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FERMANAGH

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									 FERMANAGH                               COMHAIRLE
 DISTRICT COUNCIL                        CHEANTAIR FHEAR
                                         MANACH

 DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE                   COISTE FORBARTHA


 Minutes of the meeting of the Liaison Sub Committee (Housing)
 held in the Council Chamber, Townhall, Enniskillen on Monday,
 27 June 2011 at 7.30pm.

 PRESENT:               Councillors Ruth Lynch (Chairman),
                        Harold Andrews, Alex Baird, Rosemary
                        Barton, Alison Brimstone, Cyril Brownlee,
                        Debbie Coyle, Barry Doherty, Raymond
                        Farrell, Phil Flanagan, Brendan Gallagher,
                        Basil Johnston, Bert Johnston, John O’Kane
                        and Paul Robinson.

 ALSO PRESENT:          Ms Lorraine Campbell, South Area Manager,
                        Michael Callaghan, District Manager, Chris
                        Cunningham, Principal Officer, Area Planner
                        and PJ Mulrine, Grants Manager, Northern
                        Ireland Housing Executive.

 APOLOGIES:             Councillors Sheamus Greene and
                        Brian McCaffrey.

 IN ATTENDANCE:         Director of Environmental Health and
                        Committee Clerk.


D101/11   FERMANAGH DISTRICT COUNCIL HOUSING PLAN –
          2011-2012

          The Chairman welcomed Ms Campbell, Area Manager,
          NIHE, to the meeting and introduced the team to the
          Committee.

          Ms Campbell focused the Committee’s attention on section
          three of the District Housing Plan which presented the
          local housing strategy for the Fermanagh District Council
          area. She indicated that in the last financial year, the
          level of investment in the area was £10.4m, details of
          which were outlined to the Committee.
                         2


Turning to the current financial year, Ms Campbell
informed the Committee that the projected investment
within Fermanagh was £6.035m.

The projected spend allocation was as follows:

Capital Improvement Work                     £0.342m
Planned Maintenance Work                     £0.571m
Response Maintenance                         £1.224m
Private Sector Grants                        £2.604m
Supporting People                            £1.294m

Ms Campbell indicated that the key elements of the
Executive’s investment strategy in the Fermanagh District
Council area were as follows:

Delivering Decent Homes

The Committee was informed that despite the continuation
of improvements to housing conditions, the level of
unfitness in Fermanagh/Omagh was 6.6%, compared to
the regional average of 2.4%. The percentage number of
dwellings in the area which failed the Decent Homes
Standard was 16.4%, compared to the NI figure of 15.1%.

Referring to Fuel Poverty, Ms Campbell indicated that in
2009, the percentage of households in fuel poverty in
Fermanagh/Omagh was 42.8%, with a NI average of
43.7%. The Committee was informed that the NIHE, in
addition to the installation of more energy efficient heating
systems, were investigating a proposal to assist tenants to
buy fuel at the most cost effective price. They also
proposed to implement a review of their heating policy.

Turning to the Private Sector, Ms Campbell indicated that
Fuel Poverty had been addressed through the Warm
Homes Scheme which helped the most vulnerable
households to improve the energy efficiency of their
homes and helped to alleviate fuel poverty. In March
2011, 411 homes were insulated, 28 received heating
installations and 38 benefited from both insulation and
heating installation.

In relation to the programme of work to achieve Decent
Home Standards in NIHE stock, Ms Campbell informed the
Committee that in 2010/2011, 124 dwellings had been
included in kitchen replacement schemes with external
                         3


cyclical maintenance carried out on 312 properties in
Enniskillen and Belleek. Energy efficient heating systems
had been installed in 85 dwellings in Enniskillen and
Lisnaskea which included the upgrading of insulation and
provision of smoke alarms. It was proposed to install
smoke alarms to a further 177 properties across the
District. A scheme for the replacement of external
cladding, re-roofing and installation of double glazed
windows was nearing completion at Windmill Road and
Elliot Place, Enniskillen. It was further proposed to replace
kitchens in 96 dwellings and replace heating systems in 45
dwellings across the District during this financial year.

Ms Campbell informed the Committee that funding had
been secured for kitchen improvements to 39 dwellings
and external cyclical maintenance for 116 dwellings.
Should additional funding become available a further 108
dwellings would be included in a reserve kitchen
replacement scheme.

Referring to the private sector, Ms Campbell indicated that
the provision of grants to landlords and owner occupiers
had been an effective tool in addressing housing conditions
in the private sector.

