Agenda item

Members question time under Council Procedure Rule 12

Members question time will last up to 30 minutes, questions will be taken in order of receipt, in rotation from each political group on the Council. The deadline for submission of questions is Monday 12 December 2022 at 12 noon. Questions to be submitted to


Questions received can be asked of the following:


a)     The Chairman

b)     A Member of the Executive

c)     The Chairman of any Committee

d)     The Councils representative on any outside body


Questions cannot be asked on the following


a)     A specific planning or licensing application

b)     A specific staffing appointment, appeal or Standards determination


Rotation One


A Member asked the following question:


 Building condition surveys on the Southwick Estate were completed a year ago and money has since been allocated for the work identified to be carried out without delay.


At the last full council meeting in October, I asked for this work to be prioritised in order to improve insulation in the flats and thus reduce the heating costs for residents. You agreed to take this request to the director of Adur Homes immediately.


Has any work been done in the past two months in response to this request?


The Cabinet Member for Adur Homes and Customer Services made the following response:


The Interim Works package proposed to be undertaken across the Southwick Estate this summer is to rectify fabric building issues to extend the useful life of the buildings until such time as the site is refurbished or re-developed; depending on the outcome of current resident consultation. Works would focus on essential fabric repair works identified by condition surveys and structural appraisals. The proposals include works to windows and balconies, external walls and roofing, which will prevent penetrating damp and reduce draughts that contribute towards high internal moisture levels currently. A full tender package was currently being prepared


A Member asked the following question


Worthing council is currently projected to spend £2.3million over budget this year, even after using reserves.

What measures are Adur council taking not to end up in the same predicament.


The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources made the following response


The most recent budget monitoring forecast estimates that by the end of the year the Council’s General Fund budget will be overspent by just £64,000.


The Council has already taken action to defer expenditure where there are no long term implications behind this approach. The Council is also implementing approved savings early to further improve the position.


Experience would indicate that this position should improve as we move towards the year end although this is being closely monitored.


The Council does hold reserves to help mitigate risks particularly in what is emerging as a very difficult year. Currently our overall usable reserves are £3.3m (excluding grants and those relating to the HRA) which can be used to help manage the risk of overspend.


Rotation Two


A Member asked the following question


Planning permissions were granted in 2021 for the building of 19 homes on ‘hidden homes” garage sites  in Adur. They will provide much-needed social rented homes. Building contracts were awarded in August 2022 to a company which, sadly, went into administration that same month.


New contracts have now been awarded to the “second most successful” tenderers. These contractors will be carrying out the work for less money than the initially successful bid. Given this, is it fair to assume the initially successful builder was awarded the contract on the basis of the quality of their work?


Can the cabinet member tell us what measures will be taken to ensure the quality of work of the newly-appointed builders will equal that of the initially successful tenderer? Will the cabinet member also say what the timescale is for work in terms of demolition, site clearance and of building the new homes?


The Cabinet Member for Adur Homes and Customer Services made the following response:


The Council always looks to ensure that only suitably qualified and experienced contractors take part in the tender contest. This approach ensures that every company who tenders the work will be able to deliver a good quality scheme for the Council. 


Tenders are awarded based on evaluation of criteria set out in an Invitation to Tender.  The criteria enable the Council to establish the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (overall) which relates to several factors relating to cost and quality, with ‘quality’ a broad term which includes assessment of a contractor’s previous experience, staff availability, approach to innovation, sustainability, social value and programme,and  there are often very fine margins on this array of criteria.  


Officers have assured me that the contract was awarded in line with the Council's procurement procedures and the existing legal regulations. A contract will only ever be awarded if the Council is certain that the contractor can deliver the contract to a high standard.


With regards to the detailed timetable, I will ask officers to share this with ward members at the same time as contacting affected neighbours and other stakeholders. Developments are likely to commence in the spring once the necessary legal notices have been sent out and vacant possession secured. The build will last approximately twelve months to complete in Summer 2024.


