Area Panel May 2021

Resident’s Questions


3 Star


1.   Clearance of overgrown areas by City Parks

See Item 2 and 6: Minutes of North Area Residents Only Meeting 19th January 2021


Communication between City Parks and Residents Associations has been very poor. When requests are made for an area to be cleared Residents Associations are:

·        not invited to the inspection of the area or informed of the date or outcome

·        unable to get any detailed information or progress reports when they phone City Parks

·        Work requested by Associations and discussed at Area Panel is not followed up on or carried out.



Two examples were given:

The overgrown brambles between the bottom of Davey Drive and Horton Road. This has been discussed extensively over many years, leading to a commitment by City Parks at the January 2021 Area Panel to cut back the brambles and do regular maintenance of the area. Despite this the brambles are still growing over the wall onto the footpath, causing a hazard to local residents.

Overgrown brambles at the allotments between The Charltons and Haig Avenue, Coldean. Heather has asked Alan Griffiths, City Parks Operations Manager, to carry out a joint inspection of the area. He has not responded with a proposed date.


Residents are requesting that City Parks review their communication with Residents Association with a view to:

·        Acknowledging requests for work on estates

·        Arranging joint site visits with Residents Associations to clarify what work is required

·        Providing updates on the progress of work.



No response received.


2.   Estate Development Budget (EDB): Fencing

See Item 10: Minutes of North Area Residents Only Meeting 19th January 2021



North residents would like to be able to submit EDB bids for fencing to individual properties.

The replacement of fencing affects a whole area, making it feel tidier and well-kept. Many fences have been blown down or damaged over time and this is leading to a general deterioration of the local environment.


Residents often ask for fencing when EDB submissions are being prepared. In the past this work was funded by EDB and it was very popular.

An item was put forward to the North Area Panel in January 2021 requesting a review of the decision to exclude fencing for individual properties from the EDB. The written response explained the reasons for the change in policy but did not put forward a framework for how it might be reviewed. Therefore this has not resolved the problem.

The meeting agreed to put this forward to the Area Panel as a 3 star item and contact other areas to ask them to support it.


Residents are requesting that the inclusion of individual fences in EDB bids be reconsidered. This should include an assessment of the impact of damaged and broken fences on:

·        the overall appearance, untidiness and gradual deterioration of our estates

·        the security of individual tenants who cannot afford to renew their own fences.


Response – Justine Harris


Thank you for your question. At the January Area Panel the response to the question about fencing set out how we respond to individual requests for fencing.   Each area Housing Office has an individual budget and tenants can request help for fencing by contacting the Housing Customer Service team, things such as security and affordability will be considered, along with the overall appearance of the Estates. As set out in January’s response, we do have a large area of discretion when it comes to replacing fences.


The Estates Development Budget is for projects that benefit the whole community and not for individual issues. Therefore in a review in 2018 the EDB review group decided that individual fencing would no longer to funded. However as stated above if an individual has a specific fencing issues they can still resolve this by contacting the Housing Customer Service team to help them.  


All Areas

1.     Refuse and Recycling Service


The collection of rubbish and recycling has been very poor recently. Collections are being missed and it is difficult for residents to contact City Clean to report this or follow up ongoing problems.

Residents are still paying for this in their Council Tax but are not receiving the service they deserve.



Several examples were given:

·        Bin lorries are being sent out with 2 instead of 3 operatives, so they don’t have time to do the job properly

·        The recycling has not been collected in Dunster Close for 4 weeks

·        Rubbish has not been collected from Tavistock Down

·        Collections have been missed in Southmount

·        Collections have been missed in some areas of Coldean this week

·        Street Cleaning teams are only responding to emergencies, so areas are being left untidy

·        The Assistant Director City Environment has been off work for a long time, resulting in a lack of coordination and reduction in service

·        When residents ring Cityclean the phone isn’t answered


Residents are requesting information on when Cityclean will:

·        resume a full refuse and recycling collection service

·        provide a phone line that residents can use to report problems



Response – Lynsay Cook, Head of Business Support & Projects City Clean


The refuse and recycling service has been prioritised throughout the pandemic and we apologise for any service disruption experienced.


