets their individual needs and that’s why some tenants are likely to be out of their flats longer than others. We will look to use our existing housing stock and, if required, will link with other local Registered Social Landlords (Housing Associations) regarding any temporary accommodation they could offer.
If Councillors decided to demolish the flats and we are rehoused permanently, can I decide where I’m moved to?
You will – of course – be able to make choices regarding the areas you would consider and a full housing options interview and discussion would be carried out to identify what could be right for you. Stock availability and ensuring a property meets your medical requirements would be our priority.
Are there any new-build developments that I could be considered for?
Yes – subject to your individual requirements and what will be available when. There are a number of potential sites identified for new developments, all of which are detailed in the Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP).
Acceptance, progress and timescales for each proposed development are all subject to planning, operational and financial considerations and inclusion in the plan doesn’t mean they will necessarily go ahead, or be progressed within the indicative timelines details in the Plan. Printed copies of the Plan are available in the Recreation Centre or from the Housing Officers.
Will I be treated as a priority for moving if the decision to demolish is taken?
If Councillors decide that demolition is the preferred option for Riverside Place, they will also make a decision as to whether you should receive priority status and when this status would apply from.
Will I receive any help to move if I’m either moved permanently or on a temporary basis?
If you are moving as a direct result of the decision made by Councillors, you will receive assistance to move in line with our standard procedures for such a move. However, if you are already on the housing list and accept an offer prior to any final decision by Councillors, normal procedures apply and you are responsible for arranging your move.
Will I receive any compensation for moving?
If you are losing your home and moving as a direct result of the decision made by Councillors, you will receive a statutory one-off home loss payment of £1,500.
Will Councillors make a final decision in June 2019?
That will be for the Councillors to decide. All the information we have will be presented to the Councillors in June and it will be up to them to determine whether they can take a decision at that time, or whether they want further information before taking a decision. Whatever happens, we will let you know.
Once a decision is made, how quickly will we be expected to move?
The speed at which you will be expected to move will be dependent on which decision is made by Councillors and what stock is available. We know it will take time to get all existing tenants into suitable permanent or temporary accommodation, if necessary, that meets their individual needs.
What if tenant opinion is split as to what the long-term outcome should be for the flats?
Your feedback will be an important part of the picture for Councillors when taking any decision about the flats, but they will also consider affordability, available funding and impact of the different options on meeting housing need in the future. It will be for the Councillors to look at all the facts and information before deciding what the right decision is.
I currently use the shared laundry facilities, will I be provided with a washing machine if I am decanted?
Yes, you will be provided with a washing machine in any decant accommodation provided.
I currently use my own washing machine within my flat, which I have permission for. Will I get help to move this?
Yes, you will if you are moving as a direct result of the decision taken by Councillors. Please ensure you let the Housing Officers know about your washing machine during your individual meeting when asked about bulky household items.
Can I receive extra support for tenancy-related matters?
Yes. We can consider any specific housing support needs you may have or offer advice and information on other services that may be helpful to you with your permission. Please just ask.
If the flats are to be refurbished, will they all be completed at the same time?
No. The identified refurbishment works would be progressed on a block-by-block basis, so we would empty one block, complete the refurbishment, return tenants to the refurbished block, and then move on to the next block.
If we choose the rehouse option and move to alternative accommodation so the blocks can be demolished, what will be put in place of the flats?
That will be for Councillors to decide, but it’s likely that new amenity housing would be developed on the site. If you are permanently rehoused under the ‘rehouse’ option, you would not have any preferred status for a property within the new development.
If the decision is taken to demolish the flats and rebuild on the same site, how will you decide who gets to go back there?
That will depend on a number of factors – what individual tenants want, as some people may not want to wait for at least three years, but would prefer just to get into a new home; any priority status; and where individual tenants are on the waiting list.
If we can’t all go back to new houses on the same site, where would we go?
A full housing options interview and discussion would be undertaken with you so we can outline what’s available to meet your needs and to help you make the decision that’s right for you.