Housing update

In the end, the Council decision went like this:

The Tories wanted to defer a ballot, but keep the process going (and this would mean starting the process of working out the costs again and hoping that they were right this time).

Labour wanted to stop the process, and not simply keep trying, as it is clear that tenants will not vote in favour. The Lib Dems supported this, and so the policy went through 18-16.

Afterwards, Labour leader Brenda Smith asked for a cross-party group which could really look at the Housing Department and look for areas where it could make savings without affecting service levels or the cost to the tenant. The Tories refused. I suspect that the Lib Dems would have agreed, especially as this mirrors comments made by Marcella Head.

13 Responses to “Housing update”

  1. Skuds Says:

    I don’t understand that either. Why would anyone not want to have the costs of the housing department examined closely?

    The Tories are always talking about saving money through efficiency and have been for years.

    What Marcella said on wednesday sems to indicate some frightening inefficiencies in the housing department and its contractors.

  2. Danivon Says:

    I do hope that the Tories reconsider this, or it’s going to make them look even more silly than they already do.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    They the Tories do not want it looked at as this is an issue that was apparently brought to the attention of the Leader by firstly Marcella Head and then Lenny Walker and he refused to take it further leaving her to follow it up with the Chief Executive. The whole issue is under investigation a confidential report of the findings is due to be discussed at Audit and Governance meeting next week! Maybe this could be just one of the other issues that led to her defection?

  4. Danivon Says:

    Interesting, ‘anonymous’ (I think I have an idea of who you are…)

    If what you say comes out next week, the Tories will be under even more pressure. Could someone call a vote of no confidence?

  5. Gordon Seekings Says:

    Owen – In response to your original posting I did state at the Executive that the Lib Dems would support an all party group to look at the Housing Budget and housing repairs. I spoke before Brenda Smith and from what the both of us said I suspect that we are as one on this subject.

  6. Councillor Marcella Head. Says:

    I’d like to clarify a few details please!
    As has been mentioned at a Full Council meeting over a year ago I was approached by a staff member of C.B.C. with concerns over discrepancies. I within a week brought the concerns to my then Group leader Bob Lanzer. He chose not to take the issue forward and my concerns grew as more issues were brought to my attention over the following weeks. I on my own went to a council officer who advised me to contact the Chief Executive. Within a few days I had an appointment to meet him along with the staff member and another officer involved.
    The issue of discrepancies in Housing repairs was to be ‘looked into’. Shortly after this meeting I was contacted by Lenny Walker the Chair of Audit and Governance and at the next meeting it was decided that a sub committee was to be formed to look at all such issues not just this one.
    For the past 8 months the sub committee has been overseeing the progress of an internal investigation. It would be wrong of me to say what has happened in a meeting that has not yet reported to its main committee, but no one denied that there had been serious problems. Some problems remain, but all agreed that they needed addressing and within a set realistic time scale reporting back to the sub committee to see that it happens!
    I hope this goes some way to explaining the matter.

  7. Danivon Says:

    Blimey! I’m not sure what the problems are that Marcella is talking about here, but there are wider problems which she brought up in other places – such as the ‘programmed’ replacement of kitchens etc having no relation to need.

    This is pretty much the problem with adopting Decent Homes Plus before looking in detail at what the needs are in Crawley. It’s odd that when one survay is done, the percentage of Crawley houses failing standards matches the national average, and when a later one is done, it is very close to the Brighton figure.

    I hope that the investigation gets the time and information that it needs. However, it’s not the only thing that should be looked at.

    Anyway, I find today that my readership is about double what I had thought. Hi Marcella & Gordon.

  8. Gordon Seekings Says:


    Your readership – and other blogs covering Crawley issues – is much larger than you realise. And that means Council Officers and other political parties as well. Just because someone does not post regularly (or at all) does not mean it’s not being read.

    I think references to statements becoming hostages to fortune comes to mind as the reason some people do not actually do a posting….. 🙂

  9. Danivon Says:

    Hmm. Well, I expect that they’ve been sorely disappointed with my lack of activity then (or maybe happy…)

    Yes, well, not only does the internet have a long memory, but so do I, and I can understand why some may not want to say anything foolish. Doesn’t stop me though.

  10. Skuds Says:

    The thing is Gordon… the same people have no qualms about writing letters to the local paper at the drop of a hat! Must be a few hostages to fortune knocking around in their archives.

    Are you saying that some people talk such rubbish they don’t want it to go on record?

  11. Gordon Seekings Says:

    I was thinking more of somebody saying “I am opposd to…” or “I will support….” and then doing the opposite.

    There are many occasions when a reversal of a view is correct ie.changed circumstances, but it then does leave one open to accusations of saying one thing and doing another.

  12. skuds Says:

    Sad really. Its not only changing circumstances that can make you change your mind – how about being persuaded by argument?

    It is one thing I dislike about how politics operates – how everybody is afraid to change their mind. Or maybe it is the sheer arrogance of implying “I am right and no argument you could ever present to me would make me change my mind, because I already know everything in the world that there is to know.”

    Here’s a thought… if council meetings were all recorded would there be less waffle for those very reasons?

    I know what you mean though. If an opponent said or did something now and I knew they had said something totally opposite 5 years ago I would quite happily dig it up – but only because it is so unlikely that they would reply with a simple “I changed my mind” or “I found out I was wrong so I changed my mind”.

    At the moment it is seen as a sign of weakness to admit having ever been wrong about anything ever.

  13. Danivon Says:

    Skuds – you say that now….


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