Monday, 20 June 2011

Housing offices closure U-turn welcomed

Plaid Cymru councillors in Wrecsam have welcomed the decision by Wrexham Council's Housing Department not to close Housing Estate offices in Gwersyllt, Brynteg, Caia Park and Plas Madoc and move the service centrally to Rhuthun Road.

The planned closure was initially part of cost cutting measures but strong opposition by Plaid Cymru councillors, staff and unions persuaded the council to shelve the plans.

Gwersyllt Councillor Arfon Jones, who has consistently refused to support the proposals, said:
“While I appreciate the need to carry out service reviews to look for savings this was a step too far. The estate offices do far more than collect rent, they are a well used local centre that provide extensive advice and guidance to council tenants from arrears to environmental issues to repairs. The loss of these offices would result in a deterioration in the quality of service to our tenants.”

Councillor Carrie Harper (Queensway), a member of the Social Affairs, Health and Housing Scrutiny Committee, said:
“I opposed these plans to close the Estate Office from day one but was outvoted by other members on the scrutiny committee. Most of the work I deal with as a councillor involves the Caia Estate office and it would make my work a lot harder if it wasn’t there. The service to tenants would really suffer.”

Councillor Marc Jones, Plaid Cymru's group leader, whose Whitegate ward is also served by the Caia estate office, said:
“Over the last three years great efforts have been made to make the Housing Department in Rhuthun Road ‘fit for purpose’. I don’t think we’ve got there yet and the last thing we want to do is close a valuable local service. We should be looking to take repairs inspectors and other essential staff into the Estate Offices and into the communities to bring the service closer to the people.”

Cllr Jones went on to challenge the Housing Department to explain why they devolved services to estate offices 15 years ago:
“It was said then that it was to improve the service to tenants, so why is centralising the service now deemed to improve the service? What has changed?”


Anonymous said...

How selfish of Councillor Harper! "Would make my work a lot harder" Other Councillor's still cope without a local estate office!

Plaid Whitegate said...

Anon - I doubt there are many councillors with as much council housing as Carrie.

Anonymous said...

The people who want to close the estate offices are Lib Dems and Tories, so much for the Con Dem Localism Bill.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Nothing in the Leader today...spiked by the Council!

Anonymous said...

Plaid haven't got a clue whats going on! Rumour has it officers were sent back to the drawing board. Certainly no U turn.

Anonymous said...

How many times doies this need to go back to the drawing board before the Leader of the Council accepts that it is dead in the water.