Agenda item

Statement from Council Owned Companies

To receive any statements from Directors of Council Owned Companies.


In accordance with Procedure Rule 4.2.24 the total time allocated to this item shall not exceed 10 minutes, and no Director, except with the consent of Council, shall speak for more than 3 minutes.


Councillor Gary Cowan, Non-Executive Director Loddon Homes Limited

Having achieved Full for Profit Registered Provider Status with the Homes and Communities Agency, Loddon Homes have been focusing on continuing to prepare for future affordable houses, while ensuring that the management and maintenance of our existing 16 homes remain effective.  In preparation for the next batch of homes we are working closely with Wokingham Housing Limited and the Holding Company to look at the best arrangements around our housing company structure and where best to place the assets. 


The new housing policy that the Government has introduced means we must look at how best we manage these new risks within the council housing companies.  We continue to work on producing a full suite of policies and procedures as Loddon Homes Limited evolves having approved a further three policies at our last Board meeting.  In association with this work we are also working on the details of how best to let the first homes on Phoenix Avenue and Fosters Extra Care Schemes with Wokingham Borough Council’s Housing Services and the precise management arrangement for Fosters with Wokingham Borough Council and Optalis.


Our Board meetings always include an item on key performance indicators on how existing homes are being managed.  Based on existing targets, we are up-to-date and performance is looking well to target. 


Lastly, Loddon Homes submitted a bid for a grant for shared ownership homes to the HCA’s Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes programme on 2nd September.  In total we bid for £1.5million of grant to support 18 shared ownership homes we are hoping to build in 2017/18, followed by a further 60 homes based on 15 homes a year thereafter. Any grant we receive will help the Council’s commuted sums for developers go further and produce more affordable homes overall.  We shall hear if a bid for a grant will be successful in December and I will keep Council updated on progress.


Councillor Alistair Auty, Non-Executive Director Wokingham Housing Limited

I will keep my update brief in the absence of the Chair David Chopping who is away this evening.  I would just also like to pass on our congratulations to our sister company Loddon Homes in achieving Registered Provider Status from the HCA, a feather in the cap of the Borough and well deserved.


We continue to progress well with our flagship schemes of Phoenix Avenue and Fosters.  In addition we have just submitted eight smaller sites for Executive approval at the end of this month.  That will positively result in additional capacity and additional affordable homes being delivered into the Borough in the next year, which I think is a positive as well.


Councillor Anthony Pollock, Non-Executive Director Optalis

First I would like to report on a new contract which has been awarded to Optalis for a residential care facility in Maidenhead by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.  This contract commenced on 1 September and incorporation of this contract into Optalis has gone smoothly to date.  I am pleased to have won this piece of business from a neighbouring local authority.


Second, I would like to report on a customer story.  I would like to report on a customer story which illustrates the work that Optalis undertakes and the benefit it gives to vulnerable residents.  Steve and Jackie Bastow who are residents at Oakfield Court, a supported living scheme for people with learning disabilities in Wokingham, have just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.  The couple met at Derwen Training College, a specialist residential training facility in Oswestry in 1980, where Jackie was training to be a dressmaker and Steve was training to be a cobbler.  They were engaged in 1981 but when they left their residential college in 1982 they lived in different parts of the country due to their disabilities and I presume their different parent local authorities, and could only meet in the holidays.  They were determined to stay together however and married in 1986, moving to Oakfield Court in the same year.  Steve and Jackie have overcome several obstacles in their lives including health issues, in addition to the challenges arising from their learning disabilities.  Jackie had to go into hospital in 2000 and Steve had to have a major heart operation in the summer of 2014.  However, Steve said recently that he currently never felt better and they were gearing up for their next adventure as they were off to Greece, I am told, for the nineteenth time travelling to Corfu with an organised group.  This year is also the 30th anniversary of Oakfield Court which was celebrated in August.  Jackie says “I am so grateful to Optalis for everything they have helped me to achieve.  Oakfield Court has helped people with learning and other disabilities over the last 30 years and we are very happy here.”