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April 2013 The magazine for tenants and leaseholders brought to you by Hammersmith & Fulham Council

New centre points to a healthier future for White City T he final batch of concrete has been poured in a £30million development which heralds a brighter, healthier future for people in the north of Hammersmith & Fulham. The Wormholt and White City Collaborative Care Centre in Bloemfontein Road will become a vital new hub, with GPs and community health teams working alongside social services to offer connected local care when it opens in 2014.

And in a major boost for local housing prospects, all 170 new homes being built above the centre will now be affordable, offering more local people the opportunity to buy a home for the first time through shared ownership or discount market sale. Further benefits will include 24 flats that are accessible to wheelchair users, a new supermarket and pharmacy, and a new entrance through the building to Wormholt Park,

Vital new h u to open in 2 b with afford 014 a homes and ble local regeneratio n

which will itself be improved with new sports facilities. Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council leader, said: “The construction of this new building represents a significant step towards our shared vision of a brighter future for people in the north of our borough. The collaborative care centre will address the health and

INSIDE ■ RIGHT TO BUY BONANZA! Discount £100,000 in London.

SEE PAGE 3 ■ Housing services andd repairs set for radical overhaul.

SEE PAGE 6 ■ Our promise to you. New commitment to residents unveiled.

Story continues on page 2

SEE PAGES 12-13 ■ Ripping up the social housing rule book! New housing policy goes live.

SEE PAGE 4 Dr Tim Spicer, chair of H&F clinical commissioning group (left) and Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council leader, at the topping out ceremony

HAVE YOUR SAY!

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WELCOME YOUR HOME MAGAZINE by Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F cabinet member for housing

Exciting changes coming your way Dear residents,

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elcome to the first edition of Your Home Magazine this year. It has been a very busy few months from a housing perspective here best summed-up by one word – Change. A number of exciting changes have come into affect that aim to radically improve the service that our 17,000 tenants and leaseholders receive and ensure that only those in real housing need are able to gain access to a council home. Perhaps the biggest change that you will notice is that we have recently chosen to outsource housing management in the south of the borough for the first time and caretaking and cleaning, across the entire borough to Pinnacle Housing Ltd. It is now more than two years since we abolished the inefficient Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO), H&F Homes. Since

Continued from front page wellbeing needs of the local population, making sure the best facilities and the most appropriate levels of care are available in one place, for this and future generations. “Raising the proportion of affordable housing from 40% to 100% – the result of discussions between the council and Notting Hill Housing Group Trust – is unprecedented, and represents our commitment to enabling more local people to buy a home. “Finally, the new entrance to Wormholt Park will reunite local people with an important public space that has for many years been out of view to those living on the White City estate.” Dr Tim Spicer, chair of

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then we have been busy scrutinising how performed as well as we would have liked we can improve the services we provide, to when it comes to repairs. By working with ensuring that you receive value for money MITIE, I believe that is all about to change. from us and working towards reducing That is because, we have drawn up the the council’s £217m housing debt. A debt contract with MITIE to ensure that they are which costs £12m a year just to service. financially incentivised to get the job done By bringing Pinnacle on board and right first time. harnessing the expertise of the private Away from housing services, we have also sector, we believe that we will be able changed the way that we allocate improve standards and save ve at least social housing hou by introducing fixed £1m a year. term social so housing tenancies and We have also changed changing chan the criteria to get the way that we carry out onto on the housing register in repairs and maintenance the th first place. But do not We have be by bringing MITIE worry, w these changes do Property Services on not affect existing tenants busy scrutin en board to provide and a as long as you abide by how we can ising improve the a borough-wide t terms of your tenancy the services service. agreement, a the council will we provide When I speak continue to house you. co to residents and ask TThese changes aim to ensure them what matters most, that lo local people who work or repairs comes out on top make a ccommunity contribution are time and again. We have ve listened prioritised for housing ho and that those who and learnt from the mistakes of the old are housed by the council have the incentive ALMO contract and appointed a totally to move into low-cost-home-ownership. new contractor. Finally, the Government has once One of our most important targets is again changed the maximum Right to to get repairs right first time, because Buy discount, increasing it for homes on when we can fix your problem London to £100,000. in one visit it saves you This is likely to make a difference to time and hassle and many of or tenants who have found that a makes the service £75,000 discount still meant that the dream more cost effective. of owning their own home was slightly out I realise that we of their grasp. If you are keen, contact our have not always Home Buy team, their details are on page 3.

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H&F clinical commissioning group, said: “The White City Collaborative Care Centre is the fruit of collaboration between local organisations and local people and has been designed

to deliver a wide range of health and social care services.” Services will include GP practices, community health – such as the diabetes, child development and community

The new Collaborative Care Centre will also have 170 affordable homes built above it

dental services. There will also be a focus on helping local people stay healthy. Dr Spicer added: “We want local people to be able to walk in off the street and see a health and social care professional at the same time. It is a model of care that is integral to our out of hospital strategy and this building provides the blueprint for how we want services to be developed across the borough.” The scheme is being delivered through a joint venture between Building Better Health West London and Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Clinical Commissioning Group and Primary Care Trust, Notting Hill housing Group in partnership with Galliford Try Partnerships and H&F Council.

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H&F’s Maylene Cave talks to residents at a recent Right to Buy roadshow

Right to Buy revolution I

ncreasing the Right to Buy discount in London to £100,000 could ‘unleash a new generation of home-ownership in the capital,’ according to Hammersmith & Fulham Council. The announcement, made in the recent Budget will see more social tenants given the opportunity to buy their own home, with the qualifying period reduced, from five years to three years and the maximum discount increased from £75,000 to £100,000. Since the £75,000 discount came

into effect last year, six right-to-buy sales have been completed in Hammersmith & Fulham, with a further 37 awaiting completion. However, with the cost of housing so much greater in London than other parts of the country, H&F Council has long argued that the capital should be treated as a special case for Right to Buy, with the discount raised to £100,000. Cllr Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing said: “This borough has the fourth most expensive housing in the country and like the rest of the capital,

Great social news for as Rig tenants discou ht to Buy nt to £10 is raised 0,000 needs to be ently treated differently for Right to Buy uy to succeed succeed. A £100 £100,000 000 discount could make the difference to thousands of decent, hard-working Londoners who could not otherwise even dream of owning a home. “I am delighted the Chancellor has grabbed the Right to Buy bull by the horns and unleashed a new generation of home-ownership in the capital.” For right-to-buy advice in H&F, please email h&fhome-buy@lbhf.gov.uk or telephone 020 8753 6464.

Your top ten tips for power cut safety

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here have been several power cuts recently and H&F Council wants to make sure that all of its tenants, leaseholders and particularly sheltered housing tenants know what to do in the event of another incident. UK Power Networks, the company responsible for electricity supply estimate

that it will take a minimum of four hours to fix a power cut, so follow our top tips for keeping safe if the power goes off.

6 Keep warm! – this is particularly important to residents who are vulnerable to the cold e.g. those in sheltered housing.

If the power fails…

7 Make sure your neighbours are safe especially if they are vulnerable, elderly or require medical attention.

1 Stay in your home where it is safer for you and your household. Make some arrangements with friends or family to help you out in an emergency. 2

Always make sure you have a torch in your home. Do not use candles or naked flames if the power goes off

Do not open the door to strangers. All council employees and contractors will always carry an ID card. Request to view it before granting them access.

8 Do not open your fridge or freezer doors unless you have to. 9 Remember to switch off all electrical appliances e.g. cookers and electric fires. 10

Report suspicious activity to the police.

