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Your new WDC Housing Magazine - Formerly Home News

Summer 2013 Issue 02

w e n r u o g n i Introduc

Tenantstogether

@tenantstog

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www.warwickdc.gov.uk/tenant


Contents Keeping You Informed

Getting Involved

04 06 07

Tenants Together Open Day 2013

08 09

Tenant Panel Latest News

10 11 12 13 Safety First

Where possible, information can be made available in other formats, including large print, CD and other languages if required. To obtain one of these alternatives, please contact 01926 456447. The virgin fibre used in the paper for this product has been derived from sustainably managed forests. This product is fully recyclable.

14 15

Our New Housing Partnership Reporting Repairs

Spot the Van Success for Tenant Panel Estate Walkabouts Tenant Participation - Drop-ins Leaseholders News

LEP Training Programme How Safe is your home? Operation X Facebook & Twitter

tenantstogether

www.warwickdc.gov.uk

@tenantstog

Contact Housing & Property Services: www.warwickdc.gov.uk/housing contactus@warwickdc.gov.uk 01926 412828 Designed by The Media Room, Warwick District Council.

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Welcome to the Summer issue of Tenants Together

We are promoting our housing event in this issue

Money Matters

16 19 20

so make sure you put the date in your diary (7 September, 11am – 3pm) and come along. Last year’s event was a great success and we want

Letters to Lisa

to see more of you there this year. Not only does

Are you covered? Direct Debit

contractors and other tenants, but we are also all

Budgeting & Employment Advice Take Up Project

it give you the opportunity to meet the team, the there to answer your questions and point you in the right direction for more information. Plus you get the chance to win some great prizes! You will find out about our new Housing Partnership – they are our key contractors and you can find out how we are all working more closely together to deliver an excellent service.

Lifestyle

You can pull out and keep our annual report which will demonstrate what the housing team has achieved over the past year. This issue includes a round up from our tenant panel who are always looking for volunteers – you can hear about what they’ve been up to and what they are planning for the forthcoming year. Also, for those with time to fill over the school

21 22 23 24 26 27 28

What’s On! A Day in the Life of... Don’s Gardening Tips Spotlight on The Sydni Centre

summer holidays, we’ve found the best of our events for you to choose from across the district – most of them are free entry, so should help you and your families to get out and about. I look forward to seeing you all at our Tenants Together event in September!

Recipes Wordsearch Housing Directory

Jameel Malik Head of Housing

www.warwickdc.gov.uk/tenant

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Open Day 20

P

We want to invite you and your families to the Tenants Together 2013 Open Day. Tenants Together is all about Housing and Propery Services and Tenants coming together to talk; understanding issues and looking for ways to improve things.

along! e m o c ld u o h s u Why yo • Meet with Housing Services staff for advice and information • Find out more about Welfare Reforms • Meet the Tenant Panel Members and local contractors • We can help you with any money worries • Find out about local recycling • Free light refreshments and children’s entertainment; magician and face painting • Free Henna tattoos • Win prizes!

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Date for your diary... The Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa

Saturday 7 September 11am - 3pm

PRIZESGIVEAWAYS

FUNFORTHEKIDSFI

NDOUTMORETENAN

CONTRACTOR TPANELPARTNERS&

SLOADSOFINFORM

CONTRACTORS

TPANELPARTNERS& OUTMORETENAN ND FUNFORTHEKIDSFI

NDOUTM FUNFORTHEKIDSFI PRIZESGIVEAWAYS

ORETENANTPANEL

PARTNERS&CONTR

ACTORSLOADSOFI

CONTRACTORS

ington Spa p Rooms, Leam The Royal Pum – 3pm tember, 11am Saturday 7 Sep us! Come and join ce en Making a differ

S& NTPANELPARTNER

Open Day 2013

NDOUTMORETENA

lly invited to... a n o rs e p re a You

HURRY!

ATION

FUNFORTHEKIDSFI

013

Simply fill the enc out lo form an sed d in the p pop ost by 31 July 2013

NFORMATION

! n o w e b o t s e iz r Amazing p

£100 B&Q

ERS

VOUCH

Decorating vouchers & a handyman for the day

3

fabulous Christmas hampers, to be delivered by Santa himself!

£100

£200 M&S

SHOPPING

VOUCHERS

VOUCHERS (x2)

Make a date for the 7 September and help us shape our Housing Services. Your views count!

Contact Tenants Panel: www.warwickdc.gov.uk/tenants hsgtp@warwickdc.gov.uk 01926 456451

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Our New

We have formed a new housing partnership with the contractors that carry out work in your homes, on behalf of Warwick District Council.

Win £100

The companies involved in this partnership are those

Each completed survey will be entered

you are already familiar with, but you will have the

into a prize draw with the opportunity to

reassurance that they are one of our partners by

win £100. Winners will be announced

recognising the new logo on all publicity.

in each issue of Tenants Together.

The partnership will be for five years initially and we

There are also other contractors who are not

hope this will provide some stability and continuity in the

in the Housing Partnership, but still carry out work on

contracts and enable our contractors to gain knowledge

behalf

and experience of working with our tenants.

of Warwick District Council. They are;

Why a partnership?

EM&I – electric contractor

Our aim is to make sure our contractors are providing us with a cost effective, good quality service.

PTL – asbestos contractor

We will be able to work with the Tenant Panel to monitor whether they are delivering a good service, that they turn up when they say they do and that they deal with emergencies as we have agreed. The new satisfaction survey, which you will be given after each repair is completed, is your opportunity to tell us what you think and let us know how the contractors are performing! Please take the time to complete it and have your say.

Tim Eden, Cllr V

6

Top row (l-r) - Karl French (D&K), Wayne Jones (G.P.), Russell Mcangus (Lovell), Carl Horton (Lovell). Bottom row - Sandra Venables, Alison Coles (Lovell), Teresa Gray (D&K), Margaret Allen.


irs?

pa Reporting Re Use our handy hints to make it easier! Repairs line •

The repairs line is 01926 412828. Please call this number to report repairs. There are a number of options for you to choose from once you get through.

Our contractors and what they do

The repairs line is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Our busiest time is between 9am and 12pm, so if possible, please report any non-emergency repairs outside of these times.

