"CMDH 18 Report general release REVISED"
Cabinet Member Report City of Westminster Cabinet Member: Cabinet Member for Housing Date: 20 March 2006 Classification: General Release Title of Report: Review of Sheltered and Supported Accommodation - Removal expenses for residents of Macintosh House, 54 Beaumont Street W1 Report of: Rosemary Westbrook, Director of Housing Wards involved: Marylebone High Street Policy context: To ensure decent housing conditions and meet the housing needs of vulnerable people. To promote independence of adults and develop a range of integrated services that support choice, quality of life and positive outcomes. The payment of disturbance payments of up to Financial summary: £3,639 per household can be met from within existing budgets Report Author: Steve Moore Contact Details: Telephone 0207 641 3211 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Ron\2006\Jan\Cabinet Member Rpt Template 1. Summary 1.1 The City Council is developing a Housing with Care Strategy for older people. This will set out the City Council’s aspirations for housing with care services for older people and how it will meet the needs of this client group in the future. It is anticipated that this strategy will be completed in spring 2006. 1.2 As part of the detailed work towards this strategy a stock audit of sheltered and supported housing in Westminster has been carried out by noted consultants in this field. This highlighted that Macintosh House was farthest from current standards and they commented that ‘the continued use of Macintosh House is not recommended’ 1.3 In view of this the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services approved a report agreeing to consult existing residents on the possibility of de-commissioning services at this block. That process has now been completed and a parallel report to the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services has been prepared which recommends the decommissioning of the existing service. 1.4 Officers are working closely with the Scheme Manager and residents to make the decanting process as smooth as possible. This has included an offer of financial assistance and a bus tour of alternative older people’s housing. To date 5 tenants have been rehoused and further offers are being arranged to, wherever possible, match the future housing wishes of residents. In addition officers are working with a resident who wants to take this opportunity to move away from London. 1.5 Negotiations have been held with the freeholders Howard De Walden concerning the surrender of the City Council’s 55 year unexpired lease with vacant possession. A further parallel report seeks authority to surrender the lease on this building and sets out the details of these negotiations including the terms of the proposed disposal and by virtue of this is confidential. 2 Recommendations The Cabinet Member for Housing notes the progress being made with decanting the Macintosh House tenants and is asked to authorise the Director of Housing to make payments of expenses of removal to tenants up to a maximum of £3,639 per property. 3. Stock Audit 3.1 In order to progress the recommendations of the Nuffield study CityWest Homes commissioned PRP Architects to undertake a scheme options appraisal on its stock. PRP Architects are a firm with a national reputation in design for older people and are responsible for the design of Penfold Court in NW8. Ron\2006\Jan\Cabinet Member Rpt Template 3.2 It was found that some CWH schemes did not reach standards expected today with poor external and internal access making them very unsuitable for ageing people, particularly those with mobility difficulties or in wheelchairs. Some have shared bathing facilities and these conditions are not ideal. 3.3 Analysis of the PRP study on CWH schemes in conjunction with that of the earlier Nuffield Study has enabled detailed analysis of all schemes. 3 categories were devised: schemes which would meet current standards without much work and/or can be remodelled into extra care housing, schemes which need significant work to meet current standards, and Schemes which will never meet the needs of older people. 3.4 A similar piece of work has recently been commissioned by the City Council on schemes in the RSL sector. This has enabled the City Council to develop a scheme matrix across the stock using the categories outlined above. The matrix relating to CWH schemes is set out at appendix 1 and the RSL scheme matrix is at appendix 2. 4. Macintosh House 4.1 It is clear from the stock audit analysis that Macintosh House is no longer fit for purpose. Macintosh House is in Beaumont Street, W1 just east of Marylebone High Street. The scheme was built in 1963 on land owned by Howard de Walden and let to the City Council on a 99 year lease. The lease includes a covenant restricting the property to provision of homes for the elderly. It comprises 28 bedsits with very small kitchens and with shared bathing facilities. 4.2 Both the Nuffield study and PRP Architects judged Macintosh House as the sheltered scheme which falls furthest from current standards. PRP said “the building does not satisfy current standards” and “significant costly replacement and refurbishment would be required to bring up to standard, which would result in a compromised scheme. The continued use of Macintosh House is not recommended”. 