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Who to contact

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In the event of a power cut call UK Power Networks on 0800 028 0247. Alternatively you can contact the council on 0800 13 13 423.

Leave at least one light switched on so you will know when power is restored. Make sure you have a torch in your home – with working batteries. 5

Do not use candles or naked flames.

To share stories about your estate or neighbourhood – email press.office@lbhf.gov.uk

Your Home Magazine | 3


New housing policy prioritises local people for social housing L

ifetime social housing tenancies for new applicants are now a thing of the past in Hammersmith & Fulham. And the council is now giving greater priority to working households who have a local connection to the borough when allocating housing. At the same time, households

earning above £40,200 are now unable to access the council’s housing register and will instead be directed towards low-cost homeownership options. These radical policies aim to increase low-cost home-ownership, tackle the social and economic divide in the borough and give a far greater priority for council housing

to those people who are making a community contribution. H&F Council has a strong track record of protecting local, vulnerable adults, such as people with dependency issues and victims of domestic violence. The council is committed to further developing a strategic approach to meet the housing needs of these residents.

al Putting loc people first

now giving is il c n u o c e Th to sing priority greater hou eholds who us working ho n l connectio have a loca ugh to the boro

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Social housing in H&F – the facts H&F, has the fourth highest property prices in the UK and one of the highest proportions of social housing in London as a proportion of total housing, with around 31% social rented. That compares to a London average of 25% and a West London average of 21.5%. Just over 2% of the borough’s housing is intermediate. 51% of housing in Wormholt and White City ward is social housing.

Low cost home ownership in H&F H&F is also one of the first councils in the country to get back into building homes, after a 30 year absence. These properties are sold at a discounted market rate to those on low to middle incomes who live or work in the borough and might struggle otherwise to get onto the property ladder. The council is looking to build 500 such properties over the next 10 years.

We want a broad mix of households living side-by-side Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F cabinet member for housing said: “We are leading the way in ushering in a new era for social housing in this country. We are saying that the current system, whereby anyone can apply for a council home irrespective of housing need, has failed. “The notion of a tenancy for life is outdated and it’s wrong to expect to inherit a welfare

benefit in the form of a subsidised house irrespective of housing need. “Instead, we want to give honest, hard-working, local residents on low to middle incomes, who make a positive contribution to their local communities, the opportunity to access social housing. “The old, antiquated system has created disadvantaged communities by producing concentrations of people on benefits with disproportionately high levels of unemployment and sometimes social breakdown. “In its place, we want to create neighbourhoods where a broad mix of social households all live side-by-side.”

The council currently has a Home Buy register of 5,000 local people looking for low-cost homes in the borough. Contact H&F Home Buy on 020 8753 6464 or register at www.lbhf.gov.uk/homebuy

the opportunity to review whether the rationale for granting the tenancy in the first place is still there and also encourages good behaviour and greater contributions to community life and the local economy.

Fixed term tenancies are now live!

Just launched! A new way of allocating housing

The old system: This saw most social housing tenants having the right to stay in their subsidised home for life unless the tenancy was brought to an end because of a breach. Once the tenant passed away, the right of succession was passed onto a ed family member even if the housing need of the individual was less than an other potential applicants.

The old system: This saw anyone from any part of the country, and indeed overseas, able to apply to go onto the register, which stood at 10,300. There was no salary limit for new applicants nor of the level of their personal savings.

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W What is wrong with this? TThis aantiquated and inefficient meth method created false hopes and expectations. With 94% of exp What is wrong with this? p people on the old register on The cu The council believes that tthe lowest priority bands, has fail rrent system ed. H& this system did not promote tthe chance of ever getting F Coun are lea cil ssocial housing was very d personal aspiration or usherin ing the way in provide tenants with any ssmall. In fact, one person g for soc in a new era incentive to try to move into was been on the waiting w ial hou this cou sing in home-ownership and failed list in Hammersmith & lis ntry to take into account the fact Fulham for 36 years. Ful that a household’s need for social Resources are so stretched Re housing may only be temporary. rary. that last ye year only 470 new lettings were made. The year before, a total of The new system: Since February, the 131,000 bids were received for social council has ended the notion of a council housing and on average each three house for life by introducing five year bedroom property attracted 157 bids. fixed-term tenancies, with two years for those aged 18-25. Secure tenancies are The new system from April: From this still available for the most vulnerable month, the council is prioritising local, residents. The council has also ended working residents, members of the armed the notion of an inherited welfare benefit forces and those who make a community by preventing the children of tenants contribution for social housing lettings. inheriting their council property. The council will also only consider Existing tenants are unaffected granting tenancies for those with a five-year by these changes. New tenancies in local connection to the borough that are sheltered accommodation and for those in clear housing need. Those who do not with special housing or health needs are qualify will still be given a package of advice still granted on a secure basis. and assistance about their housing options. Two year tenancies are now issued for Households earning above £40,200 those with a history of anti-social behaviour will generally not be eligible to access and for those between the ages of 18 to 25. the housing register. Instead, they will be The new system gives the council offered advice on other housing options.

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Your Home Magazine | 5


£200m deal to improve your housing services M

ajor plans to improve housing services in Hammersmith & Fulham have been revealed after the council announced its intention to award three contracts worth more than £200million. In a wide-ranging revamp of council housing management, H&F Council is set to outsource housing management in the south of the borough for the first time and estate services, comprising caretaking and cleaning, across the entire borough to Pinnacle Housing Ltd. The council also intends to award a new repairs and maintenance contract to MITIE Property Services. By awarding contracts to MITIE Property Services and Pinnacle Housing Ltd the council says it will be driving up standards and saving tens of millions of pounds and in the process.

Better property maintenance The housing repairs and maintenance contract with MITIE will cover reactive repairs and some planned preventative maintenance. Residents should notice a far more efficient service, while the council will save £20million over the ten years life of the contract (representing an annual saving of more than 10%). Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F cabinet member for housing, said: “This is the next crucial step on our journey to providing our tenants and leaseholders with the best housing service that we can possibly provide. The savings that we will make, if these contracts are awarded, will help pay off our £200million of housing debt, improve our existing stock and ensure that our rents remain competitive.” The council has spoken to numerous tenants about the repairs service that they receive and generally the feedback has shown a poor diagnosis of the fault, poor communication on what repairs are ordered and missed appointments Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F cabinet member for housing, is looking forward to a far more efficient service for residents: “It is now nearly two years since we abolished the Arms Length Management Organisation, H&F Homes, saving millions in the process. “During that time we have made giant strides to drive up standards

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The new will be in contractor to get re centivised p the first airs right leading to wasted visits, by Pinnacle Housing Ltd. deliver time and a custom resident dissatisfaction and These two contracts er focused extra costs. Residents have will provide the council service also said that in some cases with a saving of more than numerous follow up calls are £10million over ten years needed to get the repair completed. (more than 20% of the current By teaming up with MITIE these budget). The housing management problems will be dramatically reduced, contract will see Pinnacle deliver tenancy according to the council. MITIE will be management and enforcement of financially incentivised to get the job done tenancy conditions, property viewing right first time and deliver a customer and dealing with anti-social behaviour focused service which takes account of where there is a breach of tenancy resident’s availability. A new arrangement conditions. This contract covers the will see all properties inspected annually. south of the borough only, with the The contract – which is due to begin north remaining in-house. The estate this November – will also see MITIE operate services contract will see Pinnacle the 24/7 repairs contact centre and be provide caretaking and cleaning services responsible for technical assessment across the entire borough. of defects. Pinnacle already work with Westminster City Council’s housing More efficient management management arm, City West Homes, Housing management and estates services and have a track record of providing excellent services at a low cost. are currently provided by the council These contracts will see standards in-house. However, it is proposed that from significantly raised, with Pinnacle held July this year housing management in the to account against a comprehensive south of the borough and estate services range of targets that have been set in across the entire borough will be provided agreement with the Local Residents Panel. For example, the council expects and get rid of unnecessary waste. to see an 11% improvement in the way “By outsourcing major contacts that complaints are handled. to Pinnacle and MITIE we will harness the experience and expertise of the Consulting with residents private sector to raise standards The three contracts have been agreed even further. for an initial ten year period, with “I am delighted to welcome an option to extend them all for an on board two hugely respected additional five years. The council will companies who share this council’s carry out a consultation with tenants and vision, drive and ambition.” leaseholders before the new contractual arrangements are confirmed.