When reporting a repair • Repairs, voids, painting

Gas

Before calling to report a repair, ask yourself - is it something you can deal with yourself? Just check in your tenant’s handbook for details of which repairs are classed as tenants’ own responsibility.

Adaptations, windows, doors, kitchens & bathrooms

• Roofs

For emergency repairs, please make sure that you, or an adult over 18, will be in the property for the four hours after the call. If you are not going to be there, your repair cannot be reported until there will be someone in the property to allow the contractor access.

Please make sure you have any relevant information to hand, such as letters or correspondence you have received – this will enable the advisor to answer your enquiry faster and more efficiently.

Please be prepared to answer some questions and to give as much information as possible. This will enable the advisor to send the correct tradesperson out to attend the repair.

Please provide the advisor with an up to date telephone number – this will enable us to contact you if there is a problem or if we need additional information.

Please remember that the advisors and contractors are there to help you, so please be patient when you call. They do not tolerate any abusive behaviour in the course of their work.

Vincett, Hugh Raven

Matt Jones, Dave Farmer (Ian Williams

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Tenant Panel

Latest news and updates

We are pleased to report that we have recently had volunteers and new members join the Tenant Panel, but we always need more to make sure we are including the opinions of as many of you as possible and, of course sharing the workload. Please think about joining our team - we would love to have you on board to help improve services. In the last issue of Tenants Together we reported that we wanted to carry out formal “Estate Walkabouts” and the first was held at The Packmores in Warwick on Wednesday 29 May 2013. Invitations were sent out to all tenants in the area inviting them to raise their concerns, repair queries or any issues which affected them either personally, or the area as a whole. A return visit was carried out on Wednesday 3 July 2013 and a report will be given in the next issue of Tenants Together. Walkabouts will be repeated at other sites throughout the year and invitations will be sent out once the details are finalised. Woodloes Estate had a Walkabout on Monday 24 June 2013 and the follow up will be on Monday 5 August 2013. See page 10 for a full list of planned walkabouts. The aim of Tenant Panel inspections is to improve your area; you will not be classed as a troublesome tenant! SERVICE IMPROVEMENT is the only aim. This is exactly why the Tenant Panel was formed and why we are asking for your input.

Another way to report problems is to watch out for Margaret Allen - our Tenant Participation Officer - in her “SPOT THE VAN” visits round the area. Margaret would love to see you and discuss any issue – good or bad – and again, the Tenant Panel needs the input as part of our monitoring process. Elsewhere in this magazine you will see the article on the new Building Repairs Contracts and the contractors now being used. Some original contractors have been successful and are continuing to work for us and some are new. We welcome all contractors and look forward to a successful working arrangement. They will now be grouped under their new logo The Housing Partnership, so that you know who they are. Have a look at the article on page 6 for more details.

More good news is, our main contractor - Ian Williams - won the new contract and we already have a good working arrangement with them and look forward to working together to a successful future, where service improvement is our aim.

8


Spot the Van!

Rob

Tim

We are looking forward to the opportunity this new partnership

Come and chat to your Tenant Participation Officer, Margaret, who will be doing morning visits in her van on the following days. Tuesday 16 July

Brome Hall Lane & Harborough Cottages

Monday 22 July

Starmer Close & Aylesbury Road

Tuesday 30 July

Bostock Crescent & St Michaels Close

Wednesday 14 August

Edinburgh Villas, Bromley Villas, Rowley Road, Hall Close & Dudley Terrace

Tuesday 20 August

Wasperton Lane, Wellesbourne Road, Sandy Way

Monday 26 August

Slade Hill & Ryder Close

Monday 2 September

Shrewley Common

Tuesday 3 September

School Croft

offers the Tenant Panel to demonstrate the purpose of our existence, which is Service Improvement and Inclusion, and will be monitoring the new proposals and working arrangements to ensure that they proceed to our mutual satisfaction and the benefit of all tenants. You can monitor the work of the Tenant Panel, our meeting minutes are available to view online at www. warwickdc.gov.uk/tenant. If you do not have access to the internet, we can send you a copy of the latest minutes. Give Margaret Allen a call on 01926 456451 and she will arrange it. Finally we say goodbye to Emma

Success for Tenant Panel

Baylis who has just stepped down as our Secretary. We

If you join our tenant panel

would like to thank Emma for

there is training available for

her hard work and commitment

you to keep up to speed

and wish her well for the future.

with the latest developments. Congratulations to Rob Harris,

Tim Eden

Rob Harris

Cyrus Clarke (photo) and Hazel Stephens who completed the ECDL computer course.

Tenant Panel

9


Estate Walkabouts Monks Way

anti climb paint to some fences and installing a new gate with combination lock to make the rear garden more secure and provide extra security to the ground

Monks Way and a few other housing areas in Warwick

floor residents. There was also involvement from our

West were recently visited by WDC and local residents

Waste management team who helped housing to

to do a litter pick and big tidy up of the area. After this

change the refuse and recycling arrangements, Housing

tidy up, the residents of Monks way and the Warwick

bought new communal refuse bins and new recycling

West Residents’ Association set to clearing and tidying

bins to help residents dispose of their waste in the most

the garden with help from the Community Payback

environmentally friendly way possible. Also provided

team who went in and did some of the heavier work and

to supplement this were 2 compost starter kits so that

got them to a position where they could start planting

residents could make their own compost from waste

the areas in readiness for Warwick in Bloom. Ian

food. It is a brilliant example of residents and WDC

Williams also helped the residents out by providing

working together to help people love where they live!

ig ay, The B Monks W

Tidy Up

Woodloes

the parking areas, bringing the drying areas back up to standard and making them safe, generally tidying up the vegetation of the gardens and communal areas

Clothes drying areas at Woodloes were in a very poor

and other general site repairs such as missing lead

state of repair, so much so that some drying areas had

flashings, new signage for some blocks etc. WDC

actually disappeared and wildlife had taken over. After

arranged for one of the drying areas to be constructed

Councillors raised concerns on behalf of residents,

so that residents could see how we were going to re-

WDC arranged for a consultation of the residents to

instate these and feedback was sought from residents.

find out what their priorities were in the area. It was

Once we had feedback one of housing engineers then

decided that the most important things were relining of

arranged for Allworks construction to set about building

10


ts

Timetable for Estate Walkabou Estate

First Inspection

Follow Up

The Woodloes

Monday 24 June

Monday 5 August

The Crest

Tuesday 9 July

Tuesday 13 August

Fallow Hill

Tuesday 23 July

Tuesday 27 August

Stamford Gardens

Wednesday 31 July

Wednesday 4 Sept

!