Covid secure arrangements are in place to ensure our colleagues are working in a safe environment. This means only the driver and one operative can be in the cab at the same time. Where a crew has more than one operative, they are being taxied to their starting location by a minibus – there has not been a reduction in the number of crew.


Street Cleansing has returned to business as usual following an initial need to attend to emergencies only due to the number of staff unable to attend work.


The easiest and quickest way to report a missed collection or an issue is through the website. This gets the information to the relevant crew. For those unable to access the internet, an accessibility line is available to assist. This available by calling 01273 292929 and selecting option 4.


The link to report issues is


2.     North  - Communal Bins at Tavistock Down


In Tavistock Down there are 100 residents and only 5 bins. When the bins are emptied they become full again very quickly. When they overflow the rubbish gets scattered around by the wind, seagulls and foxes.



This was last discussed at North Area Panel over a year ago in February 2020. The written response from Cityclean stated:

“A meeting is taking place between Cityclean and the Housing Manager at Tavistock Down to discuss supplying hardstands for refuse and recycling. These hard stands will house the bins for all the flats. We are in the process of calculating the number of bins needed based on the number of flats, and we are aiming to provide slightly extra to prevent overspill. We work out capacity of bins by using calculations based on the number of flats that the bins will service. It roughly works out as for every 8 flats, there should be 1 x 1100 litre refuse and recycling (glass) container.”


This hasn’t been followed up and there haven’t been any new bins at Tavistock Down. This week (week commencing 22nd March 2021) the bins were not emptied and there is once again an accumulation of rubbish scattered around the area.


Residents are requesting that Cityclean urgently supply more communal bins at Tavistock Down.


Response - Lynsay Cook, Head of Business Support & Projects City Clean


A Cityclean Team Leader has met with the Surveyor & Contract Manager (Robert Woodbridge and a Housing Officer (Peter Maddox) regarding the installation hardstands to increase the bin capacity of Tavistock Down.


The proposal is to:

·        Place one hardstand at rear of numbers 1 to 11 which would house 2 x 1100 litre refuse bins and 2 x 1100 litre recycling bins and 2 x 240 litre glass bins

·        Place two hardstands at the bottom in the turning circle which would house on one side 3 x 1100 litre refuse bins and on the other side 3 x 1100 litre recycling bins and 3 x 240 litre glass bins


This is currently being progressed through Housing’s Environmental Improvement Project Board, in liaison with Highways.

Response – Lynsay Cook, Head of Business Support & Projects City Clean


Refuse and recycling from the Coop is collected on a Tuesday.


The Coop did experience service disruption as previously the bins were placed behind a wall, which meant the crew were unable to access them. The bins are now in a new location that is suitable for the crew to collect.


3 Star


3.   Major Works Defects Review

Issue: There have been major failures with the brand new roofs and windows installed in blocks across the city in recent years. Concerns have been raised about this work for some time, and these must be addressed and taken seriously. This affects residents as well as leaseholders, who have paid from their rents for extremely low quality and inadequate work and are living with the consequences.


Background: see appendix 5, attached.


The meeting thanked Jane Thorp for all her work. Central residents are asking for:

·        A full discussion at Area Panels and for this item to be on the agenda at the next Housing Committee meeting.

·        Full written acknowledgement of the problems following major works.

·        A programme of remedies with dates for the work to be done.

·        A written process for dealing with disputes and compensation which treats all applicants equally, rather than the current system of negotiating outcomes individually to the detriment of people who may not have access to the skills or advice that are needed when dealing with experienced council managers advised by an in-house legal team. 


Response - Glyn Huelin, Head of Housing Repairs & Improvement


Thank you for your question.


We do completely understand the concerns raised by residents on these projects. The council are taking this seriously and working through any defects identified with our contractors. There are sometimes concerns raised following completion of works and there have been a range of different issues raised here which have required investigation. For those where defects are identified these are being logged and followed up to satisfactory completion with contractors.