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Homes under the hammer boost borough’s funds E

ight dilapidated council properties have been sold at auction for more than £4m – and the proceeds will be ploughed into other housing schemes across the borough. Each of the homes are in a poor state of repair and it would not have made financial sense for the council to carry out the improvements required to enable them to be re-let. The money received from the sales of these ‘expensive voids’ is used to part fund the council’s capital works programme to its existing stock of 14,000 homes, which for the coming year is more than £37million. It is also spent on new low-cost-homeownership schemes, such as those delivered by the council’s brand new housing company.

Some of the funds will be spent to pay down the council’s £217million of housing debt which is currently costing the council around £12m a year just in interest payments. Hammersmith & Fulham has some of the highest proportions of social housing in London. 31 per cent of housing in the borough is social rented, compared to a London average of 25 per cent and a West London average of 21.5 per cent.

Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F cabinet member for housing, said: “By putting these dilapidated homes under the hammer we have received far greater than their market worth. This is a fantastic deal for our existing tenants as the proceeds can be spent improving our existing stock meaning that we do not need to increase our rents disproportionately. “This borough has the fourth highest house prices in the UK, with first time buyers requiring a deposit in excess of £50,000 to buy a house. “The council is committed to redressing the balance and the proceeds of this sale will also help us to build more of our own homes for local people who are looking to fulfil their housing dreams.”

Sleepless nights as flights diverted

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esidents living under one of the main Heathrow flight paths are set for more sleepless nights after airport bosses announced that they will be resurfacing a two-mile long runway – for the next eight months. Due to works on the southern runway, all night flights will be landing on the northern runway – with their flight paths bringing them in directly over Fulham. This means that instead of the current night flight alternation patterns, where Heathrow tries to land night time arrivals on one runway one week and the other runway the next week, many residents will now get almost no let-up from the noise at night. There are currently an average of 16 flights nightly between 11.30pm and 6am, and more coming in from 6am to 7am, interrupting residents’ sleep and affecting their quality of life. Heathrow Airport Ltd said for five nights a week, from Sunday evening to Friday morning, all arrivals will use the northern runway between 10.30pm and 6am. For two nights a

week, from Friday evening to Sunday morning, runway alternation will operate as normal: southern runway one week, northern the next week. Daytime flights are not affected. Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, H&F Council cabinet member for transport and technical services, said: “Long suffering Fulham residents deserve to be able to sleep peacefully in bed at night without waiting for the next jumbo jet to roar overhead. Heathrow Airport should treat residents with more respect and complete this maintenance work in a far shorter period of time. ” The news is a double whammy for Fulham residents who saw an increase in noise last year as a result of the airport’s ‘Operational Freedoms’ trial, which allowed runways to be used simultaneously under certain circumstances. The changes, which came into place last March are are expected to last until October 31. Find out more at www.heathrow.com/noise. You can also call 0800 344844 or email noise_complaints@heathrow.com

To share stories about your estate or neighbourhood – email press.office@lbhf.gov.uk

ASB O L Local l public bli nuisance gets zero tolerance

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thug with a highly unusual habit of lying down in the middle of busy roads has been slapped with an ASBO. Paul Desmond Start has plagued residents of Hammersmith & Fulham with his disgraceful behaviour for several years. The hooligan has already been evicted from his council home on the West Kensington Estate following numerous incidents of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour. He also has a conviction for assault at Charing Cross Hospital in April 2012. Start, in his early 50s, was given his ASBO (Anti-social Behaviour Order) at Central London Magistrates Court on Thursday, February 1. The ASBO was granted following close working between H&F Council and the police. The ASBO prevents him from being drunk or consuming alcohol in any public place and sitting or lying in the middle of any road in the country. Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council deputy leader, said: “This kind of behaviour will simply not be tolerated in Hammersmith & Fulham. The council has a zero tolerance policy towards anti-social conduct and we will continue to come down hard on those who show little or no respect for the law.” Police Sergeant Andy Wood said: “This proves that the police will take all necessary steps to protect and reassure the community.”

Your Home Magazine | 7


Rents stay competitively low for London living T

he council’s social housing rents are to remain some of the lowest in inner London, and up to 89 per cent below market rates. The council is increasing social rents by an average of 5.42 per cent this month. This equates to an average increase of £5.03 to £97.76 per week, less than is currently charged in many other boroughs, including Wandsworth, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Camden. Despite the huge increases in the cost of energy, the council is also proposing to reduce its communal heating charges by 5%. H&F is one of the highest cost housing boroughs in the country and despite the rises the level of council rent is only a fraction of the level of that in the private rented sector. For example, the weekly rent for a council one bed flat is now £87.19, only

26 per cent of the average private rent for a similar property in the borough of £335.31. Similarly, the weekly rent for a three bed house is £128.45, only 17 per cent of the average private rent for a three bed flat in H&F of £770.08. Most starkly, the weekly rent due on a five bedroom house is now £149.51 – just 11 per cent of the private sector equivalent. The majority of the most vulnerable residents in the borough will not notice any change to their finances as this increase will be covered by housing benefit. These modest increases come despite the fact that the Government has recently reformed how council housing

in England is financed. Instead of relying on the Government to cover any shortfall between expenditure and income, the council’s housing department is now self-financing, having to balance its own books through rent collection and other methods in order to keep the stock in good condition. In addition, the council is now also starting to pay off more than £217million of housing debt, much of which was borrowed to improve homes as part of the Decent Homes Programme. This is currently costing the council around £12m a year just in interest payments. Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F cabinet member for housing, said: “The fact that

Rent on a five bedroom house is to be set at just 11% of the private sector equivalent.

Helpin g you hang o nto hardearne your H&F s d ocial r cash – e to rem nts ar the lo ain some o e west i f n inne Londo r n

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we have once again kept rent increases to a minimum is testament to our common sense approach and sound financial management. “We have recently abolished the inefficient arms length management organisation, H&F Homes, and replaced it with a single lean housing department. We are also selling off dilapidated properties that are too expensive to bring back into use. “If it’s a case of rents rocketing or selling an increasing number of expensive empty properties in a poor state of repair to pay our historic debt and invest in improvement works, it’s the latter every time.

“Those lucky enough to have a social housing tenancy in Hammersmith & Fulham are receiving a heavily subsidised home in a much sought-after part of the capital for a mere fraction of what it costs to live in the private sector.” While the council will be continuing its efficiency drive over the next year, it will still be making significant investments in its housing stock, including spending over £37million on the capital works programme on things like new lifts, painting and decorating, controlled access and making our stock more energy efficient.