Drop-ins Come and drop in for a coffee with your housing team, we’ll be more than happy to discuss your housing needs.

All residents in the area will be notified and invited to come along to these inspections.

!

All follow up inspections to take place within 5-6 weeks.

!

All findings to be reported back to the Tenant Panel, Tenant Participation Officer and to the residents.

!

All works to be given to repairs to be logged as jobs.

July the drying areas to the specification that we agreed. The area was also visited by a company who does lining of parking bays so that the bays were more visible and therefore improving parking in this busy area. The work is now complete and the residents agree they look much more appealing as well as being easier to access and use.

Thursday 4 Packmores

10am - 12noon

Wednesday 10 Beauchamp Court

10am - 12noon

Thursday 11 The Gap

2pm - 4pm

August es Woodlo

before

Woodlo e

s after

Thursday 1 Packmores

10am - 12noon

Wednesday 7 Beauchamp Court

10am - 12noon

Thursday 8 The Gap

2pm - 4pm

September Contact Housing & Property Services: www.warwickdc.gov.uk/housing hsgtp@warwickdc.gov.uk 01926 456451

Thursday 5 Packmores

10am - 12noon

Wednesday 11 Beauchamp Court

10am - 12noon

Thursday 12 The Gap

2pm - 4pm

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Leaseholders News The Leaseholder Action Group, together with Warwick District

The Leaseholders Action Group has

Council, has now completed

been discussing a review of the way it

the production of the New

communicates with Leaseholders. This issue

Leaseholder Handbook.

has been mentioned a few times in “The Leaseholder” publication sent periodically to

This provides Leaseholders with

all Leaseholders.

updated information about the services undertaken by WDC

One important issue is that there have

that are relevant to Leaseholders.

been four General Meetings each year. The

It also provides all the information

numbers attending have been declining for

about responsibilities of

some time, and we have decided to have

Leaseholders.

only two meetings per year, one in May (which is also the Annual General Meeting),

This new publication will be published on the Leaseholder

and one in November.

section of the WDC website www.warwickdc.gov.uk/ leaseholder. For people who do not have access to the internet, we will be printing a few copies. To obtain a copy please call 01926 412828 to ask for a copy to be sent.

We would like to move towards communicating with you by email when possible. If you are happy for us to communicate with you via email, please could you send an email to: leaseholdteam@warwickdc.gov.uk Please include your name, address and contact number in the email. You can call us on 01926 456450 if you need to discuss it or to tell us that you do not have access to email.

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We intend to use emails to distribute “The Leaseholder” and other LAG communications as soon as a very large majority can use this system. However, don’t worry if you do not have access to email, we can continue to post you a copy. Just ring 01926 456450 and let us know.


LEP is pleased to announce its

Training for Tenants LEP is pleased to announce its 2013/14 training programme. The programme continues to meet the needs of tenants and staff of social housing providers. The programme seeks to address the challenges facing social housing tenants and providers:

Our new courses include ones about social care and

the impact of welfare benefits reforms,

housing for the elderly, financial exclusion and planning

increasing demand for affordable housing

reforms and building new housing. In response to

and the Homes & Communities Agency’s

requests from tenants we will again run courses about

focus on registered housing providers’

housing allocations and how people are matched to

ability to achieve value for money and self-

properties, and about new technology and involvement.

financing for local authority landlords. The programme also delivers courses

We are also once again running our courses on Housing

about ‘bread and butter’ issues such as,

Law (which include issues related to dealing with

repairs and maintenance and dealing with

housing fraud) and Tenant inspectors and performance

anti-social behaviour.

monitoring, as these are very popular with both staff and residents.

In the continuing financial climate and period of policy change we have decided to deliver two courses about the impact of welfare

To book a place on any of these courses contact your Tenant Participation Officer:

benefits reforms: one, to be delivered before

Margaret Allen

Universal Credit goes live in October and

hsgtp@warwickdc.gov.uk

the other after.

01926 456451

Training Area

Date

Host and Location

Social care and housing of the elderly

30 July 2013

DDH (Daventry)

Aspects of repairs & maintenance

17 September 2013

Riverside (Leicester)

Planning reforms & building new housing

16 October 2013

ASRA (Leicester)

Housing Law

12 November 2013

DDH (Daventry)

New technology as an involvement tool

28 November 2013

Riverside (Leicester)

Impact of welfare and housing benefits reform 2

21 January 2014

Warwick District Council (Leamington Spa)

Financial exclusion

19 February 2014

Whitefriars (Coventry)

Housing: the bigger picture (anticipating new developments and challenges)

18 March 2014

Warwick District Council (Leamington Spa)

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? e m o h r u o y is e f a s w o H Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to take up its offer of a Free Home Fire Safety Check in a bid to increase the safety of homes across Warwickshire. In the last few years, firefighters have carried out thousands of checks, which offer key fire safety advice on escape route planning, kitchen and electrical fire safety, and smoke detection. Guidance is also given on the safe use of

FREEre

Fi Home eck Ch Safety

candles, portable heaters and electric blankets. Each check takes around 30-40 minutes and can be arranged for a time to suit you. Where necessary smoke detectors are also fitted to ensure that residents get the early warning they need should there be a fire in their home. Statistically, certain groups of people in the community are at greater risk from fire. Priority will be given to these groups in order to maximise the Fire Service’s efforts to reduce avoidable fires and injuries. These groups are as follows:

Station Manager for Leamington Fire Station, Jon Dixon said: “No one can afford to underestimate how important a working smoke alarm can be. Our checks are targeted at the most vulnerable and in areas where we know there

Families with young children

Single parent families

People on low incomes

The elderly

People with a disability

People with a drug or alcohol dependency

Victims of dwelling fires

If you think you may be at risk or have a

People living in Houses in Multiple Occupation

vulnerable family member or friend who you feel

is a high risk of fire. This has been really effective in protecting the most vulnerable members of our community and I would like to ensure that the excellent work continues.”

would benefit from this free service, then please call our helpline today on 01926 466282.