A Member asked the following question


The Greater Brighton Economic Board was set up in 2014, as a body behind the Growth of the Greater City Region in economic and Investment levels...

Could you please update the Councillors on the benefits this is Bringing to Adur and how this is developing for us, for the future....


The Leader responded as follows:


The Council is an active member of Greater Brighton, which is an important vehicle to discuss, action and lobby against a range of economic factors in the region.


Greater Brighton was a significant contributor in bringing Local Growth Funding to the area, along with the Coast to Capital LEP, and I’m pleased to say Adur benefitted from these funds towards projects such as Focus House and new Flood Defences in Shoreham, and also a contribution to infrastructure associated with the New Monks Farm development.


Latterly, and looking to the future, there is a great deal of value in working across boundaries on things like our sustainability and decarbonisation plans, whether that’s looking at our collective housing stock or how people travel in and around the region.


Finally, the Greater Brighton Economic Board also opens up the Council to education partners, including the Universities of Brighton and Sussex, both of whom are bringing business innovation support into our area.


Rotation three


A Member asked the following question.


It has been indicated that repairs in Southwick are not being given the attention and that residents request and are being ignored. Can you comment on this please and give some indication the number of repairs that are being done there.


The Cabinet Member for Adur Homes and Customer Services responded as follows


The Data below shows the total number of jobs raised from the 1st of January 2022 (2555), and the current status of the jobs..









In progress



There are 3 weekly H&S inspections carried out at the Southwick estate, with all identified concerns on the estate including Roofs, Brickwork/pointing, windows, balconies drainage etc recorded on our IT System.


The main issue at this estate is that the works required fall outside of the scope of reactive repairs and are therefore difficult to address under the reactive framework. A number of the repeated issues identified through the repairs raised by tenants and reported by the Housing Management team form part of the interim works package which is currently being progressed by the team dealing with Capital Improvement works.


Where we are able to deliver small improvements we have. For example we have delivered a major overhaul of repairs to all of the communal entrance doors to every block which included new doors where required, closers, hinges, locks, broken glass, handles etc, every communal entrance door is now working. We are now working on a programme of renewing all of the intercom systems.


Alongside the standard repairs process, we have a dedicated Southwick Estate email box which is monitored daily.


The Southwick works and requirements are being managed alongside other priorities within the stock


*Additional Questions*


A Member asked the following question


At the last full Council meeting, questions were asked about CO 2 detectors in Adur Home Properties..


Please could you update us on the current situation and what is being done


The Adur Cabinet Member for Adur Homes and Customer Services responded as follows


We are currently installing battery powered Carbon monoxide detectors. About 671 properties already have CO detectors. We are installing about 150 per month. We expect all homes to have a battery powered Carbon monoxide detector within the 10 months. The contractor installing these have reported a slow to roll out due to supply issues possibly due to a lot of landlords procuring CO detector devices.  57 were fitted in the last 2 weeks.


A Member asked the following question


Could you please update the council on the progress of the Lancing Regeneration levelling up bid, what levels of participation there have been and what the next steps and timescales are?


The Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategic Planning responded as follows


I’m pleased to say we are still running an extensive engagement programme to gather the views of local residents and businesses. We have directly engaged and listened to over 200 people in small focus groups, including Parents & Carers, Young People and Businesses, whilst we have also received a further 120 online responses. All of this has been running over October and November.


What’s important to note is whilst this may seem a small percentage, the 200 people who have taken part in our community conversations are also well networked and therefore we hope we’re receiving a fair and representative view from the population - for example we had representatives attend from the Lancing Business Park BID who have a good working knowledge of the Park and it’s 200+ businesses.


In partnership with the Parish Council, and with a range of stakeholders, we have reviewed the extensive feedback and we’ve started to distil these down into a series of community ambitions and project asks. These will ultimately form the basis of a ‘plan for Lancing’ which gives all stakeholders, not just the District Council, a firm set of parameters to work in partnership on future funding bids, whether Levelling Up or other government pots. This ‘plan’ is aiming to be finalised by March next year.