Rent for a council 1 bed flat will be 26% of the average private rent for a similar property in H&F.

So how does H&F compare? Our table compares average council housing rents and private sector rents in the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham: Property size

Average private sector rent per week

2012-13 H&F rent per week

2013-14 H&F proposed rent per week

2013-14 rent as a % of current average private sector rent

Studio flats

£245.00

£71.41

£75.22

30%

1 bed flats

£335.31

£82.77

£87.19

26%

2 bed flats

£467.08

£90.56

£95.40

20%

1 bed houses

£303.23

£98.66

£103.93

34%

2 bed houses

£525.23

£109.24

£115.07

22%

3 bed houses

£770.08

£121.94

£128.45

17%

4 bed houses

£934.62

£131.78

£140.82

15%

5 bed houses

£1,355.31

£140.15

£149.51

11%

Here’s how Hammersmith & Fulham compares with other boroughs for average weekly council rent in inner-London: Hammersmith & Fulham 2012-13

£92.73

Hammersmith & Fulham 2013-14

£97.76

Kensington and Chelsea 2012-13

£106.42

Westminster 2012-13

£111.44

Wandsworth 2012-13

£120.27

Camden 2012-13

£99.29

Islington 2012-13

£100.00

Note: Rent increases for other boroughs not yet known.

To share stories about your estate or neighbourhood – email press.office@lbhf.gov.uk

Council welcomes national move for downsizing

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educing the taxpayer subsidy for social housing tenants who are living in homes too large for their needs has been described as ‘morally right’ by Hammersmith & Fulham Council. The council argues that the national onal policy, which has now come into to effect, is a We sim ply ha crucial step to v housi reduce the e towards ng be w n efits b hich h reducing a i the country’s taxpa rd-workingll y e r s £23billion-aout fo fork r year housing benefit bill, while helping g to ease the shortage rtage of family-sized homes for people who really need them. Under new Government regulations, working age social housing tenants assessed as having one extra bedroom in their home will see their housing benefit reduced by 14%. Those with two or more spare bedrooms will receive 25% less. H&F Council has some of the cheapest social rents in inner-London. Around three quarters of its tenants do not pay the amount in full as they are entitled to housing benefit. Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F cabinet member for housing, said: “At a time when the nation is broke, it is completely unfair for social housing tenants to receive a large taxpayer subsidy to live in oversized homes while hard-working residents renting in the private sector, or paying a hefty mortgage, pay through the nose and can only dream of affording a spare room. “We simply have to reduce the housing benefits bill which hardworking taxpayers fork out for. “ However, the council insists that the new Government rules need to be applied fairly and has set up a housing payment scheme for exceptional cases. For example, if a spare room has been turned into a sensory room for a disabled child. The council is encouraging people who live in social housing that is too big for their needs to downsize so it can be freed up for families who really need the space. If you are interested in downsizing contact the housing occupancy team 020 8753 4829 or 020 8753 5398.

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Your Home Magazine | 9


International cycling is back in town

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● The streets of Hammersmith &

Fulham will play host to one of the largest charity fundraising cycle rides in the world this summer. More than 20,000 0,000 amateur cyclists ists are set to ridee The their bikes advisi council is through the only t ng residen borough o t on Au use their c s on Sunday, ar gust 4 August 4 as absolu if tely vi it is part of the tal RideLondonnSurrey 100. The charitytyraising amateur race is followed by a professional race, called the RideLondon-Surrey Classic, with 150 of the world’s best riders. The amateur race will set off from the Olympic Park from 6am before travelling through central London. The professional race will start from the same location from 12.30pm. The cyclists will ride along the A4 and over Chiswick Bridge into Hounslow, Richmond upon Thames, and Kingston upon Thames. They then head into Surrey and return via Putney Bridge and New Kings Road, to finish on The Mall. H&F Council is warning that the races will lead to significant transport disruption across the borough. Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, H&F cabinet member for transport and technical services, said: “This will be another hugely exciting event, with H&F thrust into the centre of the sporting universe once again. However, the council is advising residents only to use their car on August 4 if it is absolutely vital. “If you are planning to fly from Heathrow or to hold a family celebration, it is worth bearing in mind that travelling in the borough will be greatly restricted.” For further information, contact the race organisers on 020 7902 0212 or email helpdesk@ridelondon.co.uk

10 | Your Home Magazine

Local police to get low-cost home priority H

ammersmith & Fulham Council is to become the first local authority in the country to prioritise serving police officers for low-cost home ownership opportunities in the borough. The council believes it is crucial for police officers to live in the community that they serve and is offering them a helping hand to fulfil their housing aspirations. The borough has the fourth highest property p prices in the country, with first time t buyers needing to secure an average deposit d in excess of £50,000. This means t many police officers and other key that workers w are forced to buy a home outside o the borough or rent in the private sector. of H&F Council already has a register of 5 5,000 local people interested in so-called ‘intermediate’ ‘ low cost housing schemes. F From this month, it will give police officers living or working in the borough a higher l priority on that list. This means that they will have a far greater chance to take advantage of discounted market sale and intermediate rent schemes run by the council in conjunction with developers. Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F cabinet member for housing, said: “We believe that police officers who live in the community that they serve have a far greater connection

with local residents and better understand the crime priorities of their neighbourhoods. “As the borough of housing opportunity, we want decent hard-working people such as police officers to be able to live in this borough.” The move has received backing from Police Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Lucy D’Orsi who said: “This is a welcome step forward for housing in the borough. I hope that our officers will consider the benefits of living within the community that they work so hard to police and provide reassurance for.”

And new low cost homes are on the way H&F Council recently set up its own housing company to meet the huge demand for low cost homes in the borough. This means that the council is now building its own homes for the first time in 30 years. This housing company, along with a joint venture with the private sector, will see 500 low cost homes built in the next ten years. The council is also on course to have helped 1,000 families into low cost homes through discounted market sale and intermediate rent schemes by the end of the year.

Keeping it local: Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council deputy leader, with members of your local police force

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Dispersal zone will continue to see off troublemakers The police have been given extended powers to disperse young louts and drug dealers who have been causing trouble on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates.

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area immediately for a maximum &F Council and the police of 24 hours. Anyone found guilty set up a ‘dispersal zone’ on of breaching the dispersal zone’s the estates last November conditions faces three months in after local residents complained prison or a £2,500 fine. about unruly behaviour. It also means that, between The zone has been hugely the hours of 9pm and 6am any successful in combating th cchild under 16 can be taken to anti-social activities but is their home or another place soon to expire. The council of safety if they are found and police have therefore within the dispersal zone chosen to extend the and not in control of zone until May and t to n a w o wh an adult. expand its boundaries. Thugs ouble on the r d Cllr Greg Smith, Since November, cause t nsington an s e H&F Council deputy there have been 13 West K Green estate leader, said: “Thugs who dispersals from the Gibbs ave nowhere want to cause trouble area but many more now h run to to on the West Kensington youths have moved on voluntarily before officers could formally disperse them. However, many of the troublemakers have simply just moved onto the surrounding streets of the dispersal zone – in particular North End Road, May Street and Lanfrey Place. There have also been reports that some of the hooligans have started to return to the estates. The council and police have therefore chosen to extend the dispersal zone until midnight on May 4, 2013. The zone will now also include North End Road, May Street and Lanfrey Place in addition to the original boundaries of the Gibbs Green Estate, Beaumont Crescent from the junction of North End Road to Gibbs Green Close. The zone still also includes areas surrounding Churchward and Fairburn House on the West Kensington Estate. The zone means that police officers and police community support officers can order groups of troublemakers to leave an

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and Gibbs Green estates now have nowhere to run to. We have extended this dispersal zone to disrupt their activities and to prevent them from making life a misery for the decent, law-abiding majority of estate residents. “Cutting crime is one of the council’s main priorities and we will continue to work closely with the police to fight anti-social behaviour.” Police Sergeant Robert Duneclift said: “This dispersal zone has been hugely successful but we want to strike while the iron is hot and continue to tackle the troublemakers.”

