Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

Questions from Members

a.      To receive written responses to questions submitted by Members in line with procedure Rule A1.38.

b.      Up to 10 minutes will be allowed for Members questions.



The Mayor stated that 28 written questions had been received from Members of the Council.  The questions and replies, together with the supplementary submissions made during the meeting are attached as Appendix B to the minutes.


Under procedures for oral questions, the Mayor invited questions to Members of the Cabinet for response.


Councillor Charlie Davis asked the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainability if the street cleaner machine for Eltham, currently in Plumstead, would be given back to Eltham. The Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainability suggested that the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment would be able to take Councillor Davis on a tour of the streets of Eltham to show him that they were as clean as in all other areas of the borough.


Councillor Matt Clare, referring to the resignation of Claire Kober as the leader of Haringey Council in what the press had described as the face of Corbynite bullying, asked the Leader of the Council what assurance could she give that the democratically elected councillors in Greenwich Council were not subject to similar forms of what the press had referred to.  The Leader of the Council commented on Haringey’s joint venture development vehicle and the concerns about it. The Leader explained that she had signed the letter in support for Claire Kober for one reason only and that was the issue of local Councillors being able to make their own decisions; she had not wanted a precedent to be set.


Councillor Spencer Drury asked the Cabinet Member for Housing and Anti-Poverty with regard to the Strongbow Crescent roof whether it was fair to ask leaseholders, having paid 13 years ago with a 15 year guarantee, to pay again given that that Council had a roof installed that were not fit for purpose, surely that was the Council’s fault and it was unreasonable to ask the leaseholders to pay again. The Cabinet Member for Housing and Anti-Poverty replied that the roofing was the accepted method at that time, so it was the right decision to install it at that time. There were more modern methods of roofing which could provide a roof with a 20 year lifespan. It was proper that if a roof previously installed was now seen to be problematic and the residents were having problems then the Council had to do something.


Councillor Matt Hartley, referring to the Royal Borough of Greenwich being one of eight councils involved in water re-selling deals and a legal ruling which could mean money being paid to Council tenants who had been overcharged, and a Freedom of Information request which showed Greenwich had not set any money aside for those re-payments, asked if that was the case, what the Council’s position was, and how many residents could be affected.


The Leader of the Council explained to Council this was referring to a case where someone had taken Southwark Council to court claiming that authority was making money re-selling water, with Southwark maintaining that they were just the agent. Unfortunately Southwark had not challenged the legal judgement.  Greenwich was part of a collective of 25 local authorities who intended to challenge the judgement. There would be a test cast, by Kingston Council, and they would have to await the outcome. It would affect all Greenwich Council tenants, and those who had been tenants in the past. Greenwich had not earmarked a particular pot but it would come out of Council reserves.


Councillor Matt Hartley thanked the Leader of the Council for the explanation of the Council’s position, and further asked the Leader of the Council whether it might be prudent to put some money aside, as several other London councils had done, as they did not know the outcome of the legal challenge.  The Leader of the Council said the reserves were there for such things. Greenwich was going forward with the legal case and had been told by their QC that there was a good chance that they would win and that the judgement was flawed.

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