Having a secure and safe home, not just a place to sleep, is one of the most important factors in enabling our communities to thrive. It's also one of the biggest areas of activity for the Councils.
Whether it's building new homes that are affordable and good for the environment, or making sure that current buildings are safe enough to live in, housing is a big story in the region.
Each week we'll cover a different topic covering the wide range of challenges faced by housing teams, including homelessness, providing safe spaces for young families, and projects designed to make retirement properties greener.
The blogs below are written by people who work in housing at Adur & Worthing Councils.
See also: Adur and Worthing's housing section
“One of the frequent complaints we receive are around fly-tipping and waste in communal areas.”
Hi, my name is Lisa Baker and I am the Housing Officer covering parts of Lancing, Southwick and Fishersgate. Please check out my blog that looks at the illegal dumping of waste, known as fly-tipping.
The Housing Officer role is very varied and each day brings something new. We are there in order to best support our tenants to maintain their tenancy. This means that we are involved in many different things including; rent arrears, mutual exchanges, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, child protection and estate management.
The job brings many challenges to us, some are upsetting, most are rewarding and all are interesting. One of the frequent complaints we receive are around fly-tipping and waste in communal areas.
Fly-tipping is defined as the “illegal deposit of any waste onto land that does not have a licence to accept it.” This is a huge problem countrywide. As well as being unsightly and sometimes hazardous, it costs landowners and councils thousands of pounds each year to remove. With budgets being reduced, this is a bill that nobody can afford to pay.
In recent years, Fire Safety has also come to everyone's attention.This has led to a number of tasks that we are trying to complete. Items being left in communal areas is an issue we are trying to resolve, but it's not easy. We understand that storage is not always available, or some residents have problems with stairs, however we cannot have items stored on landings. The risk to everyone who lives in the block is too high. If there is a genuine need for support, please contact your Housing Officer.
As a trial to tackle these problems, reduce the number of complaints and to make our estates a nicer place to live, we have organised a number of Waste Amnesties for our residents. They are designed to encourage residents to work with us to make their areas nicer places to be. The amnesty works in a specific way. Letters are sent to each resident advising them of the date the amnesty is taking place. The letter includes a map where residents can leave their unwanted belongings or rubbish. Waste Services will then remove the items. Any that can be recycled will be.
While Waste Services are collecting the unwanted belongings, Housing Officers will be inspecting all of the hallways and landings. If any items remain, we will also remove those, however the resident responsible will be recharged the cost of doing so. Items will be stored for 28 days should the resident want to claim them back, but they will have to provide proof of purchase and pay for the removal, storage and administration costs.
We have had two Amnesties to date, with three more currently planned. The first was in Millfield, Sompting. Over five tonnes of rubbish was removed and it is estimated to have saved around £500. The second was in Butts Road, Southwick.
Almost 12 tonnes of waste was removed saving around £1,000, while feedback from residents has also been overwhelmingly positive and we have found whole blocks working together to clear landings, gardens and homes and bringing communities closer.
Waste amnesty dates:
- 30th September 2022: Fishersgate
- 2nd November 2022: Warren Court and Tower Road Flats in Sompting
We really do want to make your estates a more pleasant place to be, but we do not have a large budget.
If you have any ideas on how we can make a difference, please contact your Housing Officer at:
Photos: Clearing rubbish at the previous waste amnesty and clearance day at Millfield, in Sompting
Imogen is from Cratus' Communities team and acts as a Resident Liaison Officer for the Southwick Estate. Imogen's main responsibilities include liaising with residents to make sure they are heard and helped, alongside organising consultations and meetings for the community to stay up to date with the future plans for the Southwick Estate.
Adur District Council is working on the options for the Southwick Estate, which needs a lot of work to bring it up to modern housing standards. There are many ways this could be done, from refurbishment to rebuilding all the flats and that is where the consultation has come into play.
We know how important people’s homes are, and there is a strong sense of community spirit on the estate, as well as challenges on some properties. We also know that uncertainty and change can be stressful.
So we want the residents of the estate to have a say in what happens to their homes. It’s really important that the next steps are shaped by their feedback and priorities.
We want as many people as possible to get involved in the consultation process. We’ve been consulting with residents since July 2021. This has included pop-up consultations and monthly Resident Working Group meetings.
We know that some people can’t make it to meetings and we’ve also sent physical and online letters, and knocked on doors: we really went out of our way to speak to people.
Photo: At the consultation event looking at the exhibition
Residents were first asked what they liked and disliked about the estate as well as their priorities for the future. So we know that residents value quality open spaces, parking, safety and security, as well as insulation, for example.
We initially developed four options:
- Repairs and Refurbishment
- New Home and Improvement Works
- Partial Redevelopment
- Full Redevelopment
Whilst many people currently feel that they do not have enough information to decide, the most popular options are to keep the buildings but continue with an extensive repairs and refurbishment (known as ‘option 1’ in the consultations’) and full redevelopment (‘option 4’). Based on your feedback, we will focus on these two options.