A ‘dispersal zone’ set up by H&F Council and the police means that groups of troublemakers can be ordered to leave an area immediately

Your Home Magazine | 11


Housing service standa Our commitment to deliver excellent housing services Hammersmith & Fulham Council is committed to providing all residents with excellent customer services. With that in mind, the council has been working with the local residents panel to develop a set of service standards for estate and neighbourhood and sheltered housing services. The aim of the standards is to improve our performance and make sure that our tenants and leaseholders are receiving the best housing services possible.

Correspondence and complaints

Rent and debt management

General correspondence ✔ We will respond to general correspondence within 15 working days.

Advice and assistance ✔ We will give you clear advice and assistance to help you manage your rent account from the start of your tenancy.

Stage 1 complaints ✔ We will respond to stage 1 complaints for tenancy management within 15 working days. Stage 2 complaints ✔ We will respond to stage 2 complaints for tenancy management within 20 working days.

Help with benefits ✔ At sign up we will signpost residents to h&f Direct who will explain the process of submitting a housing benefit claim to all new tenants. Rent collection ✔ We will undertake to collect all current nt rent due.

These commitments will all be enshrined within the contracts that we propose to enter into with Pinnacle Housing Ltd (see page 6).

Maintaining quality The standards aim to ensure you receive the best housing services possible

Tenancy A housing officer will offer you an appointment four weeks after you have moved into your property to provide any additional information or advice that you might need. We will process your mutual exchange application within 42 working days of receipt of the application. We will ensure a formal review of an introductory tenancy takes place eight months after the start of your tenancy, as set out in the terms and conditions of the sign up documents. We will carry out a formal tenancy check on all tenants once every four years. The number of properties void at any one time will be within the target to be relet (currently 0.2%). We will relet empty properties within the target number of days (currently 26 days).

12 | Your Home Magazine

Adv and gu ice idance You wil lb

e off appoin tment f ered an our after yo u have weeks moved in, to p ro additio vide any nal adv ice

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rds – our promise to you Involvement and empowerment Estate inspections Housing officers, caretakers, and contractors will undertake four estate inspections per year according to the publicised schedule. In sheltered housing accommodation, sheltered housing officers will carry out a monthly scheme inspection to identify and report all repair and risk items. Residents will be invited to attend these inspections. Actions from estate inspections Housing officers will ensure that actions from estate inspections will be published on notice boards and the

Hav your sae y!

Come t borougo your a r e a f o h and r see pagums – e 24

Fortnightly estate walkabouts

council cil housing webpage within seven working days of the inspection taking place. Borough forums Borough forums will be held at least four times per year to discuss policy and strategy issues. These meetings are open to all tenants and leaseholders living in the borough.

Housing officers will undertake fortnightly estate walkabouts with caretakers to share intelligence and identify any anti-social behaviour issues or any individuals requiring additional support. The inspections will also identify repair issues.

Area housing forums Area housing forums to be held four times a year in each of the four areas of the borough. These meetings are open to all tenants and leaseholders living in the area.

Caretaking C C Caretaking schedules ✔ Site specific caretaking tasks will be included on work schedules. The schedules will include photographs of achievable standards. The schedules will be displayed on notice boards where available.

here e r ’ We o help y n t ve a u ha just If yoncerns uch co t in to ge

In Independent inspections ✔ Each block will be independently inspected a minimum of six times per year to assess estate standards (caretaking/grounds maintenance). G Graffiti removal – offensive graffiti ✔ Offensive graffiti will be removed or covered within 24 hours of being reported. Graffiti removal – non-offensive graffiti ✔ Non offensive graffiti or covered graffiti will be removed within seven working days of being reported.

To share stories about your estate or neighbourhood – email press.office@lbhf.gov.uk

Anti-social behaviour We will offer an appointment for interview within two working days of receiving an initial complaint for grade one cases, within three days for grade 2 cases and within five days for grade 3 cases. An action plan will be agreed with you at the initial interview. We will provide a monthly update to all complainants on open cases in the format that was agreed at the initial interview. We will offer to interview the victim within 24 hours of receiving a report of domestic violence.

Your Home Magazine | 13


EARLS COURT

Residents negotiate one of the best regeneration deals in the country Earls Court scheme heralds 7,583 new build homes and 760 replacement homes, with 9,500 permanent jobs and 36,000 temporary construction jobs on the way.

Artist’s impression of transformed North End Road

14 | Your Home Magazine

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EARLS COURT

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ajor plans to regenerate Earls their new home is ready to be occupied. Court and the surrounding “That new home will be the same area area are gathering momentum. as they are already living in. People will be The £8billion regeneration scheme compensated and we will keep support is one of the biggest new projects groups and neighbours together. in the capital since Stratford was “Residents, their current and future transformed by the Olympics. children will be living in an even better, The redevelopment is based on a safer neighbourhood environment with master-plan by world renowned architect access to new leisure and community Sir Terry Farrell to create four villages facilities. Most of all local people will connected by a high street, with new benefit from the thousands of new job transport links, shops, a school, a health opportunities that will be created. hub, community centre, parkland and “London needs economic growth and tthat growth will provide fresh leisure facilities. o H&F Council and developer opportunity for people living in ed North Fulham, their children and N EC Properties have now signed futu a Conditional Land Sale future generations of people.” Agreement to include West A detailed planning aapplication to build 808 Kensington and Gibbs Resid idents wil il be liv h Green estates in the wider homes at Seagrave Road has even b ing in an aalready been approved by development of the area. neighb etter, safer H H&F Council and H&F Council. Approximately ourhoo d with new co 2 the Royal Borough of 200 of these homes are mm d Kensington and Chelsea due to be used in the first facilitieunity s ph have already approved a phasing plan. People would g be m proposal for outline planning moved in defined blocks ea designe consent to redevelop the area designed to minimise disruption, bition Centres keep neighbou around the Earls Court Exhibition neighbours together and ensure that to build 7,583 new homes, including 760 people only have to move once. replacement council homes available to people living on the estates. A Local Lettings Plan for The Earl Court landowners, H&F fair allocation of homes Council and Capco, are committed to the regeneration of the Earls Court Opportunity Residents living on the estates have Area in line with the master-plan. It is the created their own steering group firm intention of the two landowners to and have drawn up legally binding proceed with this landmark regeneration, contracts to protect their interests. creating 9,500 permanent new jobs and The council has also recently consulted around 36,000 temporary construction jobs. Neither of the two landowners believes with residents about a draft Local Lettings Plan. This document will help that the inclusion of a football stadium in the council to allocate homes in the new the scheme would offer the regeneration development, making sure residents benefits of the existing master plan. Nicholas Botterill, leader of H&F Council, receive a home that fits their needs. Council officers will also shortly be visiting said: “We believe that the residents living residents in the coming months to make on the estates have negotiated the best deal of any regeneration scheme in the Continued on page 16 country. They will only have to move when

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The deal for residents homes on the estate would • Allbe replaced within the redevelopment area. would only have to move • People when their new home is ready to be occupied.

