Pledge for 'high-quality homes and neighbourhoods' in South Tyneside

Council chiefs have pledged to provide “high quality homes and neighbourhoods” for social housing residents in South Tyneside, after the Government updated its charter on the issue.
The meeting took place at South Shields town hallThe meeting took place at South Shields town hall
The meeting took place at South Shields town hall

The Government revealed its social housing white paper in late 2020, setting out the actions it will take to ensure residents are safe, listened to and live in good quality homes.

A presentation was given to the latest meeting of South Tyneside’s Housing Performance Panel, outlining to councillors what this means for the area.

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Anna Milner, council operational manager for housing strategy, said it will mean a greater scrutiny of social housing in the borough, and greater responsibility.

However the council will continue to aim to provide the best homes and neighbourhoods possible.

She said: “It focuses I think the sector a little bit more about what we should be doing and the accountability that landlords will have.

“We want a high quality home and neighbourhood, the neighbourhood is as important as the property itself.

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“We don’t want to be spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on properties if actually we’ve got a high crime rate, we’ve got anti-social behaviour, if people aren’t safe in their own home.”

She added as part of this it is important residents know how to lodge any complaints, and they feel comfortable doing this, although the council has “never had an issue with complaints in general”.

The presentation noted the council wants to ensure a “culture change whereby landlords are more open with residents, beyond the information provided through tenant satisfaction measures.”

Rachel Taylor, from South Tyneside Homes, who help manage and maintain the local authority’s council homes and estates, said for them the charter will also mean increased scrutiny.

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She added it will also ensure they further develop tenant engagement and give residents the confidence to get in touch with any issues.

Cllr Wilf Flynn, who sits on the housing panel, added overall the local authority is doing a “good job” with its social housing.

He said: “I think we’re doing a good job, we could do better, but by god we’re nowhere near the worst.”

Officers added they had been waiting a “long time” for the white paper before it came in November 2020, and it will give tenants “more power” and give landlords more responsibility in terms of accountability.

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