Each year at our AGM we hold a Directors’ Question Time session where CGA members can put questions to our Executive Leadership Team. The questions in this section are a summary of those which were answered on the night and all other questions raised had a formal response in writing. All the questions and responses are also posted on the CGA website www.communitygateway.co.uk
Am I eligible for a new kitchen?
Andrew Upton: As a result of the rent cut that was imposed by the government we have had to make some reductions across the business, including altering timescales for improvement works. For example with kitchens we used to replace after 20 years, and after consultation with GTC, we now replace after 25 years. However some kitchens may need to be done sooner so it will depend on the individual case.
Why have you changed the venue from PNE - it was good there?
Diane Bellinger: The main reason we moved venue was because many of you told us that you wanted to change the venue. Those of you that have been to PNE will know that it’s been getting fuller and fuller and people felt that they were a bit cramped and didn’t have enough room to move around. So we made a decision to try and find a bigger venue and this was the only venue in Preston that we could use. But if you’d like us to change it again, please let us know.
There is racial abuse within the area and damage to some property, I don’t feel that it’s being dealt with properly. What can CGA do about it?
Louise Mattinson: This is something we are very mindful of, and have been monitoring, as there was an increase in hate crimes reported across the country following the BREXIT vote, although the situation in Preston is much better than in other areas. We are a hate crime reporting centre and our Community Safety Team will take a report and work with all other relevant agencies such as the police, social services etc. to put actions in place to provide support to the victims and resolve the situation.
What is being done about noisy dogs, drugs and communal doors?
Louise Mattinson: All CGA tenants are responsible for their visitors and their animals and if their animals are seen to be causing a problem, then that is a breach of tenancy and it would be our Community Safety Team (CST)that would deal with that. The first thing that we would need to do is make sure that any problems have been reported to our CST. As a landlord we can take action against tenants if there has been a breach of their tenancy conditions. If there is criminal behaviour going on, then we are not able to deal with it alone. Our team do however work closely with the police and we support them on any criminal investigations they are undertaking in relation to our tenants where there may also be a breach of the tenancy agreement and will always pass on details of any criminal activity if it is reported to us.
In Slaidburn Place the hedges at the end of the cul-de-sac are full of rats, rubbish and drug paraphernalia, please can they be removed?
Andrew Upton: The Gateway GreenCare team do a tremendous amount of work with the shrubbery and greenery on our housing estates, and they are looking to carry out further improvements. They do have a list of projects to carry out in different areas where certain things like this are causing a problem, so we will look into this.
What’s the criteria for housing the homeless?
Louise Mattinson: The actual responsibility with housing the homeless rests with the local authorities who will assess the application and make a decision on whether they owed that person a duty of care as a result of homelessness. Both CGA and the local authority are members of the Select Move partnership and if the council have decided that the person or family are owed a duty of care, they will be given priority on the waiting list so that they can be housed, either by us or another housing provider in the partnership much quicker.
What’s happening to the Overton Road time capsule?
Andrew Upton: We’re planning to hold an event with the Overton Rd Group and the residents of our second community led development in Ingol where we’ll put the time capsule in the ground with a plaque, but we’ve not set a date yet.
Is it possible to have CCTV at Aughton Walk area as doors get kicked in?
Louise Mattinson: We do have some schemes where we have CCTV installed, and we’re happy to facilitate this, but any additional services such as this would have a service charge. So there may be other options as well as CCTV to resolve an issue that’s there.
Can Almelo house have some refuse bins again please as theirs have been removed and they no longer have anywhere to put their cuttings and green waste?
Andrew Upton: I presume you mean the council green waste refuse bins. The council has introduced a charge for emptying these bins and have removed the bins if people haven’t signed up to the scheme. We could look in to Gateway GreenCare removing the waste but we would have to pass the cost of this on as a service charge cost to tenants, and it would be more expensive than paying for the council bin service.
The ginnels on my estate have an issue with rubbish, drug dealers and youths congregating - what are CGA doing about it?
Louise Mattinson: The first thing we need to do is get a report to our Community Safety Team they will liaise with the local policing team to get some patrols down there and have a look at that ginnel and disperse the youths.
Are there going to be dropped curbs for wheelchair access at Almelo House?
Andrew Upton: There aren’t any plans for dropped curbs at Almelo as each scheme is very different, but it is something we can come out and have a look at, especially in areas with users of wheelchairs.
Who pays for the lighting in a sealed unit in the bathrooms?
Louise Mattinson: Lighting is the tenant’s responsibility but we do appreciate that some of the bathroom fittings are sealed and are difficult to access, so we will replace that unit if you have one of those for just the cost of the light bulb, we don’t charge anything for the labour.