Eligible tenants who are overcrowded on the estate will be offered a home that will meet their assessed housing need as defined in the Local Lettings Plan.

tenants who are under• Eligible occupying will be offered a new home with one additional

bedroom above their assessed housing need. If the eligible tenant does not want this additional bedroom, they can discuss with the council what smaller sized accommodation they are seeking. council tenants would remain • Secure secure tenants, with rents remaining in line with the rest of the council’s housing stock, and receive £4,700 compensation per household, plus new white goods, carpets and curtains. All reasonable fees will be paid and a dedicated re-housing officer will help every step of the way. leaseholders and • Resident freeholders would receive the

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market value of their home, to be independently assessed, and an extra 10% of that amount in compensation up to a cap of £47,000. They would be offered a 10% early purchase discount on the value of a new home should they wish to buy-back into the redevelopment. They would not be expected to increase their mortgage costs to do this. service charges would • Leaseholder be capped for five years and then controlled by the council after that. service charges will remain • Tenant in the control of the council and only cover the services actually received.

Your Home Magazine | 15


EARLS COURT Continued from page 15

An artist’s impression of the flats set for Seagrave Road

sure that the council has all the details of their family size and make-up. In addition, the council has recently opened a new estates regeneration office at 1 Mund Street (the former Citizens Advice Bureau) building where residents can talk to council officers. The signing of a Conditional Land Sale Agreement (CLSA) follows an extensive consultation on the estate and wider area which revealed that the majority of the people in the wider area are in favour, while amongst council tenants themselves, 18% supported the scheme; 35% opposed but 45% failed to offer an opinion, and 2% were undecided. H&F Council will eventually receive approximately £105million, an estimated £54million of which, after compensation and costs, would be available to be reinvested back in the borough. The council will also receive 760 replacement homes for people currently living on the estates. Independent financial advice says the CLSA is worth £222million to £291million as a whole before costs.

Legal challenge is thrown out of court ● A judge has thrown out a legal

challenge that threatened the CLSA, describing it as ‘absurd’. West Kensington Estate resident Harold Greatwood, applied to court to launch a judicial review of H&F Council’s decision to enter into a Conditional Land Sale Agreement with EC Properties to include the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in the wider regeneration of Earls Court. He challenged the decision on four grounds. But on 21 January The Honourable Mr Justice John Mitting refused permission for the application for a Judicial Review, ruling against Mr Greatwood on all four grounds. Finding that the challenge to the council’s consultation was “not reasonably arguable”, Mr Justice Mitting said: “The analysis of the consultation responses put to cabinet on 23 April 2012 and 3 September 2012 was balanced and fair. The suggestion that the results of the consultation were hidden is unwarranted”. He went on to say that “The time for the consultation – nine weeks– was adequate” and that “the suggestion that because the defendant did not address the consultation documents to tenants by name or to the ‘tenant’, the process was flawed is absurd.”

16 | Your Home Magazine

Independent investigator finds allegations baseless

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n independent investigation has found no evidence against claims that Hammersmith & Fulham Council offered priority housing to residents in return for support for the Earls Court regeneration scheme. Allegations were made by one individual in September 2012 that the council had drawn up a so-called ‘early movers’ or ‘VIP’ list containing the names of residents of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates who had been promised new council homes if they signed their support for demolition of the two estates. The council appointed Deloittes, an independent company, to investigate the claims. In their report Deloittes state: “We have not identified any evidence to support the allegation of the existence of an Early Movers List, VIP List or priority listing by any other name.” The council maintained from the outset that during a two-year consultation it had been talking to residents about their housing requirements. This is normal practice with a scheme of this nature. Deloittes concluded: “This database is to maintain a record of residents they have spoken with, including any comments and queries raised, together

with as much information as possible regarding their current position and future housing needs.” Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council leader, said: “The independent investigators found no evidence of any wrong doing by anyone connected with the council and confirmed that these accusations are totally without foundation. “No homes have been built, let alone been allocated, and nobody has received preferential treatment. As is normal on a regeneration scheme of this size, the council talked to all affected residents about their housing needs and requirements during a two-year consultation. There is absolutely no evidence that anyone was promised anything in return for supporting the regeneration scheme. “If residents are eventually moved it will happen in accordance with a local lettings plan, which will be agreed by a public committee in the normal way, that will take into account the needs and preferences of all residents. “We can now get on with the important work of ensuring that estate residents, together with those living in the wider area are the major beneficiaries of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to regenerate this part of London.”

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Sewage tunnel threat moves closer D isruptive plans for a massive sewage transfer tunnel beneath the Thames have moved a step closer to Fulham after a national quango agreed to consider Thames Water’s planning application. Despite waves of protest from local residents and a formal challenge from H&F Council, the national Planning Inspectorate has accepted, after just 14 days consideration, that the 50,000-page planning document for the Thames Tunnel, or ‘super sewer’ as it is better known, is based on a robust consultation. South Fulham is set to bear the brunt of the disruption from major excavation work while 14million Thames Water customers are set to pay an extra £80 a year for life on water bills meaning that Thames Water shareholders will continue to profit from the tunnel long after it has been paid for.

, roved If app on of the ng ucti constr , 20-mile-lo s n in a illio £4.2b l could beg ulham e F n n h t u t , wi s 2015 runt early a o bear the b t n t se uptio of disr

H&F Council believes there are cheaper, greener and less disruptive ways to make the River Thames cleaner and has vowed to step up the fight against the £4.2 billion tunnel. The largest number of objections to Thames Water’s plans came from H&F residents who oppose the use of the densely populated riverside that has been earmarked for new homes and jobs. 3,138 people objected to the area, which is around the size of six football pitches, hes, being swallowed up for heavy digging work 24 hours a day, seven days a week for at least six years. Six primary schools and two secondary schools are all within a mile of the site while some people live just 10 yards away from where the deep sewer drilling work could happen. There are also major concerns that some people may need to move home. Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council deputy leader, said: “How the Planning Inspectorate can wade through 50,000 pages in just two weeks and decide that Thames Water’s flawed consultation was robust will be beyond many people. The Planning Inspectorate should reject Thames Water’s white elephant as we know there are cheaper, greener and far less disruptive ways to make our river cleaner.” Lance Pierson, from Clean Thames Now and Always, said, “We will be urging the government

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Locals protest: the largest number of objections have come from residents around Carnwath Road, south Fulham who oppose the use of the densely populated riverside. Above: Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council leader, lends his support to local protestors

to put the whole super sewer scheme on hold whilst it instigates a new up-todate review and pilot study of the more progressive solutions now being tried and tested elsewhere round the world.” Anyone with views about the Thames Tunnel, who would like to take part in the examination of the application, can register with the Planning Inspectorate at www.planningportal.gov.uk Once the Planning Inspectorate has concluded its examination of the application, a recommendation on whether to grant approval will be submitted to government ministers – who are expected to make the final decision in autumn 2014. If consent is granted, preparatory construction work is scheduled to start in 2015, with main tunnelling due to begin in 2016.