4.3 Officers agree with the findings of PRP architects that Macintosh House cannot be economically improved. The current Decent Homes programme makes no provision for Macintosh House, means of escape in case of fire is unsatisfactory and major repairs such as replacement of windows are needed. Due to its condition it has been very unpopular for many years 4.4 Various alternative options for this building have been looked at including a possible transfer of our lease to a private sector provider of older people’s housing but this did not prove possible due to lack of known demand for this type of scheme in central London. An improvement scheme for general renting was also examined by CityWest Homes. It was also not possible to make this work because of the lease covenant and the uneconomic cost of works. Officers had pressed the Ron\2006\Jan\Cabinet Member Rpt Template freeholder to remove the covenant by they would not agree to do so. Finally an improvement scheme designed to maintain the property for older people’s housing and thereby complying with the lease covenant was worked up. The estimated cost of carrying out the Decent Homes work, remodelling the 28 units to provide 15 self contained units and deal with the inadequate secondary means of escape is estimated to be in excess of £1.5m. This does not represent good value for money considering the loss of units and that the building would have to be handed back in just over 55 years. In view of this the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services is receiving a parallel report which recommends the decommissioning of this block for sheltered housing. 4.5 Negotiations have been held with the freeholders, Howard de Walden concerning the surrender of the 55 year unexpired lease with vacant possession. A further parallel report seeks authority to surrender the lease on this building and sets out the details of the negotiations including the terms of the proposed disposal and by virtue of this is confidential. 4.6 Assuming that this disposal proceeds it is recommended that a request is made to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Support Services to agree to allow the ring fencing of this capital receipt to fund the upgrading of other sheltered accommodation to a higher standard. 5. Decanting of Residents 5.1 Following the decision of the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services officers have been working closely with the scheme manager and residents to determine their future housing needs. 5.2 Not surprisingly some residents have voiced concerns about moving and what they fear is an uncertain future. Officers are working to reduce these concerns and are re-emphasising that wherever possible we will try to match their preferences for rehousing. One area of concern for residents is the cost of moving etc. Section 26 of the Housing Act 1985 gives the City Council the power to pay what are called ‘expenses of the removal’ where, as here, a tenant moves to another property. 5.3 Individual meetings are being held with residents to assist them through the process and car tours for small parties of residents have commenced and are continuing as requested for residents to see alternative accommodation. 5.4 Through this method decanting for residents will take time and it is estimated that this will take over 18 months to complete. To date 5 residents have moved, 2 residents have signed up for moves and are awaiting the properties becoming available. Further offers are pending. One further resident is being assisted with his desire to take this opportunity to move away from London and now has a moving date. Ron\2006\Jan\Cabinet Member Rpt Template 6. Legal Implications 6.1 The tenants at Macintosh House occupy under the terms of the Council’s standard tenancy agreements as secure tenants within the meaning of the Housing Act 1985. The Council intends to transfer each of the tenants to other accommodation by obtaining their consent to surrender their tenancies to the Council who will then sign further tenancies for the new accommodation. Once all the tenants have surrendered their tenancies of Macintosh House the Council intends to itself surrender the lease to freeholders Howard de Walden. 6.2 Section 26 of the Housing Act 1985 provides that: (1) ‘Where a tenant of one of the houses of a local housing authority moves to another house (whether or not that house is also one of theirs), the authority may - (a) pay any expenses of the removal… (4) An authority may make their payment of expenses subject to conditions.’ 6.3 The City Council will assess each tenant’s expenses of removal and make a payment to that tenant equal to such expenses. It is unlikely that they will exceed the maximum of £3,639 per property set out in the recommendation. 6.4 Given the nature of the general vulnerability of the tenants, the City Council does not propose to place conditions other than clearing arrears, such as terms for repayment, on the payment of expenses. 7. Staff Implications There are no staffing implications resulting from this report. The current position of the Scheme Manager is being considered separately by the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services. 8. Financial Implications 8.1 The proposed disturbance payments of up to £3,639 per household can be met from within existing budgets. 9. Reason for Decision 9.1 Officers and independent experts agree that the continued use of Macintosh House is not appropriate or feasible. Payment of appropriate disturbance payments will assist residents with the cost of moving to a new home. Ron\2006\Jan\Cabinet Member Rpt Template IF YOU HAVE ANY QUERIES ABOUT THIS REPORT OR WISH TO INSPECT ANY OF THE BACKGROUND PAPERS, PLEASE CONTACT Steve Moore.on 020 7641 3211; EMAIL ADDRESS email@example.com.; FAX NUMBER 020 7641 1940 BACKGROUND PAPERS The documents used or referred to in compiling the report were: - Nuffield Institute for Health Report December 2001 “Housing with Care for Older People” report to Health & Social Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee, July 10th 2002, Report from PRP Architects on CityWest Homes Sheltered Housing Stock Report from PRP Architects on RSL Sheltered Housing schemes Ron\2006\Jan\Cabinet Member Rpt Template