The Council has also hired a team of independent resident advisors (New Mill) who specialise in helping people with housing change. Although paid for by the Council, New Mill advisors work for Southwick residents and are available to speak to you confidentially about any leaseholder or tenant matters.
New Mill are also in the process of working with residents on a Residents’ Charter which will lay out the commitments the Council is making to the Southwick Estate residents.
As well as the current Resident Working Group meetings, there will also be leaseholder sub-group meetings beginning this month to address any leaseholder queries. We will also arrange regular walkabouts on the estate with residents, officers and councillors to identify any ongoing concerns.
Photo: Southwick Estate pictured from Albion Street
What happens next?
For the next series of events, we will focus on giving much more information about Option 1 and 4, with extra information on how either would affect tenants and leaseholders.
We have noted down all your questions and queries and have already started using them to make changes to the proposals. We will answer more of your questions at the next stage, and be out and about again gathering your feedback and choice of option between 1 (Repairs and Refurbishment), and 4 (Full Redevelopment). We aim to hold the next round of consultation in October or November.
After this, the team will look at resident feedback and financial implications and will name the community’s ‘preferred option’. We aim to make a Council recommendation on the preferred option by January.
If the Council agrees then residents will have a chance to officially vote on whether they would like this option to go ahead. This is known as a resident ballot. An offer booklet giving detailed information about the options will be sent to every home before voting, and you can ask the Independent Resident Advisors for help if needed.
Subject to agreement, we plan to hold the resident ballot early in the new year.
Photo: Southwick Estate
“Replacing this gas consumption with environmentally-friendly alternatives will be one of the big challenges.”
Hi - my name's Dan Goodchild and I'm Adur & Worthing Councils' Carbon Reduction Manager.
In this week's blog I would like to focus on some of the innovative and pioneering ways we are trying to reduce our carbon footprint
One of our biggest sources of carbon emissions is housing, with homes across the UK responsible for about 17% of the country's total carbon emissions and an overwhelming reliance on burning fossil fuels for heating. Add to that the unprecedented energy price rises seen this year and we've certainly got a lot of work ahead of us!
As far as the Councils go, about 20% of the gas the Council buys each year is used for communal heating in Adur Homes properties. Replacing this gas consumption with environmentally-friendly alternatives will be one of the big challenges as we move towards our target to be carbon neutral by 2030.
I am pleased to say that we have recently done this at two sheltered housing sites in Lancing and Shoreham. Residents here now only use 'ground-source heat pumps' for their heating and hot water.
Heat pumps work by using electricity to move heat from one place to another - in this case, taking heat from the ground and using it to warm water that is pumped around radiators in flats. They work in the same way - but in the opposite direction - as your fridge at home. Your fridge moves heat from the inside to the outside, cooling your food but heating up the space behind your fridge. Using this type of system to provide heating and hot water to buildings is often three times more efficient than a gas boiler, so less energy is needed in the first place and fewer carbon emissions are released.
The two sites, Shadwells Court on the Mash Barn estate in Lancing and Tollbridge House near the Amsterdam Inn in Shoreham, both had old and inefficient heating systems which used gas. The systems were unreliable and, when they were working, they were hard for residents to control.
The Council used Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme money - central government funding aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of the public sector - to upgrade the heating systems at each of the sites. Firstly, loft insulation was topped up to ensure as little heat as possible was being lost through the buildings' fabric.
We then worked with Kensa Contracting to complete a lot of drilling: about 4km of pipework was buried! We connected these new boreholes to individual heat pumps which are located in cupboards outside of residents' flats. This was very messy at the time, but a year on from the start of the drilling the sites are looking very neat and the grass has fully regrown.
Photos: Whilst the work to put the pumps in can be relatively noisy and disruptive, once installed, you can't see them.
Because heat pumps work best when the water inside radiators is cooler than traditional systems, we redesigned and replaced each and every radiator and bit of pipework across both sites. These radiators are slightly larger than the old ones, but still fit well within the rooms, look like 'normal radiators' and are warm to the touch. They also provide all residents' hot water needs.
Photo: The newly installed heat pump
We also installed solar panels on three of the roofs at Shadwells Court in order to generate low carbon electricity to further reduce our emissions.
This work was undoubtedly disruptive for residents and we are very grateful for their patience throughout the process. Residents now have a brand new, controllable system that gives each of them the ability to manage their own heating. As the energy price crisis continues to affect each and every one of us, they will at least be consuming less energy and be more in control of their own spending.
Whilst the Councils still have a long way to go in order to meet our targets- to be carbon neutral by 2030 for Council operations and by 2045 for the area as a whole - the installations will reduce emissions by about 80 tonnes per year, and are our first key Adur Homes projects.
The Carbon Reduction team (part of the wider Sustainability Team) was appointed following the Councils' joint declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019 and alongside the adoption of targets.
Page last updated: 03 October 2022