Contact Ellie Phillips for more information: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/firesafetycheck ellie.phillips@warwickdc.gov.uk 01926 456067

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Alternatively you can complete an application form via our website at; www.warwickshire.gov.uk/firesafetycheck


Annual

Welcome We are delighted to present to you the 2012/13 Annual Report to Tenants. This report will show you how your

Report

housing service has been doing over the last financial year. It has been a busy 12 months and in the autumn of 2012 we sent all of our Tenants and Leaseholders a survey to

2013

find the level of satisfaction of the overall Housing Service and on various areas within the service. We were thrilled to see a fantastic 36% responded. This was one of the largest consultations we have done in the past few years and we

Housing and Property Services

will use this feedback to make improvements to the service.

performance during financial

The report shows we have also been continuing with our programme of maintaining and improving your homes,

year 2012 / 2013

as well as ensuring your homes are safe and sound! You will also see that we have been trying to increase and improve the ways you can contact us and have introduced Facebook and Twitter so follow us if you can. We also have had lots of people visiting the website and calling the customer service centre.

Welcome by Councillor Norman Vincett,

We hope you find this report useful and interesting. If you

Portfolio Holder for Housing & Property Services

have any comments or suggestions please let us know.

Jameel Malik, Head of Housing & Property Services & Rob Harris, Chair of the Tenants Panel

Communication and Contact In Autumn 2012, Housing and Property Services sent out a satisfaction

Visits to our website 1 April 2012 - 31 March 2013

survey called the ‘STAR Survey’ to all tenants and leaseholders in

65,000+

Warwick District. The satisfaction of the following tenant types was:

Visits to Housing pages on the WDC website

91%

85%

Older People Housing

General Housing

49% Leaseholder Housing

318,000 Visits to HomeChoice

4,600 Rent Statements checked online

The types of phone calls handled by

The Customer Service Centre is open:

our Customer Service Team are:

Mon - Thu 8am - 7pm | Fri 8am - 6pm | Sat 9am - 1pm

52% Repairs We answer 31% Housing Officers 17% HomeChoice

seconds

mins secs

16,505

Average time

Longest

repairs calls

to answer repairs call

waiting time

an average of


189

Communication and Contact

Complaints were received

continued During this year the following service

33

areas received this many complaints:

were upheld 30 Housing Management

27

13 Rents & Finance

partially upheld 121 Repairs & Maintenance

22 Housing Strategy

3 Leaseholders

Moving In & Moving Out HOMECHOICE

Breakdown of bedroom types in WDC properties:

At the end of March 2013

The amount

1,463 1 Bedroom

of people registered with

2,002 2 Bedrooms

HomeChoice was...

3,171

1,985 3 Bedrooms 58 4 Bedrooms

4 5 Bedrooms

In 2012

during 2012

It took an average of

On average there were

properties were let

became empty

days to re-let a property

offers per letting

323

293

38.8

1.38

In 2012 lettings took place in these months: 36

34

31

28

24

33

27

30

28

Mar

Jan

Dec

Nov

Oct

Sep

Aug

Jul

Jun

May

Feb

15

9 Apr

28

The top 5 reasons to refuse a property were:

1 2 40 people

Did not like

the property

32 people Gave no response to offer

3

27 people Said property was too small

4

26 people Said property in wrong area

17 people

5 Withdrew offer


Looking After Your Home We have a continual program of maintaining properties. In 2012/13 we have replaced:

47

187

56

30

88

62

150

Roofs

Kitchens &

Kitchens

Bathrooms

Windows

Windows

Doors

Bathrooms

only

only

& Doors

only

only

In addition to this, most properties had these checks and services:

99.6%

92%

93%

Of properties have had a gas

Of properties have an

Of properties have had an

service within the last 12 months

up to date electricity test

asbestos management survey

We also carry out adaptations to properties to make them more suited to tenants needs. These are the types of adaptation requests we have received and the amount we have competed in 2012/13: Application Received

Adaptation Completed

Level Access Showers

23

Level Access Showers & Stairlift

1

9

Level Access Showers & Other Work

4

10

Stairlift

1

Ramp

1

Extension

0

Other Work

1

64

4 5 1 12

In 2012/13 our contractors attended:

However:

83 jobs were

The average time between reporting

3,179

2,669

cancelled because

routine

emergency

could not access

4.8

repair jobs

repair jobs

the property

days

the contractor

and repair was


Communities & Participation

71 Affordable Homes were completed

Monthly Tenant Panel meetings give

The Tenant Panel is now

In 2012/13

members the chance to understand and

3

challenge the performance of the service.

years old

171

people registered with HomeChoice

Financial Facts

£82

The average weekly rent is

£23,870,252

99.2%

£159,233

is the amount of rent to be

of that rent is

is the amount of rent lost

collected over 2012/13 (net)

actually collected

due to empty properties

2,459

3,461

tenants pay their rent

tenants receive

by Direct Debit

Housing Benefit

487 tenants have WDC Home Contents Insurance

2nd partial 14th

83% pay on the 14th 17% pay on the 2nd

full

24

333

tenants were

former tenants

evicted in 2012

have arrears

67% full Housing Benefit 33% partial Housing Benefit 2,072 no Housing Benefit

The value of former tenants arrears is

£452,931

The rent collected by Warwick District Council is spent in these ways: 14% Put aside to meet future expenditure 16% Management & Tenant Services 21% Interest on loans

49% Maintaining Homes


Facebook &Twitter This is a new initiative from Warwickshire Police that goes the extra mile when it comes to protecting communities and catching those people who commit the most crime. The campaign focuses on the main Policing Areas in

Do you ‘like’ us?

