Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Estate office closure plan kicked out

Plans to drastically cut the hours of estate offices in various parts of Wrecsam have been thrown out by the council's Social Affairs, Health and Housing scrutiny committee.
The recommended proposals would have seen estate offices in Caia, Broughton, Gwersyllt, Plas Madoc, Rhos and Central closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This was despite officers acknowledging that more than 3700 people used the offices weekly.
The committee heard from Cllr Carrie Harper that the plans, which were uncosted, would see a massive reduction in services for little or no saving. She moved an amendment to retain current opening hours that won 6-3.
The scheme was also described as a false economy, given that officers themselves conceded that changing UK government policies on benefits would probably mean an increased number of people needing help, advice or make payments at the offices under threat.
Caia's Plaid Cymru councillors Marc Jones and Carrie Harper described the plans as "short sighted" at a time when more pressure was being put on the local housing offices since the closure of the central paying office in Lambpit Street.
They and Gwersyllt West councillor Arfon Jones expressed concern following the meeting that the main problem facing Wrecsam Council was the £11 million going out of the Housing Revenue Account each year to the UK Treasury in the form of the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy. Cllr Jones said: "Much more needs to be done to pressurise central government to give up this unfair subsidy for London councils. Wrecsam tenants are being deprived of improvements and renovations to their homes because of this daylight robbery.
"Securing that funding for the borough would enable us to invest millions more each year in modern kitchens and bathrooms."

No comments: