Contract for night patrols and waking watch service at council tower blocks backed by Cabinet members

Trove Court and Kennedy House are among those with patrols and waking watch services

A contract for security patrols and waking watch services at Thanet council’s blocks of flats has been backed by Cabinet members this evening (November 18) and will go forward for approval by full council.

Twice nightly patrols at Staner Court, Trove Court, Kennedy House, Brunswick Court, Harbour Towers and Invicta House have been “extremely effective” responding to a issues, including rubbish and other items left in communal areas, noise and antisocial behaviour, blocked rubbish chutes and activations of fire alarm systems.

The patrols record and report all issues through to the council’s Housing Management officers so that any follow up actions needed can be arranged.

Cabinet member for housing Jill Bayford said services would now be procured “on a longer term basis.”

The estimated cost of the service is £108,000 per year and the contract would be for 2 years, with two 1 year extension options.

The proposal also incudes provision for the waking watch service 24/7 at Staner Court, Trove Court, Kennedy House, Harbour Towers and Invicta House focused on reducing the risks associated with fire and raising the alarm in the case of a fire:

The blocks are all fitted with an external wall insulation system that needs to be removed and replaced and a KFRS report highlighted the fire breaks in the system do not meet current standards.

A £5.8 million bid for government funding has been made for the work and has passed through the first stage with referral to Homes England.

The waking watch, which also assists the fire service on site with a managed evacuation, was put in place earlier this year.

Thanet council is installing new alarm sounders in every flat, and once these have been put in place KFRS has advised that there will no longer be a need to provide the waking watch service.

The report to Cabinet members discussed tonight says: “It is anticipated that the Waking Watch Service will be required for a period of approximately 12 months, dependent upon the timescales for the required alarm upgrades.

“The estimated cost of this element of the contract will be up to £812,000.”

Once the Waking Watch Service is no longer needed the previous nightly security patrols will resume.

Labour councillor Rick Everitt said although safety of tenants was “the number one priority” he was concerned at the costs which would be passed onto all council tenants, impacting on the poorest residents, and asked whether the council would recoup costs from the government.

Housing officer Bob Porter said that government funding had been explored but “so far there has not been an opportunity to bid for funding but if one comes up we will certainly take advantage of it.”

A contract for cleaning services in communal areas of council owned blocks was also approved to be put before full council.

Cladding replacement work to be carried out at five council housing blocks

A year since Thanet council housing brought back under authority control – a new team and bid to remove regulation notice

22 Comments

  1. Housing officer Bob Porter said that government funding had been explored but “so far there has not been an opportunity to bid for funding but if one comes up we will certainly take advantage of it.”

    So that will be “no” then.

  2. Well that’s a lie there as been a man in the block of flats at staner court manston Rd. That’s plays music/TV as loud as it can go all through the night. Nothing done by the council. Or even been reported by the so called walk and watch. This as been going on for months now. I hear it and I live in the meridian I have complained so many times. But it still goes on keeping me awake at night. I would hate to live in that block it must be hell for the tenants there

    • I think it would be true that “the left” want more decent homes that are really affordable.
      One problem has been, mainly Tory, Councils moving people into, not so decent, homes to create modern ghettos.
      Another is these same Councils carrying out refurbishments where inflammable materials were used to encase the blocks, specifically towers.
      More would be repair work that breaches fire safety measures in these homes.
      Grenfell is a prime and appalling example if how all three points came together.
      Whatever authority did the work on Thanet’s Council Housing blocks owes residents a duty to keep them safe. The current flammable polystyrene external insulation should never have been fitted. It was, so TDC will have to take the financial hit until they remove it.
      Council Tax payers will be footing the bill unless other funding comes through.
      As a Payer I’d like to see a report on how the cladding and insulation decisions were made, who by, what advice was sought and taken, how contractors were sourced and monitored, etc.
      All this is nothing to do with “Left” or “Right” but the basic human right to life and decent shelter (a home). My experience indicates the “Right” tend to compromise these rights to advance their personal wealth options.

    • No one should of had the right to buy their council house. If you wanted to own a home move out and purchase a private home. I know of one lady in Bethnal Green London brought her flat for £23 500 and sold it 5 years later for £385 000. And that was 14 years ago. The housing and rental market in the UK is totally out of control average rents at 12k a year for an half decent house. We can’t keep this way country ran on greed

  3. Yes, we are desperate for more Council Housing. Or do we think that people who own their own homes, or are renting from a private landlord , don’t play loud music or become the “neighbours from hell”?
    At least, if a Council tenant becomes a real menace, and laws are applied, they may even face eviction as a nuisance.
    How do you get rid of somebody who owns his own home? An Englishman’s home is his drum-thudding castle etc. So, yes, we need MORE social housing because just building more three/four bed executive houses all over the countryside does nothing for millions of families who are priced out of their own town.

    • You obviously have no idea about what the council does regarding problem tenants, basically absolutely nothing. Private landlords who care are very proactive at keeping their properties in good order , we have section 21 to deal with such issues. The problem buildings are those owned by landlords willing to house the more problematic , that generally the council and associations don’t want. So you end up with areas plagued with problems Athelstan and Ethelbert being the local examples, but on the bright side left to their own devices such people coexist quite happily, creating little ghettos has its plus points for everyone else.

  4. The thing that gets me about all this cladding that has been installed throughout this country. The manufacturer of this board must of known that it wasn’t fire proof. Yet they walk away. And everyone picks up the bill. I don’t usually agree with politicians. But last week Michael gove said why are the people paying for this. Most are paying 75£a week for a bloke to stroll around sniffing for fire in blocks of flats

  5. So, we Council Tax payers are having to pay for Security Guards to patrol blocks of flats against anti social behaviour, and fire watching because they are still clad with inflammable cladding, is that right? Its common in America for apartment blocks to have their own Superintendent who takes care of anti social behaviour, in return for a rent free flat. Why not give that a try here?

    Also, the Grenfell Tower Block fire was a one off fluke, caused by a fire in one of the flats, so I understand, and is unlikely to happen again! The existing cladding does need to be replaced, but the risk of it catching fire similarly is so remote as to be non existent! The £108k annual costs to employ security guards would be better spent on employing 2 more staff at TDC Street Scene Enforcement in my view, at present they only have 2.5 people doing this, which is totally inadequate!

    • The article does refer to council tenants footing the bill, so hopefully these costs are coming from the housing revenue account, however it must be borne in mind that council rents are historically low based on older attitudes and standards its not economically viable to provide standards of today at rents of yesterday.

      • Can you honestly see the tenants paying for it, with other council tax payers not having to pay anything ?? I dont think so somehow. Up goes the council tax.

      • LC, council tenants won’t pay for the cladding to be replaced, but any Leaseholders who were foolish enough to buy a lease will! This is the national tragedy, hundreds of tower blocks formally owned by councils, were sold off, and individual flats sold to leaseholders! I think its scandalous Leaseholders are being forced to pay an “apportioned” part of the new cladding costs, which if they can’t do so, will be attached to the property for payment if and when the flat is sold! It all depends on the Lease, most leases will stipulate only costs towards maintenance of Common Parts must be paid by the leaseholders. Usually this does NOT include “improvements”, so let battle commence!

        • As it happens i have an ex. Council flat and have become well versed in the games they play with charges. and the total inability to get value for money. However my comment was in relation to the costs of the patrols in respect of antisocial behaviour, rubbish removal etc.

    • Your comments regarding the Grenfell fire are perfectly correct a tradegy resulting from countless failures over many years, the spotlight on the cladding is just a very convenient way of avoiding looking at all the other issues.
      The cladding on the thanet blocks is sandwiched between the original structure and a rendered finish, no air gap and you’d hope the windows are fitted properly. The chances of those buildings going up like grenfell are infinitessimaly small and you’d haope that all the fire safety features in the buildings are upto standard unlike grenfell.

    • Tower block had a warden years ago. They were provided with their own flat but the council thought that was too expensive so they done away with the wardens that’s why the tower blocks are in the state they the wardens cleaned all the floors on every landing picked up rubbish that was littered around the block and make sure there was no anti-social behaviour going on but now the council spend money on employing cleaners from different companies

    • In fact fires in Towers before Grenfell had happened with the same insulation. I think one in California and one in Australia at least.

  6. If it weren’t for the grenfell disaster. This type of cladding would still be fitted today. 4 years on. Grenfell opened Pandoras box

  7. I would say Bob porter is not a planer like when you had your new fire alarm fitted did they inform your that they was hooking it up to your mains so you pay for it in the rent and you pay for it out of your own pocket good not informed about + the new heaters that are going the same hook up to your mains so you paying for both of them twice in the rent and out of your own mains not informed
    as for the new heaters they are a joke they fit them give you a book and walk out the door and do not inform you that they have to be on 24/7 one big joke if your old or part blind or dyslexics just give up
    you can ask them to remove it from your mains and your get you are putting people in a unsafe block as they did not ask get it removed and say find a new way to power them 24/7 winter is hear and its getting cold looks like they are killing off the old people in the blocks

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