Leamington, Nuneaton and Rugby, but police officers from Operation X’s specialised teams are able to quickly respond to incidents throughout the county as the following case study shows.

eviction Partnership working results in

You can now keep in touch with your housing team by social media! You can

A joint operation last December between Operation X police officers and

“Like” us on Facebook

Warwick District Council’s housing enforcement team led to the eviction

and you can follow us

of one Lillington resident who was making other tenants’ lives a misery.

on Twitter. These are

A string of anti-social behaviour incidents had been occurring throughout 2012 at Eden Court with many residents living in fear for their own safety. By October it had become regular weekend house parties, often ending in public disorder. Operation X police teams worked closely with Warwick District Council to enforce a closure order that led to magistrates banning the resident from entering the whole of Eden Court for three months. A full eviction then came into effect with the resident no longer allowed to live in Warwick district and/or enter certain accommodation within Lillington.

both great ways of sharing information, commenting on something you’ve seen or read about housing, or asking us a question. Tenantstogether @tenantstog

“This is just one example of the excellent partnership we have with Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council” said Safer Neighbourhood Team Sergeant, Paul Calver, who was

Don’t worry if you aren’t

involved in this operation. “Many of the Eden Court residents

using social media – we

were relieved at the positive action that was taken.”

are still available by the usual channels; website, email and phone!

Where can I find out more about Operation X: @WarksPolice_OpX

or find us on Facebook

www.warwickshire.police.uk/OpX

01926 415000

15


Ask Lisa

Her ans wers might h elp you if you ha ve any similar c oncerns

Our Income Recovery Officer, Lisa Crossland, takes us through some of the letters and emails she has received from tenants. I have been suffering with depression Q

“I have been suffering with

A

Overpayments for Tax Credits

losing my job, I have really

do fall into the ‘priority debt

depression, and part of that has

struggled to pay and lately have

category’ because repayment

been not being able to open my

just tried to ignore them. I am not

deductions can be made from

post, not answering the door,

sure which debts are most important

ongoing tax credits, and from certain

and most recently starting

(priority) and I know I have a Tax

benefits, by reducing the tax code

to ignore phone calls.

Credits overpayment.

or through the same enforcement

I have some debts, that since

Can you advise on this?”

methods as income tax.

I have been struggling with my Gas & Electricity bills lately. Q

You could also look for a mutual

free and completely impartial.

Gas & Electricity bills lately. I live

exchange via Home Swapper.

If you have any arrears, your

in a 3 bedroom house and have

With regard to your Gas and

current supplier may

two children under 7, I don’t really

Electricity, if you have a clear

not allow you

want to move but I am affected

account and no arrears you could

to move supply,

by the Under Occupation and

switch supplier. If you have access to

and suggest a re-

would consider downsizing to a

the internet, look up ‘energyhelpline.

payment plan that

2 bedroom property. Also I am

com’, or phone them on 0800 074

is not affordable,

struggling with the bills living off

0745. They only require a few pieces

so you may

benefits, what are my options?”

of simple information to switch

have to opt

to a new gas/electricity supplier.

for pre-

When you compare suppliers,

payment

with our lettings department, and

you will be asked for some basic

meters.

explain you are in a 3 bedroom

details, like your postcode. If you

house and would like to downsize.

have an energy bill handy, then

They have a scheme, which could

you can input your exact energy

help you but only for people living

usage. Otherwise, you can specify

in 3 + bedroom properties. You can

whether you are a low, medium

contact them on 01926 456424.

or high level user. Their service is

A

“I have been struggling with my

Your first option is to speak

Contact Lisa with your questions: hsgwelfare@warwickdc.gov.uk

Housing Services, PO Box 2175, Warwick District Council,

01926 456454

Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 5QE

16


I am really struggling to meet the shortfall out of my JSA Q

“I have got a reduction in my Housing Benefit since these

new rules about Under Occupation came in, and I am really struggling to meet the shortfall out of my Jobseekers Allowance. I am trying hard to look for a job but it is taking time. Are there any options to help me financially until I find work?”

A

You could apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment – you can

request an application form from the benefits team. This is a temporary payment and not a long term solution to your problem. Once they have received your application it will be assessed and they will write to you to let you know the outcome.To request a form or for further advice contact 01926 412466.

Universal Credit Q

“I am confused as to when

Tax Credit or Housing

Universal Credit begins. Can you

Benefit previously, not just

give me some information on the

unemployed people.

timescale?”

A

The DWP expect around There are currently around

500,000 people will make a

12.5 million claims in place for the

new claim for Universal Credit

benefits that will be replaced by

during this time.

Universal Credit. Because of the

The DWP also estimate that

number of people affected the

around 500,000 existing benefit

introduction of UC will be phased in

claimants will move off their

between 2013 and 2017.

old benefit and on to Universal Credit when they have a

From 29 April 2013 newly

significant change of circumstances,

to identify 3.5 million existing benefit

unemployed people in one of the

such as starting a new job or when

claimants ‘who will benefit most

Pathfinder pilot areas, Ashton-

a child is born. This is known as

from transition’.

under-Lyne, will claim Universal

‘natural migration’. From the end of 2015 -

Credit (UC) rather than Jobseeker’s From April 2014 - late 2015

October 2017

From April 2014 the DWP intend

Around 3 million households

October 2013 - April 2014

that all new claims from working age

receiving Housing Benefit will be

From October 2013 a ‘phased roll

people, everywhere in Great Britain,

transferred to Universal Credit on a

out’ will begin, with one district per

will be for UC instead of the benefits

local authority boundary basis under

region taking on new UC claims.

it replaces. Pensioners will still be

‘managed migration’ as the old

It is expected that this roll out will

able to claim Housing Benefit until

benefit system winds down. New

include claims from people in work,

October 2014.

claims for UC and ‘natural migration’

who would have claimed Working

During this period the DWP also aim

on to UC will continue as well.

Allowance (JSA).

17


Ask Lisa

Continued...

I have received a letter, and it says I am in arrears? Q

“I have received a letter from

The rules

Warwick DC Income Recovery Team,

One room for the tenant and their partner

and it says I am in arrears? I have

One room for each person or couple

never been in arrears and don’t know why this could have happened, it

over 16 •

mentioned something about a charge for Under Occupying? I don’t know

A child under 16 is expected to share with another of the same gender

A child under 10 is expected to

about this or understand why my

share with another, regardless of

housing benefit has been reduced?”

gender •

A

From 1 April the government

disabled tenant or partner who

brought into force new rules for people who under occupy their homes.

One spare room allowed for a needs a non-resident

Foster children are not counted as

Under Occupation means you have

part of the household for benefit

bedroom/s in excess of your need.

purposes.

upying contact: 01926 456454

For more information or examples about Under Occ

I have fallen into rent arrears due to losing my job Q

“I have fallen into rent arrears due to losing my job two months ago. I am

married with two small children, and have never claimed any benefits in my

When is the Benefit Cap being introduced?

life. I have been advised we are at risk of losing our home unless we pay the arrears or claim benefits. Can you advise what benefits I need to claim and

Q

any other options available to us while I am out of work?”

times in different areas?”

A

Firstly you need to see if you can claim Housing Benefit and that your

A

“I have heard it’s different

From 15 April 2013, the

entitlement is accurate. Providing up to date information will ensure your

benefit cap is being applied in

claim is correctly assessed.

four London boroughs.

You can consider making an application

The Government intends that

for a discretionary housing payment,

the cap will be introduced

if all of your rent is not covered by

in all other council areas

housing benefit. You can request

between 15 July and 30

your arrears repayments are taken straight from your benefit via direct deductions.

18

September 2013.


Are you covered? Home Contents Insurance

For some considerable time the maximum amount of cover offered to tenants by the WDC Contents New e Insurance scheme hur c o r b was £25,000 at a able l i a v a weekly cost of £3. pleased to announce that they have agreed to increase the maximum amount of cover to £35,000 at a weekly cost of £4.20.

Sum Insured

Standard

Standard Cover

Cover £6,000

£0.72

£21,000

£2.52

£7,000

£0.84

£22,000

£2.64

Only available to people over 65

£23,000

£2.76

£8,000

£0.96

£24,000

£2.88

£9,000

£1.08

£25,000

£3.00

£10,000

£1.20

£26,000

£3.12

£11,000

£1.32

£27,000

£3.24

£12,000

£1.44

£28,000

£3.36

£13,000

£1.56

£29,000

£3.48

£14,000

£1.68

£30,000

£3.60

£15,000

£1.80

£31,000

£3.72

£16,000

£1.92

£32,000

£3.84

£17,000

£2.04

£33,000

£3.96

£18,000

£2.16

£34,000

£4.08

£19,000

£2.28

£35,000

£4.20

£20,000

£2.40

For a new brochure or to take out contents insurance with us please contact us:

Switch your payments to Direct Debit and relax! Direct Debit is a simple, convenient way to make sure your payments are made on a of money is taken from your bank account automatically on 2nd, or 14th of each month.

Weekly Cost Sum Insured

Direct Debit

regular basis. An agreed amount

We have been speaking to our brokers about this and are

Weekly Cost

Pay your bills by

So you don’t have to worry about falling behind with your important bills.

For further information about paying by Direct Debit or if you have any questions, please contact our Rents Team on:

www.warwickdc.gov.uk under insurance.

hsgfin@warwickdc.gov.uk

01926 456445 or 01926 456408

01926 456409

19


Budgeting & Employment Advice Residents living in the Warwick District are invited to take advantage of a service that aims to help them take control of their financial situation and also get back to work.

She can also help with employment advice exploring career choices: preparing a CV;

Coventry and Warwickshire Co-operative Development

online job searches and applications; interview

Agency is a not-for-profit organisation that provides advice

techniques and information on training courses.

on employment and finances. Drop in and see Leah at Warwick District Council, Budgeting Assistant Leah Hutchby, can offer help with

Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington

budgeting advice, changing to cheaper utility providers

Spa CV32 5RU every Thursday between 10am and

and general budgeting tips to make household budgets go

4pm, or you can contact her on 07925352672 or email

further and also help people with their debts and get them

l.hutchby@cwcda.co.uk to make an appointment or

access to free advice.

for more information.

Warwick District

Take Up Project Warwickshire Welfare Rights Advice Service is a charity that has been providing free, independent and confidential advice on welfare benefits to Warwickshire residents for the past twenty seven years.

Are you claiming your full benefit entitlement? When did you last have your benefit entitlement assessed? How will the welfare reform changes affect you? If you need help or advice on any of these things then WWRAS may be able to help you?

The Benefits Take Up Project is funded by Warwick District Council and we work in partnership with

In 2012/13 through our Benefits Take Up work for

the local Citizens Advice Bureau and Coventry &

Warwick District residents, we secured financial gains

Warwickshire Co-Operative Development Agency to

for residents of ÂŁ232,561. Following our advice and

tackle financial inclusion issues in the District.

assistance these residents were better off by just under

Our particular project focuses on raising awareness

ÂŁ55 per week.

and increasing the take up of Social Security benefits by carrying out benefit checks, establishing benefit

If you would like to have your benefit entitlement

entitlement, completing claim forms and monitoring the

assessed, please contact the business support team at

progress of claims submitted to ensure that you receive

info@wwras.org.uk or call 02476 372069 and ask for a

your full entitlement.

call back quoting the reference WDC/TTU.

20


What’s on! Looking for places to go over the summer? Then look no further than the district – here are just some of the events on for you to enjoy and all of them are free entry for you and your family. July Warwick Lions Beer Festival

August

September

19 – 20 July

Retro Warwick Classic Car Show

Leamington BID Food & Drink Festival

Warwick Racecourse, Warwick

11 August

7 – 8 September

Market Place, Warwick

Pump Room Gardens, Leamington

Leamington & Warwick Mela Cultural Festival

Bowls England Top Club Championships

11 August

14 – 15 September

Pump Room Gardens, Leamington

Victoria Park, Leamington

Visually Impaired Bowls England Nationals

Leamington 100 Car & Bike Show

18 – 23 August

22 September

Victoria Park, Leamington Spa

Pump Room Gardens, Leamington

Warwick Horticultural Society Annual Show

Stroke Association Fundraising Event

24 – 26 August

29 September

St Nicholas Park, Warwick

Victoria Park,

Barkers Fun Fair 25 July – 4 August Pump Room Gardens, Leamington

Lillington Community Fun Day 27 July The Holt, Lillington

Bowls England Women’s National Championships 27 July – 11 August Victoria Park, Leamington

Farmers Market

Leamington

27 July Pump Rooms, Leamington

Warwick Folk Festival 27 – 28 July Warwick Town Centre

Markets Every Thursday: Traditional Market – Abbey End, Kenilworth

Every Sat: Traditional Market – Market Place, Warwick

Every Sun until 11 August Craft & Vintage Market, Market Place, Warwick

21


A Day in the Life... of Michael Woodfield, Assistant Area Engineer 12:00 pm

7:45 am Michael is one of the first in the office.