We are currently in the process of mobilising new contracts for planned programmes and major works following extensive consultation with residents. We have focused on quality assurance as part of this and have committed to working with residents before, during and after works to ensure delivery to a high quality and to quickly resolve any issues identified. We are looking forwards to working with residents on these projects.


We do acknowledge that there are some defects following works that we need to address, sometimes we do need to recall contractors to return and fix issues, these are always monitored closely and checked after completion. This has been on a limited number of projects some of which are set out in the document provided.

We would like to assure all residents that we do have processes and procedures in place to check on the quality of works completed.  This is often supported by specific manufacturers who offer assurance on quality and workmanship.  For example, on flat roof replacements the supplier (Langley) attends site and undertakes checks during installation to add extra assurance that the installation is fit for purpose.


In addition, we have made further changes to our quality assurance processes for planned and major works and are working closely with our new contractors to ensure works are carried out to the right quality standards. We are keen to engage residents throughout projects, including as projects complete, to ensure any issues are identified and dealt with in a timely way.


We would encourage any resident who has concerns following work to their home to contact the council’s Property & Investment team by emailing


Residents can also contact our repairs helpdesk on 08000526140 or raise a repair online at


The council has a complaints procedure and a leaseholder disputes procedure that can be used if residents are not satisfied with our response. Leaseholder service charge disputes would generally be most appropriately dealt with through the leaseholders’ disputes procedure. Both procedures are set out on the council website. The council also has procedures for considering statutory and discretionary compensation.


Please also see our responses noted on the specific cases raised in the question as follows.


Pages 3-8 – Clarendon House, Livingstone House, Conway House, Goldstone House


These photos relate to works undertaken in 2017/18 that leaseholders have raised concerns about following the completion of the project and the service charge to leaseholders.


Some of these photos relate to issues that were previously identified and have been subsequently addressed. At the same time there are some areas where we feel work has been appropriately carried out and the service charge is due for these works.


In relation to the lift motor room and the leak in a communal area, this was identified previously, and repairs have been undertaken to fix this.


The service charge is now being considered by a leaseholder tribunal which will give an opportunity to consider the works and service charges openly and transparently.


Pages 9-10 - Sylvan Hall Estate – Elm Lodge


This is a case that the council is actively managing and working with contractors to resolve any remaining defects following the roofing works.  We are reviewing each item raised and will manage through to conclusion where further return visits are required by contractors. Contractors have already returned to address a number of issues including ensuring insulation has been appropriately installed as per the specification.


We can confirm that the council has not charged leaseholders for the removal of leaf guards that did not perform as planned.


Page 11 – Saxonbury


Thank you for raising this enquiry with us. The Property & Investment team will arrange to visit the resident and see if there are any issues that we require the contractor to return and address.


Page 12 – Sylvan Hall Estate – The Willows


This is a case that the council and contractors have been actively managing to ensure any remaining defects are addressed. We have previously investigated and apologised for some specific areas where our service fell below our standards. The remaining outstanding issues are being addressed and reviewed by contractors and should be completed shortly.


Pages 13-15 – Essex Place


The installation of these windows was undertaken in 2015. We will arrange to undertake further investigation to look at the specific windows detailed in this document and identify whether any repairs need to be undertaken or warranty repairs raised to the installers.



4.    Getting back together (North & Central)

Issue: As lock-down eases, Central residents are keen to start meeting together, using their community rooms, re-building their Associations and having in person meetings with the Council. They would like some information on when this will be possible.


There has been a reduction in resident involvement with the move to online meetings. Some people are unable to access the technology and others find it very unsatisfactory so don’t attend.


Information was requested on:

·        What guidance is the Council issuing to groups?

·        What are the Council’s plans for Resident Involvement meetings?
When will it be possible to hold Area Panels, Special Interest Groups and other meetings in person?