Your Home Magazine | 17


H&F sets third lowest council tax in the UK H

ammersmith & Fulham is now the UK’s ‘low tax borough’ after agreeing to cut council tax for the sixth year out of seven – bucking a trend of council tax rises across the UK. While more than 40% of local authorities are increasing council tax, tax in Hammersmith & Fulham has been cut by 3%. The agreement means council tax in H&F is 17% lower than seven years ago – saving residents more than £45million in the process. The 3% cut means H&F taxpayers now pay the third lowest council tax in the

Saving s The ‘lo for you! borou w tax gh your c ’ has cut o tax bil uncil 3% ag l by ain

country while resident satisfaction with services is close to being at an all-time high. Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council leader, said: “Hammersmith & Fulham is the UK’s low tax borough – and that is now official! A radical revolution has seen the council transformed from a cumbersome and bureaucratic place into a lean and dynamic organisation. From a lower cost base, we are now able to respond rapidly to the needs of our customers – just like the best companies in the private sector do.” The cumulative saving of six tax cuts of 3% or more, over the past seven years is worth more than £45million or £667 per household. In comparison, during the same period, the cumulative, year-on-year cost of gas, electricity, petrol and food has risen by almost £5,000. While household bills have rocketed by around one third (33%) since 2007, council tax has now fallen by 17% in H&F. H&F Council has gone from being

one of the worst councils for value for money in 1999 (27th out of 32 in London) to the top 3 low tax boroughs in the country. While the council has now agreed its latest reduction, many other local authorities are proposing to increase their council tax by up to 3.5%. The ‘low tax borough’ says the secret of its low-tax/high-performing services is mainly down to a relentless private sector ethos that means the council is now more ‘lean, agile and in tune with residents’ concerns than ever before. Senior management costs have been significantly reduced, debt repayments to the banks halved and office accommodation costs have tumbled by more than a third. Cllr NicholasBotterill continues: “While council tax is falling year after year, our parks have never been greener, our streets are cleaner, our schools have never performed better and residents are noticing the improvements.

H&F – the low tax borough

ts

ld cos

seho g hou

UP 33%

Risin What a saving! Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council leader, proudly shows how much H&F residents have saved over seven years

18 | Your Home Magazine

Falling cou n

cil tax

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

DOWN 17%

2013

Cumulative % changes

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FIRST PERSON

Meet the neighbourhood wardens

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and pursuing criminals, the borough’s 12 UILDING trust among people neighbourhood wardens concentrate on is a delicate process, and it can environmental nuisances and anti-social be the little details that make all behaviour, giving them more freedom to the difference. follow their own instinct when out on patrol. In the pocket of Maria Adams’ The wardens have the power to hand neighbourhood warden uniform is a list of out fixed penalty notices for offences handy phrases headed up by ‘chesh-ch’ – such flicking away a cigarette butt or the Polish word for ‘hello’. It works s urinating in the street, and to report as a simple but effective ice-breaker breaker something more serious to the on the streets of Shepherds some police Bush, where the wardens must ust pol or emergency services. But they also work be able to connect quickly y b d a hard to help people with people from all kinds h l le to We try . We’re they encounter on of backgrounds, in all types le p m a ex l their rounds, such as of situations. ontationae fr n o -c n o n by finding And by making a little y to engag and we tr e young support for effort to speak to speak to s with th le someone people on their own level, so peop who Hammersmith & Fulham wh has been sleeping Council’s wardens are finding g rough in a bin there is a growing willingness ss among cupboard, or checking the community to open up about some on the welfare of a of the issues which affect them. resident who they “We’re non-confrontational and we know may be feeling try to engage with the young people,” vulnerable. said Maria. “We might say to them, ‘do The wardens are you realise that by congregating in large usually given a warm groups, you can be intimidating to the welcome – but they also residents? It could be your mum or have to be prepared to your nan. You wouldn’t like it if this was deal with unpredictable, happening outside your house’. hostile situations. “We try to lead by example. We never Maria said: “You have shout, scream or swear. You have to break to be calm – you can be the ice, because if you go up to the youth called everything under and try to be authoritative it just won’t the sun on one hand, and work. You need to take a softer approach.” on the other hand, I’ve Where police officers have to make given fixed penalty notices a priority of attending serious incidents

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Think twice about what you recycle

Make sure you rinse off food residue before recycling

● Dealing with contamination is

estimated to cost H&F Council £300k in 2013. From January this year, the council has had to start paying twice for any waste items found in the recycling – firstly to sort them out from the recycling and then to dispose of them along with normal waste where tthey belong. Around 20% of the contents of H&F rrecycling is contaminated currently. Every one per cent we can reduce E ccontamination will save council tax payers more than £17,000 a year. p Recent analysis of samples taken ffrom recycling banks has found that tthe main contaminants are: Food waste (often stuck to cans and plastic trays) Other plastics (such as carrier bags, cling film and plastic toys) Textiles (such as old clothes) Shredded paper Electrical items

• • •• •

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and been given a kiss on the cheek, a warm hand shake and smile. “If you’ve had a row with your husband, you’ve kicked the cat and the house is falling down, you have to put all that aside – you need to come in with a clear mind and be focused.”

Neighbourhood wardens Maria Adams (left) and Jacqui Sando, on patrol in Shepherds Bush

The only things that should be recycled in Smart Banks are:

YES PLEAS E

Paper and card/cardboard (excluding shredded paper) Glass bottles and jars Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays Cans, tins and empty aerosols Food/drinks cartons (e.g. TetraPaks) Food residue should be rinsed off before recycling and lids should be removed from bottles. Anything else not mentioned is waste and should be disposed of as normal waste. For more information on recycling please contact the cleaner greener hotline on 020 8753 1100.

Your Home Magazine | 19


Step up and become a community champion

What does a community champion do?

Community champions get together at the White City Community Centre

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Volunteers to give up some time to work with local people

giving advice about how to access their he search is on for community local services. champions to represent Onyeka Ezenagu, volunteer coordinator residents throughout the for the community champions, said: “One White City estate. Would you like of the issues in White City is that a lot of to get to know your neighbours people don’t know where to go or better? Do you want to be e what trained to point people in n wha to do with whatever issue y or concern that they have. the right direction for the e t i un “Expanding the help they need? Comm ns act io p community champions will If you live on the White m n a e ch betwe help reach those hard-toCity estate, you could k n i l as a ents and reach people who might be become a community resid ervices stuck in their homes with champion – and learn s local s nowhere to go.” confidence-boosting skills no There are no strict rules about while supporting local people. le. who ca can or can’t be community There are already more than 20 at champion work around the estate, and th the plan l iis h i – as long as you are willing to listen to people, give up a little of your now to recruit at least one volunteer for time and learn new skills. each of the 32 different blocks. Community champions act as a link Onyeka said: “We want to empower you to serve your community by helping between residents and local services, you be an effective message bearer, giving listening to people’s concerns, passing a voice to he voiceless.” on any issues to the professionals and

20 | Your Home Magazine

Listens to people to find out about their concerns Points their friends, families, and neighbours in the right direction for health care, social care, children’s and housing services Gives feedback to professionals working in the neighbourhood Encourages awareness of initiatives affecting the community

Join the team The team are based at the White City Community Centre, India Way. Call volunteer coordinator Onyeka Ezenagu on 020 8811 2494 or 07432 499 444, or email onyeka@ communitychampionsuk.org

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From student to tutor – White City resident turns Zumba pro

FOCUS on whatever it is you really want – not the problems – then think about how you’re going to do it, and how it will make you feel. It will push you out of your comfort zone to try something new.