Around lunchtime Michael is back in

It is important he is in early to check

the office and he uses this time to run

emails and respond to any queries

new jobs through the Bill of Quantity

that may have come in overnight.

Framework. A job will be entered into the system and three pre-approved

8:00 am

contractors will provide quotes. This framework is in place to achieve

Michael starts dealing with queries

the best possible value for money for

and if a job is due to start then he will

the council.

arrange a site visit that day to advise the contractors and explain how he wants the job to be done.

12:30 pm Lunch!

10:00 am Site visits – Michael will go out

1:00 pm

and visit any current jobs that are

Michael checks his emails again

starting or that he has had a request

and takes any calls that come in.

to visit from the contractors. Often

An important part of his role is to

contractors will request a visit if they

prioritise jobs and public safety is

hit a problem such as a tree being

always the main priority. Today he

in the way and Michael will go out

has had a call from a gentleman to

and advise on a solution. Michael

say there is no street name plate

was actually a contractor himself

for Rugby Road on the Cubbington

for 22 years before becoming an

Island. A colleague from another

engineer for the council and he

department has also called to

says that this really helps him relate

report that part of a foot bridge has

to the contractors and understand

collapsed at Warwick Racecourse

how they work which, gets the job

(part that is in public land). The

done! Michael will visit numerous

damaged foot bridge is obviously a

different sites across the district

priority and Michael arranges a site

although he admits his favourite

visit this afternoon.

sites to visit are the care homes. He says the welcome and appreciation he gets from the elderly when a job

2:30 pm

is complete, no matter how small,

Michael goes out on site visits again.

makes his day!

Although engineers can carry out

22


This issue we visit one of our Housing Engineers, Michael, who is responsible for organising the repair and maintenance of alleyways, benches, street signs, all tarmac and slabbed areas, car parks and multi-storey car parks as well as the parks and public spaces of Leamington Spa.

Don’s

Gardening Tips Our Tenant, Don, has very kindly sent us his gardening tips, we hope you will find useful. July and August the two months

site visits any time of the day he

when slugs and snails abound and

prefers to do a morning slot and

are hard to control.

a late afternoon visit to give the contractors a chance to get on with

Two plants you can grow in your

their work during the day. Michael

garden that will control the slugs

heads out to Warwick Racecourse

are Sapracenia Purpurea and

to see that part of the bridge has

Venosa, but they are expensive

fallen into the water. His priority

approximately ÂŁ8 each but they

is to secure the site and get a job

do control slugs.

booked in ASAP. He is finishing

A packet of slug and snail powder

his day onsite where some tree pit

from any good gardening centre will

removals are taking place. Michael

do the trick (some garden

is keen to ensure the site is left

centres will sell on the

safe and all barriers, cones and

basis of buy 2 and get one

signs are in the correct place as

free for both plants and powders).

the street is on a school route and

Do not buy snail

children will be walking by.

traps, when used by snails a very bad

4:00 pm

odour occurs.

After a busy day Michael is finished.

September

After work and during most of his

Clean flower beds of

spare time Michael has quite an

dead plants and turn

interesting hobby. He collects Zulu

the soil between the

war weaponry including; shields,

plants for aeration

spears, axes, clubs and knobkerrie

and then give feed.

(you can Google that one!) Michael has built up quite an impressive collection over the past 15 years with around 400/500 pieces in his collection!

23


Spotlight on

The Sydni Centre The Sydni Centre sits at the heart of the community, and as well running many activities that take place every day, it also has a café open daily for snacks and lunches. Here are some of the Sydni Centre’s wide range of activities and events; you can see our full schedule at www.sydni.org.uk. Tuesdays

vegetables. There’s always a recipe card to help you with your cooking!

10am – 12noon Online basics Learn about the web, surfing and all things computing.

Fridays 12noon

1pm – 4.45pm IT Drop-in

Police Drop-in Session

Drop-in and ask us about any

Come along with any questions or

computer or IT issues you

concerns you might have about the

might have.

local community.

Wednesdays

1.45pm – 3.30pm Bingo! This needs no explanation, but is a

9.30am – 12noon

great way to come and meet people

English Lessons

and have a fun few hours on a

For those whose first language is

Friday!

not English, you can sign up for lessons to help you improve your understanding of the basics.

Thursdays From 12 noon Food Co-op

Every day 9am – 2pm every day. The café There’s a range of drinks and snacks or you can have a cooked meal all at very reasonable prices!

Place your order the week before and then call in with your carrier bag and your payment (£3 small or £4.50 large). The Food bags are usually around 50% cheaper than you’d buy the same fruit and vegetables for in the supermarkets and it’s a great way to get your 5 a day, but also to try new and different

24

Holiday Activities Check out our fun activities for youngsters over the school holidays. There will be something for them to do every week! For ages 5 – 16 years, just use the contacts opposite for more information.


The Sydni Centre, located on the Sydenham Estate in Leamington Spa is a community centre that provides local residents with facilities for information, recreation, sport, education and leisure. The Centre was created to bring a diverse group of residents, from many different cultures, together offering community opportunities and support in a warm and welcoming environment.

people in

ACTION

Based at the Sydni Centre, is a support service for adults in the community with learning difficulties.

We have lots of volunteering opportunities at the Sydni Centre, in the office and also outside in the garden, so do get in touch if

A few hours to spare?

you are interested in helping out – it can be very rewarding.

It provides a structured timetable of events, in a calm and friendly environment, but with the opportunity to

ntre

Get in touch with The Sydni Ce

access the Sydni Centre facilities if they want to. Activities run throughout the week and these include; Cake baking Cake decorating The great outdoors Keep fit Drama And much more! You can drop in and find out more, or you could be referred by your doctor or social service team.

You can keep up to date with news, events and activities on Twitter and on the website. Or you can just drop in for a coffee and a chat if you prefer. Twitter @SYDNIcentre www.sydni.org

01926 422071

Activities need to be booked and paid for. Contact People in Action: admin2@people-in-action.co.uk Alex Howell 07825 720111

Meet the cafĂŠ staff...

25


Macaroni Bolognese e Kitchen Garden Cak

Try out this quick and easy recipe which has been sent in by one of our tenants. Ingredients

If you like a slice of cake with your cup of tea, here’s a recipe from one

Serves 4

To make •

of our tenants, Lilian Brocklehurst of Fallow Hill.