Promoting Independent Living

Ms Campbell informed the Committee that the ‘promoting
independent living’ initiative was aimed at providing
assistance to the most vulnerable. It was intended to
invest £1.3m in 2011/2012 through the Supporting People
Programme. The Committee was informed that there were
19 supported housing accommodation based schemes in
this Council area along with seven floating support
schemes. The Committee was informed that Fermanagh
was unique in that the District Office staff provided a
floating support service, in conjunction with the Fold
Housing Association’s Castle Erne facility.

In relation to homelessness, the Committee was informed
that 159 cases were accepted as homeless in 2010/2011,
50% of these cases were single people. Ms Campbell
indicated 115 cases had been placed in temporary
accommodation.

Turning to adaptations, the Committee was informed that
in 2011/2012, £244k had been invested in NIHE
                         4


properties, along with disabled facilities grants to a value
of £790k. Ms Campbell informed the Committee the NIHE
intended to approve a further 120 disabled facilities grants
for private households in 2011/2012.

Fostering Urban and Rural Regeneration

Ms Campbell informed the Committee that Fermanagh
District Council was ranked 5th least deprived council area
in Northern Ireland with unemployment at 5%, in line with
the Northern Ireland average. She indicated that there
had been an increase to 81.5% in relation to Housing
Executive tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit.

Ms Campbell indicated that the NIHE had delivered a range
of projects through the Neighbourhood Renewal
Partnerships which included the provision of
additional/improved car parking, street paving and
environmental improvements. It was also proposed to
provide estate markers at a number of locations and the
extension and renovation of Kilmacormick Resource
Centre, Enniskillen.

Turning to rural regeneration, Ms Campbell informed the
Committee that a latent demand test had resulted in the
provision of a five unit scheme at Adrian Heights, Donagh.
She indicated that there were 22 empty properties across
the District, however, the NIHE continued to progress the
long term empty property reinstatement programme.

Promoting Affordable Housing

Ms Campbell indicated that the NIHE worked closely with
housing associations to ensure the delivery of the Social
Housing Development Programmes. In 2010/2011, 33
schemes had been completed, 86 schemes were on site at
31 March 2011 with 24 new build schemes programmed
for 2011/2012, a breakdown by settlement was outlined in
the District Housing Plan.

The Committee was informed that in 2010 the average
house price in Fermanagh had dropped by 40.9% to
£131,167, which was considerably lower than the NI
average of £156,746. However, despite this drop, there
remained serious difficulties in obtaining mortgages.
                          5


Referring to the demand for Social Housing, Ms Campbell
indicated that there had been 813 applicants on the
waiting list in 2010, this was the lowest since 2006. She
informed the Committee that there had been 186
allocations, however, the five year housing need estimate
indicated a requirement for an extra 259 dwellings. The
Committee was informed that 2010/2011 saw the delivery
or commencement of a total of 119 units. The Programme
for the current financial year included two schemes with a
total of 24 new builds.

Ms Campbell indicated that the NIHE continued to promote
the private rented sector as a decent and affordable
housing option and worked with the DSD to develop a rent
guarantee scheme to make this a more realistic option for
those unable to afford deposits and advance rents.

Building a Stronger Community

Ms Campbell indicated that anti social behaviour was the
main concern of the community. She indicated that the
NIHE had increased the profile of the Neighbourhood
Officers and encouraged tenants to come forward if they
had suffered from anti social behaviour. In the previous
year 233 cases of anti social behaviour had been reported,
most of which had been settled without recourse to legal
action, three cases had been referred for mediation and
nine properties had been repossessed.

Building Better Public Services

The Committee was informed that the NIHE customer
outlets, district offices, service units and grants offices had
now achieved customer excellence accreditation.

Ms Campbell indicated that the NIHE had processed new
claims for housing benefit within an average of 17.4 days
and change of claimants circumstances were now
processed in an average of 2.8 days. Relet turnaround
time at 17 days was considerably lower than the 26 day
target.

Ms Campbell concluded her presentation by thanking the
Council for its co-operation and support.

Members raised various questions and concerns which
were answered by representatives of the NIHE.
                                  6




          Councillors expressed their gratitude to members of the
          NIHE for the service they provided.

          The Chairman thanked the representatives from the
          Northern Ireland Housing Executive for their presentation
          and they left the meeting.


RISING:   The Committee rose at 8.55pm.

          All Members named were present at the commencement of
          the meeting.

          All those named remained present for the duration of the
          meeting except Councillor Harold Andrews who left at
          8.00pm, Councillors Bert Johnston and Paul Robinson who
          left at 8.15pm and Councillors Alex Baird and Rosemary
          Barton who left at 8.30pm.

								
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