How the council will improve homes in Exmouth Littleham | Opinion

  Posted: 23.06.21 at 10:10 by Councillor Bruce de Saram (Exmouth Littleham Ward)

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Welcome to this online column.

I am one of the local councillors for Littleham, which is recognised as being one of the most deprived wards in East Devon.

In this article, I shall focus on the East Devon District Council (EDDC) Housing Service aims and objectives.

The situation

Several years ago, the council decided it would continue to keep its housing stock and still owns approximately 50% of the homes on the Littleham estate.

The council also set up a Housing Review Board, on which five councillors, five tenants, and two independent members meet regularly to consider the management of the housing stock, to listen to issues that tenants may wish to raise, and to consult tenants on government policy.

For example at the last board meeting in April, the Acting Housing Service Lead’s report informed members of a number of housing policies that had been reviewed by the relevant housing manager to ensure that they continued to reflect current practice and legislation.

The policies that had been reviewed were:

· Pets
· Car park management
· Anti-social behaviour
· Succession
· Responsive repairs
· Recharge
· Property and assets compensation
· Decant
· Gas safety
· Improvements to council properties
· Leasehold management
· Asbestos policy and management plan
· Adaptations

Aims and objectives

It is the aim of EDDC as set out in its Council Plan to keep all the housing stock in good repair, fit for purpose, and safe.

This helps with keeping the running costs to the tenant as low as possible, as it’s recognised that many are on low incomes or benefits.

Housing law can also be very challenging at times. The council also faces strategic issues around a lack of suitable affordable housing and tackling rough sleeping and homelessness.

To meet the objectives of the Devon Climate Declaration, EDDC intends to carry out a stock condition survey over the next year to 18 months.

This will provide the information to enable EDDC to develop and carry out a far reaching and comprehensive programme of improvement works focused on improving the energy efficiency of EDDC stock, which again will be of significant benefit to tenants as a more energy efficient home is cheaper to run.

To continue to make a difference, the council is looking to work with Environmental Health colleagues to issue community protection warnings and notices to provide a faster response to tenants’ concerns over anti-social behaviour.

The council is also working with tenants on something called a ‘Charter for Social Housing Tenants’, in response to the social housing white paper, to give tenants more of a say in how the council can provide safe, good quality homes and neighbourhoods to live in.

One of the objectives is to improve communal areas on housing estates, to plant trees and thereby encourage greater diversity of wildlife through re-wilding and nature recovery corridors, all of which promises to be positive and beneficial to the local community and its tenants.

How you can help/ have your say

Naturally, I recognise that there are always things the council could do better and it’s up to you as residents to get in touch via your local ward councillor, like myself, so together we can make a difference to the lives of East Devon residents.

A list of all councillors and where they represent is available on the EDDC Website.

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