Ingredients

cooking, brown the mince •

500g lean minced beef

1 chopped onion

1 crushed clove of garlic

1 small chopped chilli or a

Worcestershire sauce

Add the onion and garlic

teaspoon of chilli powder

and cook for another 5 minutes

and cook for 1 minute •

Add the tomatoes and

180g soft margarine

3 eggs

1 tin chopped tomatoes

Half teaspoon ground nutmeg

Splash of Worcestershire

120g grated carrot

120g grated eating apple

Salt and pepper to taste

Drain macaroni

180g caster sugar

Gravy powder/granules/

Add a knob of butter and

225g self-raising flour

120g parsnips

200g macaroni

120g potato

100g cheddar cheese

return to the heat and melt

Zest and juice of 1 orange

25g butter/marg

slowly, then take off heat

Salt and pepper to taste

• •

Cream together the margarine and sugar and beat in the eggs

Sieve together the flour and nutmeg and fold mixture along with the carrot, parsnip, potato and apple

Stir in zest and juice

Turn into a 20cm cake tin and bake for 50-60 minutes until the skewer comes out clean

Turn onto wire rack to cool

26 30

Add the thickening and remove from the heat

cornflour to thicken slightly

salt and pepper to taste •

Add the cheese and

Put the mince mixture into a heat proof dish and cover with

All you need to do is, heat the oven to gas mark 4/180c/350f

sauce

To make

Recipes

Whilst the pasta is

macaroni and finally sprinkle

h wit d e v Ser c brea li d gar d sala an

with a bit more cheese and then brown under the grill.


h c r a e s d Wor

RetroWarwick WIN You can enjoy a variety of retro and vintage cars at the RetroWarwick Classic Car Show on 11 August in Warwick’s Market Place – it’s free!

a £40 ASDA Gift card or one of the four runners-up prizes of a £5 ASDA Gift Card! One word from the word bank opposite is not in the puzzle. If you

N W P B L G X C J R

X

V W G C A W E

N

R W Y Z L

K

E O F S Y U T Y Q Z M

R

R E T

Q

T

L R T O O B C R E E

Address

K

V

E C C S

...........................................................................................

K P E

N P D H S V C K C U E E T R O L D P K N A T L X A J D K N M P T B

M

I

C

O H Z S S D E T W S B

L

I

T F I

J

J

V B

T Q D B U T E R

I

P

R Y H Y R

R R O R J Q

I

U H B

SUMP

BUMPER

PETROL

MIRROR

FILTER

BOOT

WINDSCREEN

TANK

AXLE

TYRE

BRAKE

CLUTCH

BATTERY

I

can find it, complete the form below

Z

and post it to us before 30 August 2013. In the event of a tie, first out of the hat wins. Name ...........................................................................................

...........................................................................................

Tel

..................................................................................

The missing word is ...........................................................................................

Send your entries to: Fiona Walsh Housing & Property Services PO Box 2175 Warwick District Council Riverside House, Milverton Hill Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 5QE

Wordsearch Winners Congratulations to Mrs Richards from Warwick, she wins a £40 TESCO Gift Card. for finding the missing word SPONGE. Why not have a go, it could be you next time!


Housing Directory Repairs

01926 412828

Council Housing Estates Supervisors

contactus@warwickdc.gov.uk Pay your rent by phone

E: hsgem@warwickdc.gov.uk

Housing Advice, HomeChoice and Homelessness

Eileen McKeogh,

T: 01926 456427/428/359

Managing Your finances

Christine Ledger Square T: 07866 609655 John Lamb, Fallow Hill/Stamford Gardens/Binswood Street (grounds maintenance only) T: 07866 609674 Andy Smith, Kennedy/St Paul’s Square T: 07866 609657

HomeChoice T: 01926 412828 E: hadvice@warwickdc.gov.uk

Housing Officer

Lisa Crossland T: 01926 456454 E: hsgwelfare@warwickdc.gov.uk

T: 01926 412828

Supporting People Services

E: hsgem@warwickdc.gov.uk

T: 01926 456406

Housing Enquiries T: 01926 412828 E: hsgrep@warwickdc.gov.uk

Ant Collins, New Brook Street/ Radcliffe Gardens/

Leaseholder Enquiries

Westbrook House/Dell House/

E: leaseholdteam@warwickdc.gov.uk

44 Clarendon Square

T: 01926 456450

(grounds maintenance only)

T: FREEPHONE 0800 028 3377

E: sp.services@warwickdc.gov.uk

Tenants’ Contents Insurance Scheme Satnam Sangha T: 01926 456408

Tenancy Enforcement T: 01926 456419

Lettings & Moving Home

E: housing.enforcement@

E: hsglet@warwickdc.gov.uk

warwickdc.gov.uk

Estates Supervisor

Overdue Gas Servicing

T: 07979 486617 / 01926 456444

T: 01926 456035

Tenant Involvement Tenant Panel & Residents Groups Margaret Allen

Grounds Maintenance

Refuse & Recycling

T: 01926 456451

E: hsgm@warwickdc.gov.uk

T: 01926 412464

T: 07866 609656 James Baker, Senior

Tenants Together

T: 01926 456430

Fiona Walsh T: 01926 456447

Fiona Walsh

Rents Problems with paying your home rent

T: 01926 456447

T: 01926 456438/457/435

(Lifeline Service)

E: hsgcr@warwickdc.gov.uk

E: hsgra@warwickdc.gov.uk

T: 24 hour number 01926 339577

Disabled Adaptations

Problems with paying your garage rent

Corporate Complaints

T: 01926 456405

T: 01926 456239

Warwick Response

E: ccms@warwickdc.gov.uk

Garages Applying for a garage

Rent Direct Debit

If you prefer to write, our address is:

Eva Nicholls

Housing and Property Services,

Mrs Darlison/Mrs Leech

T: 01926 456409

Warwick District Council, P.O. Box

T: 01926 456424/5

Garage Repairs T: 01926 412828

Rent Allpay Cards T: 01926 456408

2175, Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 5QE

Tenants together summer2013  

Tenants Together, Home News, Summer 2013, Housing Partnership, Warwick District Council, Tenants, Leaseholders, Information, update

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