Richmond Lib Dem Council calls on housing associations: invest in improving existing homes as well as new development

19 Jul 2023
Lib Dem logo bird projected on blockwork

Richmond’s Liberal Democrat Council administration has launched a five-point Richmond Social
Housing Improvement Plan calling on housing associations to address disrepair and invest in
upgrades to existing social housing as a vital counterpart to continuing to work together on new
development of genuinely affordable homes.

During a meeting of the full Council, Deputy Leader Councillor Jim Millard, who is the
administration’s lead member for housing, voiced the Council’s commitment to ensuring the needs of existing social housing residents are met:

“This council believes investing in the homes of existing social housing residents is just as important as creating new social housing. We will now only give Richmond housing grants for new
developments to housing associations who engage with our 5-point Richmond Social Housing
Improvement Plan.”

The Lib Dem Plan sets the following five requirements for social housing providers as a condition of continued development partnership:

1. Investing in existing homes – tackling disrepair, damp and mould
2. Investing in improving repairs services
3. Investing in strong communities – improving communal areas with a zero-tolerance
approach to disrepair, tackling antisocial behaviour
4. Putting residents’ voices at the heart of decision-making
5. Investing in sustainability – retrofitting for environmental performance and tackling fuel

Cllr Millard went on to say, “It’s absolutely vital we invest in creating new genuinely affordable
housing. At the same time it’s also vital that, as they watch these new homes being created,
residents in existing social housing know that they have not been forgotten. The condition of their
homes, the sustainability and affordability of their homes and the resilience and safety of their
communities must be invested in. Their voices must be heard and that’s why we’re calling for
residents to be put at the heart of decision making.”

The Lib Dem council have brought in an unprecedented level of scrutiny for a local authority, with
the four main housing associations in the borough all now reporting to the Adult Social Care, Health and Housing committee annually following a standard report template developed to assist these housing associations on reporting their key performance metrics, service delivery and workstreams, including how they are maintaining their housing stock and their performance against the new Tenant Satisfaction Measures.

Cllr Millard said, “The committee will now add to their ongoing scrutiny their consideration of
housing associations’ performance in relation to the Richmond Social Housing Improvement Plan
and that will inform committee decisions on whether to award development grant for future
projects, assuring residents that Richmond Council grant support for development of new genuinely affordable homes in the borough is directly connected to driving investment in existing homes. Both are absolutely vital for ensuring a brighter future for all the borough’s residents”

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