·        A report on plans to increase involvement by more residents and reinvigorate Associations that have struggled during covid.



Response - Sam Warren Community Engagement Manager


Thank you for the question. We are very aware of the difficulties of many residents to participate with online meetings however the council and Community Engagement Team are having to follow the government guidance on meeting together to protect us all from Covid 19.


We do acknowledge that for some residents joining online meetings has been complex and we have now purchased 10 tablets that we can loan to people to help them with equipment or data. We can also support residents to use this equipment to referral to Brighton and Hove Digital or through a session with one of our team.


In terms of a timeline back to physical meetings these are the dates we are currently working too. However, I would also like to acknowledge that a number of residents are finding online meeting considerably easier and we will need to have a balance when looking at how we move forward in the future to ensure everyone who wishes to, is able to participate. This may be a mix of physical and online meetings and events.


These are the government roadmaps dates


8 March - Social contact

People will be allowed to leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, if they are eligible for one, or with one person from outside their household.


29 March- Social contact

Outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed

12 April - Social contact, no change

However, non-essential retail will open alongside personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres.  Most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas and indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups)



Not before 17 May- Social contact

Most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.

We may be able to hold more local Tenant and resident meetings outside if the weather permits and there are appropriate places to do this.

Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply this means indoor meetings will still not be possible.  Although it may be possible to meet individuals indoors if we have the right spaces to do so. Many council buildings are still not open to all staff and there are very strict COVID safety measures in place that would need to be followed. Having said this, we will be exploring how we can use the community rooms and community spaces to have small meetings.

Review of social distancing

Government will review social distancing and other measures to cut transmission. This will also inform guidance on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and working from home.

Not before 21 June - Social contact

The government hope to remove all legal limits on social contact. However, it is likely that we will need to continue to carry on with ‘hands, face, space’, possibly wear face masks indoors and comply with any COVID-Secure measures that remain in place. We will also try to continue to meet outdoors when we can. 


We are in the process of buying a few pop-up gazebos which we hope will enable us to do more outdoor meetings.


The CEO’s are working with tenant groups to determine their needs. Each CEO has or will be in contact with the all the TRA’s to see what their priorities are and how we can help. If you have any specific needs, please contact your CEO and they will be able to support your TRA or local group.



5.    City-Wide Conference Organising group  - new members needed

Issue: The city-wide conference organising group would love to have some new members. They asked for a request for volunteers to be raised at each Area Panel.


Background: This group helps plan and organise the yearly city-wide conference. It meets roughly every month for about an hour.


Any resident who is interested in joining this group can contact Rebeca Mann (Community Engagement Officer) at


3 Star



6.   Maintenance Schedule HLT

Issue: At the last West Area Panel (3/3/21) West residents requested a maintenance schedule and raised concerns about the impact on the Estate Development Budget of unscheduled maintenance work. (Item 11 West Residents meeting 12/1/21)


This was discussed at the Area Panel, but no one was certain about the exact outcome (minutes are not yet available).  The meeting agreed that this is an on-going issue and that more information about maintenance schedules is needed, with further discussions at the next Area Panel.


Clarification of the agreement at Area Panel on the maintenance schedule item is requested for the Agenda Setting Meeting, as well as confirmation that it will be on the Area Panel agendas in May.



Response: Glyn Huelin, Head of Housing Repairs & Improvement

We wanted to clarify that the council does not work to a fixed pattern of carrying out certain work to its properties every ‘X’ amount of years, instead the council prioritises work as and when it is required. Given this it is not possible to provide a citywide “maintenance schedule”.

Following the last Area Panel we are working with Community Engagement to review the condition of meeting rooms and produce a priority list for any work required to the community rooms. This was also raised at the previous Area Panel.

We have provided some further information below regarding planned works programmes for the 2021/22 financial year that may be helpful to the Area Panel. Please note these are always subject to change dependant on ad-hoc priorities identified. The council are currently developing our future works programmes and will be looking to publish the outline programmes for 2022/23 and 2023/24 later in the year on the council’s website

Please note that this is separate to major works – planned works delivers individual elements of work like roofing, windows, doors etc. Major works will deliver a potential combination of works required to one block or area.

