Problems with Decent Homes Project

The Council’s Decent Homes Project underway in Woodley is providing new kitchens and bathrooms in council-owned properties to bring these aging properties up to the government’s minimum standard.  This is the first upgrade the properties have had in 30 to 50 years.

For the last two weeks, the Liberal Democrat councillors for Loddon ward, Phil Challis and Sue Smith, have been working hard with council officers to resolve residents’ issues with the way the Decent Homes Project is being mismanaged.

Phil Challis explained: ‘I was contacted by residents in Drovers Way telling me about the disruption they have suffered as a result of delays in the work.  Work that they were told would take three weeks is taking more than six weeks.  This is leaving elderly and vulnerable people to live for weeks in turmoil with their lives packed into boxes.

‘Residents also expressed concerns over the safety of some installations, the extended periods without services such as gas and toilets, and the length of time it is taking within each property. Seven hours without a toilet is no joke for anyone and can be much worse for the many elderly residents.’

Sue Smith said: ‘After Phil and I brought this issue to the attention of the Manager of Tenant Services, a sub-contractor has been replaced and the council appears to be taking steps to ensure that performance improves in the future – we will continue to monitor the situation very closely.’

Liberal Democrats were shocked, therefore, to find that the Executive Member of Social Care (and Housing) could not answer a question on the subject at last Thursday’s Council meeting, explaining that this was the first he heard about the issue.

Phil Challis said: ‘I think residents have a right to expect the Executive member to know that things are going seriously wrong in departments under his control, rather than take the Special Responsibility Allowance each month without taking any responsibility.  We want the Executive Member to ensure that the Council receives value for money from the contractors and that residents, many of whom are elderly or vulnerable, receive the decent home that they deserve with an acceptable level of disruption.’

Published by Woodley & Whitegates Liberal Democrats, 26 Farriers Close Woodley, Reading RG5 3DD.

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