O

ALWAYS HAVE A GOAL to work forward to every day when you get up. It might be a challenge, but you need a clear, concise mental picture to carry you through the day.

ne White City Estate resident who turned her own life around is helping others do the same. Meet the inspiring Melissa Thompson Adjei-Mensah. It was while working behind the counter at a bookmaker’s that Melissa Thompson Adjei-Mensah realised something drastic had to be done. Although only in her mid-20s, a lack of exercise and a poor diet meant the mother of two had put on weight and was suffering from a general lack of energy. But weeks after taking the plunge and signing up for a free exercise class, her fitness and enthusiasm levels rocketed – so much so that she decided to quit job behind to become a health trainer. Melissa said: “I was working in a betting shop where it was quite difficult to eat properly, and I was struggling a bit with my weight. There was a free aerobics class being offered to residents on the White City Estate so I thought okay, I’m going to try this out.

“I realised that it was helping me to improve my health and wellbeing, and I started educating myself about what I eat and pushing myself to exercise. “Now I’m on the other side, working as a health trainer and listening to other people’s stories, which is fantastic.” Melissa, now in her thirties, is the only health trainer working full time at the White City Health Centre, running Zumba sessions in the community in her spare time. She said: “It doesn’t really feel like I’m working. Providing a service and seeing people make positive changes is priceless. One lady I saw lost three stone because she wanted her wedding ring to fit her again, and she came back in to tell me that it now fits. “I’ve got two kids and when they see me doing all this exercise, it’s amazing how much information they take from it. My daughter can do a head stand now. The transformation people can go through is incredible.”

Melissa’s tips for success

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TAKE CONTROL of your own life. I was quite negative, blaming other people for everything, so I just started being more positive and taking responsibility. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING – your attitude to life is your altitude. Come and join the fun Melissa’s Zumba classes run at the Fatima Centre, Commonwealth Avenue, Fridays 6.30-7.30pm, and at Egyptian House, Bloemfontein Road, Saturdays 11.30am-12.30pm (women only). Each session is £4. Call her on 07966 767 106 for details. Melissa Thompson Adjei-Mensah has turned her life around with Zumba

Tell your neus ws! If you kn o

exciting w of anything your est happening o a who des te or any residen erve rec nts og email p ress.off nition, ice@ lbhf.go v.uk

To share stories about your estate or neighbourhood – email press.office@lbhf.gov.uk

Your Home Magazine | 21


Adult learning and skills service

The way you claim your benefits is changing. Are you ready? Get the skills you need to make your benefit claim online.


ICT ONLINE BASICS 3 day course: Monday, Thursday and Friday. 9.30am-12.00 noon This three day course will cover the basic skills you need to start using a computer and by the end of the course you will know how to apply for benefits online. Learn to use a mouse and keyboard, how to email, some basic word processing and how to search for information and stay safe online.

MONEY MATTERS 3 day course: Monday, Thursday and Friday. 12.30-3.30pm Manage your money and budget – this three day course will help you to understand financial matters that are relevant to you and to take control of your money on a day-to-day basis. It will also help you to plan a budget for your personal use.

Don’t miss out – call 020 8753 6252 to book your place now! We also offer over 400 part time day and evening courses to help residents improve their skills and increase career opportunities. Many are free for those on benefits. For more information call 0845 839 7912 or visit www.hfals.co.uk

F BE R EE N C EF O IT U CL R S AI E S M FO AN R TS

These courses start weekly (term time only), please call 020 8753 6252 for the latest dates. Classes take place at: Adult Community & Learning Centre (next to Canberra Primary School) Australia Road White City W12 7PT


LOCAL AREA FORUMS KEY DATES

! y a s r u o y e v a h d Get involved an

P

ut a date in your diaries for these forthcoming housing forums. The council is keen to improve the way that it engages with residents and has set up a local residents’ panel and a repairs working group to improve services and monitor standards. There is still the opportunity for more panel members to join and contribute to this important work. If you would like to apply, we would be very interested to hear from you. You can email us at getinvolved@lbhf.gov.uk or call Daniel Miller or Shaun Dunleavy on 020 8753 6652. The council also consults with residents through borough and local area forums. All tenants and leaseholders can attend. The next quarterly borough forum meeting is on Tuesday, April 30 in the Small Hall in Hammersmith Town Hall. The session starts at 7.00pm. More localised issues are discussed at area forums, including local housing office and caretaking performance and updates on regeneration schemes in the area. Area forums are also held on a quarterly basis and are chaired by local ward councillors. Forthcoming sessions are:

AREA FORUMS South Hammersmith Monday 10 June, 6.30pm (AGM) Queen Caroline Estate TRA Hall

New councillor for late Jean Campbell’s ward ● Max Schmid has

been elected to serve as councillor for Wormholt and White City ward. He replaces Jean Campbell who sadly passed away in November last year. Hundreds of Cllr Jean Campbell sadly pounds have already passed away last year been raised in remembrance of Jean. To donate, make your cheque out to The Jamaican High Commission Hurricane Relief Fund and sent it to: Jamaican High Commission, The Jean Campbell Hurricane Sandy Memorial Donation, 1 Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BZ.

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Local residents and residents associations invited to attend include: Ashcroft Square, Aspen Gardens, Charcroft Court, Charecroft Court, Edward Woods, Flora Gardens, Linacre Court, Queen Caroline, Riverside Gardens, Springvale, William Church, Lytton Estate and HAFNEP. Hammersmith North Tuesday 11 June, 7.00pm (AGM) Wood Lane Community Centre Local residents and residents associations invited to attend include: Becklow Gardens, Emlyn Gardens, Kelmscott Gardens, White City, Wood Lane, Woodmans Mews, Wormholt Estate, and HAFNEP. South Fulham Wednesday 19 June, 6.30pm (AGM) Philpot Residents Hall, Philpot Square Local residents and residents associations invited to attend include: Arthur Henderson & William Banfield House, Barton House, Carnwath Road, Fulham Court, Jepson House, Lancaster Court, Philpot Square, Sulivan Court, Walham Green Court, and HAFNEP. Fulham North Tuesday 11 June, 7.00pm (AGM) Clem Atlee Community Hall Local residents and residents associations invited to attend include: CARMRA, Da Palma Court, Fairburn House, Field Road, Gibbs Green, Maystar, Meadowbank Close, Robert

Owen House, Sharnbrook House, Twynholm, Vereker Road, and HAFNEP. Drop-in sessions take place half an hour before all area forum meetings. These provide an opportunity to discuss individual matters outside of the formal running of the meeting.

SHELTERED HOUSING FORUM Thursday 6 June, 1.30pm Munden Street Sheltered Housing block

LEASEHOLDER FORUMS Fulham North Tuesday 23 April & Tuesday 30 July Clem Attlee Tenants’ Hall Hammersmith North & South Hammersmith Monday 1 July Courtyard Room, Hammersmith Town Hall, King Street South Fulham Monday 15 July Lancaster Court Community Centre Drop-in sessions for all the leasehold forums commence at 6.00-7.00pm, and the main meetings commence from 7.00-8.30pm.

Leaseholders updated on council’s vision for the future ● More than 60 homeowners

occurring throughout the borough, attended the annual Hammersmith estate support and security and the & Fulham Council Leaseholder proposed new repair and estate Conference. services contracts. servic Held at Hammersmith th There was also be a ners Town Hall on Saturday, chance for people to raise ch Homeow for January 26, the ttheir individual questions in dropped Q&As conference featured a at a drop-in session, d n a s update F series of presentations ttogether with several & H l nua covering the council’s at the an seholder questions and answers a vision for improving ssessions. Council le rence e f n services, ensuring Cllr Andrew Johnson, co value for money and H&F H & cabinet member for involving residents in housing h ous said: “This event decision making. was w as inva invaluable in helping us to Updates were also provided on improve the service that we offer to the various regeneration schemes our leaseholders.”

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Your home magazine (April 2013)