External repairs & decoration

This programme concentrates on carrying out work to maintain the external elements to properties except for roofs and windows, as these are picked up under their respective contracts.

The work is delivered to both blocks and houses, and in 2021/22 will benefit 95 houses, 19 blocks (benefitting 231 flats) and 18 duplex properties.



Wellington Road

Craven Road


Surrey Street

Uplands Road


Church Road



Livingstone Road

Lyminster Avenue


Shortgate Road

Rotherfield Crescent


Denton Drive

Hodshrove Road


Hangleton Way

Egginton Close



Kimberley Road



Chailey Road



Ringmer Drive


Lancing Court



Grinstead Mount

Rushlake Road


Framfield Court (C)

Reeves Hill


Lichfield Court (C)

Burlow Close


South Lodge (C)

Ravenswood Drive


Mayflower Square

Shipley Road


Middleton Rise

Bexhill Road



Coleridge Street



Cowper Street



Deacons Drive



Middleton Rise




Window replacement

The provisional window replacement programme for 2021/22 focuses on replacement for both blocks and houses, and will benefit 140 houses, 8 blocks (benefitting 108 flats).

Stapley Road

Bellingham Crescent


Communal windows only

Henfield Way

Godwin Road


Highbrook Close

Egmont Road

Poyning Drive


Chates Farm Court

Fitch Drive

Wilfrid Road



Dartmouth Crescent

Drove Crescent



Beal Crescent

Foxdown Road



Wickhurst Rise

The Highway



Garnet House

Upper Bedford Street



Tavistock Down

Hereford Street



Selsfield Drive

Wickhurst Road



Greatham Court





Roofs replacement

The roof replacement programme will concentrate on both blocks and houses, and flat and pitched roofs.

The provisional window replacement programme for 2021/22 focuses on replacement for both blocks and houses, and will benefit 18 houses, 9 blocks (benefitting 109 flats).

Ryeland Drive

Ditchling Gardens

Balchin Court

Maple House

Devon Lodge

Derby Place

Medway Court

Coldean Lane

Hawkhurst Road

Standean Close

Surrey Street

Highbrook Close

Crown Hill

The Laurels


Door replacement

The door replacement programme is being prioritised to ensure compliance with fire safety guidance and this will continue to be the focus on this programme for the first couple of years.

We have now agreed a compliant door with our new contractor that has been tested and certified as passing the government’s new safety tests. The provisional programme below may change, depending on the manufacturers ability to produce and install the volume of doors we require.

The programme will also include some ad-hoc properties where residents urgently require a new door.

The provisional programme will deliver 920 doors through 2021/22.

Conway Court


Flint Close

Clarendon House


East Hill Drive

Ellen House


Hornby Road

Goldstone House


Sherbourne Close

Livingstone House


Netherfield Green

Dudeney Lodge


Manor Green

Nettleton Court


Haybourne Road

Theobald House


Plumpton Road

Hereford Court


Ditchling Gardens

St Johns Mount



Tyson Place


Hodshrove Road

Warwick Mount


Bamford Close

Falcon Court


Poynings Drive


7.   Lack of action from CityClean

Issue: CityClean is very slow to respond to problems and complaints.
This is an on-going problem which comes up consistently across the city.


It is the responsibility of the Council to make sure that CityClean meet the commitments of their contract with the Council. What action is the Council taking to ensure this?

Response - Glyn Huelin, Head of Housing Repairs & Improvement



Thank you for your question. To be helpful it is worth clarifying that CityClean is a directly operated council service and not a contractor. CityClean provide a variety of services to residents and any questions or concerns around these services should be raised directly with colleagues in CityClean so that they can address any concerns that residents have. There is information on the council website at


8.    MEARs payments for Estate Development Budget Work

Issue: it is possible that Mears have been paid for EDB work that has never been done.



There are outstanding EDB projects from three years ago.

Mears are refusing to give the Council access to any information longer than two years ago. Without access to this information it is impossible to know if Mears has been paid for work they never carried out.


The Council should not accept Mears refusal to provide information and must continue to pursue this. A report on progress was requested for the Area Panel.


Eddie Wilson – Head of Repairs & Maintenance 


Thank you for your question.


It is not possible that Mears were paid for EDB work that was not done or completed. All work carried out by Mears was only paid for, following an on-site inspection to confirm completion and quality, or in the circumstances where equipment was provided under EDB, the recipients were contacted to confirm safe receipt. I hope this answers your concerns.

9.   Estate Development Budget (EDB): New Systems

Issue: West residents are concerned about the organisation and running of the EDB budget. Issues keep coming up and action is needed to progress the situation.



The central concern is that a new EDB system has been implemented which has never been agreed by the EDB panel, so does not have full agreement from residents.

Two specific issues were also raised at the meeting:

In the past, a regular report was circulated making clear what EDB jobs were completed, scheduled, refused or stalled. This information is necessary in order for residents to make decisions and be fully involved.  It is part of ensuring a resident-led process. Will this information be available in the future?

At a recent EDB panel, resident representatives were stopped from asking questions about bids from their area and were told it was not the place to discuss local issues.
If this is not allowed, where can bids be discussed?


Concerns about the running of the Estate Development Budget have been raised repeatedly by West residents. They are asking for these to be taken seriously and a way found to move forward constructively.


Response - Sam Warren Community Engagement Manager


A new EDB system has been implemented which has never been agreed by the EDB panel

In 2018 an internal audit was carried out of the EDB process and this found it was only partially compliant. Therefore, the way the EDB funds are allocated and the bids assessed needed to be reconsidered.


In 2019/20 the EDB officer has worked on a new application process and developed some guidance for the EDB panel to follow to ensure there was a clear decision-making process.


This guidance was taken to the Involvement and Empowerment Service Improvement Group

in August 2020 and January 2021 and was shared with the residents for comments. All members of I&E and the EDB review group were invited.


There was no voting process for the residents to agree this new process just a discussion and opportunity to feedback on the new guidance. This was something that we were required to do to comply with the audit recommendations and ensure that the evaluation of EDB bids is understandable and clear for all residents bidding and for those on the panel.


Each bid will now be evaluated on the information given in the application to ensure it is a transparent process. If a decision is challenged there is now a clear rationale that will show why a bid was agreed or declined.  The resident panel will still discuss the bids and are the final decision makers for EDB.


Resident representatives were stopped from asking questions about bids from their area and were told it was not the place to discuss local issues.  If this is not allowed, where can bids be discussed?


Some residents on the EDB panel did challenge if it was appropriate to have conversations about outstanding bids in the panel decision making meeting, especially if these were bids relating to a specific group where the panel members were also the recipients of the bid.

However, in the last EDB panel meeting it was acknowledged that there needs to be a place to consider all outstanding bids. Therefore, it was proposed that the first part of the EDB panel meeting will evaluate the bids and the second part of the meeting will look at any outstanding bids.

A regular report was circulated making clear what EDB jobs were completed, scheduled, refused or stalled, will this information be available in the future?

The EDB team in Property and Investment will share the spreadsheet for all outstanding bids at each EDB panel meeting.


The EDB Panel and the Involvement & Empowerment Service Improvement Groups are continuing work to ensure that the EDB Process is fair, inclusive, and resident led. The ongoing work is as follows:

1.   Continue to work on options that form part of wider consultation to move towards a wider ‘participatory budgeting’ style voting system.

2.   Continuing work on options for the funding split, such as the rollover of underspend into the main pot, or to keep underspend ringfenced to specific areas.

3.   Clarifying what is ‘maintenance’ and what is an improvement ( this links to the question about planned maintenance in community rooms and communal areas)

4.   Reviewing guidelines stipulating that an EDB bid cannot incur ongoing costs due to the limitations this imposes on certain projects, such as the installation of Wi-Fi in community rooms.

5.   Agreeing a process for evaluating the impact of EDB (tying in the Resident Inspectors programme) over the course of a year, such as:

·        demonstrating value of residents as decision makers

·        the impact of successful bids within the communities

·        what has been delivered over the course of a year


This work will continue over the next year.

10.                Environmental Improvement Budget

Issue: £500,000 has been found for the Environmental Improvement Budget in 2020/21 and 2021/22. At the same time the Estate Development Budget (EDB) has been cut.


West residents would rather have the EDB returned to previous levels than more funding for the Environmental Improvement Budget.

·        A report and discussion at Area Panels was requested. This should cover:

·        Where the money has come from for the Environmental Improvement Budget.

·        Details of what it has been spent on.

·        The process for consulting and involving residents.

·        Can funds go into the Estate Development Budget instead of the Environmental Improvement Budget?


Report Attached at the end of the questions: Environmental Improvement Budget Update May 2021”.

There was a resident survey carried out at the beginning on the Environmental Improvement Budget programme however we are aware that there was a small response to the survey and we aim to do this again in summer 2021. The aim of the survey will be to identify the key priorities for the residents so that the Environmental Improvement Budget can be used to address these issues quickly. Further consultation can then be carried out with residents to look at specific details when projects are being delivered in their areas.  The Environmental Improvement Budget is there to deliver on the strategic issues that residents have identified.

This is different from the Estate Development Budget (EDB) process where residents can bid for projects and ideas that they would like to take forward. The funds to EDB and the Environmental Improvement Budget are decided within the budget and approved at Housing committee annually.

11.                 Buy Local

Issue: a recent EDB purchase of plants for North Portslade came from Kent. These were really poor quality and arrived in a bad condition. There are many excellent local businesses and projects who could have supplied better products and need our support.
Why is the Council not buying locally?


Request for a commitment from the Council to prioritise local businesses



Response – Sam Warren Community Engagement Manager

As the council purchasing/invoicing system is quite limited, we are working on a number of ways to reduce the time residents are waiting for quick bids.

Firstly, the Community Engagement Officers are working with the Tenant and Resident Associations to ensure they have functioning bank accounts where this is appropriate. When a group is awarded a quick bid, where is it possible, we will be granting the funding directly to the community group and each group will need to sign a small grant agreement and show receipts for the items they buy. However, this will enable the group to purchase the items they have bid for directly and have more control over value for money, and where they purchase their items. 

Secondly, where it is a more informal group that have bid to EDB without a bank account we will try to work with a neighbouring TRA support them to still purchase locally.

Thirdly, we have increased the amount we are able to spend on our purchasing card to the maximum of a quick (£1,000) so we can purchase higher value items directly and locally, without having to use the council 30 day invoicing system which is only accepted by a limited amount of suppliers.

Where none of the options above are available we will need to use the council purchasing system and approved suppliers, many of whom are still local.

3 Star East

12.                Communications between officers and residents



Residents often don’t get a response when they contact officers to ask questions or raise issues. As a result they don’t know if the issue is being dealt with. In contrast, when officers contact residents they often ask them to provide information or respond at very short notice.




An example was given from Woodingdean. They have submitted their EDB main bids but have not been told if they have been accepted. An email was sent to the Community Engagement Officer on 1st March to check this and a reply had not been received by the meeting on 24th March.

Residents said this is a common problem when contacting officers. It is not specific to the Community Engagement Team.


East Residents would like a target to be set, requiring officers to provide a substantial response to residents’ email and other queries within a set time frame. A target of 5 working days is proposed.


Response - Keely McDonald , Community Engagement Officer


I sincerely apologise that the expectation of a timely response was not met in this instance. Although the CEO officer was unable to respond to the Association Committee directly, the EDB Officer made efforts to update the committee with information on their bids, unfortunately was unable to speak directly to member of the Woodingdean Association Committee in this instance. The CEO officer has since held a meeting with the committee to discuss the bids and ensure that support has been offered for their submission to the voting stage of the process.


The council’s commitment is to respond to incoming requests within 10 working days, the Community Engagement Team officers will continue to make every effort to exceed this timeframe whenever possible. Unfortunately, we cannot commit to reducing this target with the teams current capacity.











Area Panel

Environmental Improvement Budget Update

May 2021

Report Provided by: Justine Harris


1.         Introduction

1.1        The purpose of this report is to give the Area Panels a progress update in relation to the Environmental Improvement Budget (EIB).


2.      Background

.2.2   In January 2019, Housing Committee agreed a proportion of the Housing Revenue Account could be set aside to support improvements to areas on Housing estates. This was following a report that went to Area Panels in November/December 2018.  A sum of £500k per year was agreed for a minimum period of three years. We have just entered year three, 2020/21.

2.3    The budget for the EIB comes from the capital budget- £400k and the revenue budget-£100k

2.4    The purpose of the budget is to ensure that the Council is able to respond with greater speed to reports by tenants, councillors and officers in relation to  improvements we can make on Housing estates.

2.5    Using EIB funding, as of 31/03/21: 96 projects have been completed, 6 projects are in progress and 7 projects are being procured. Further to this 31bids are currently undergoing consultation.

2.5    Consultation is undertaken with residents if a proposal for making an improvement, could be seen to have a negative impact on other residents such as the installation of communal seating, or to consider need, such as installation of play equipment.

2.6    Both the Estate Development Budget (EDB) and the EIB are important when it comes to estate improvement. The EIB enables us to respond quickly as a landlord to make improvements. Whilst the EDB enables residents to come together to submit proposals.


3.           Environmental Improvements to date and in progress


3.1        Bids to the value of £964,747 have been approved since the start of the project with works to the value of £480,357 having been completed. A further £150,000 of work is currently in the later stages of procurement, including the refurbishment of 2 play areas due to be installed in early summer.


3.2        Work undertaken includes:

·        Repair and replacement of play equipment

·        Community improvements through landscape enhancements, signage and replacement of benches

·        Creation of bin stores to improve visual appearance and reduce fly tipping

·        Landscaping including shrub and tree works

·        Improved accessibility by providing raised planters, dropped kerbs, paths, ramps and handrails

·        Clearance of graffiti and painting of external walls

·        New or replacement fencing for security

·        Knee rail fencing to resolve parking issues

·        Security measures including secure bike storage

·        Creation and conservation of community gardens

·         Resurfacing of Housing car parks


Improvements of signage and entrance to community hall (St George’s Community Hall)



Improved bin storage to improve visual appearance of estates and reduce fly tipping (Hampshire Court)



Before and After   ( Faygate Court)


Pathway widened to improve access on link pathway to bus stop ( Downland Court)




Provision of community facilities (Ingram estate)

Project to clean and repaint garages  (Lewes Road - Community Payback Project)



Refurbished play area ( Downland Court)


Clearance of shrubs blocking light ( Barclay House)



Fencing renewal (Ingram Crescent)





Provision of handrails and raised planters ( Nettleton Lodge & Dudeney Court)









Pathway repairs ( Ingram Crescent)









Response from Sam Warren, Community Engagement Manager on:

·        The process for consulting and involving residents.

·        Can funds go into the Estate Development Budget instead of the Environmental Improvement Budget?


There was a resident survey carried out at the beginning on the EIP programme however we are aware that there was a small response to the survey and we aim to do this again in summer 2021. The aim of the survey will be to identify the key priorities for the residents so that the EIP budget can be use to address these issues quickly. Further consultation can then be carried out with residents to look at specific details when projects are being delivered in their areas.  The Environmental Improvement Budget is there to deliver on the strategic issues that residents have identified.


This is different from the EDB process where residents can bid for projects and ideas that they would like to take forward. The funds to EDB and EIP are decided within the budget and approved at Housing committee annually. Therefore any decision to change this would be with the Cllrs.