The meeting on 23 September 2009 was attended by Paul Herbert, manager of services for Tower Hamlets Homes.
It was most interesting to hear that THH actually ran a trial period of in-house horticultural services. It was agreed by all that the £300.000 per year horticultural services contract for Tower Hamlets is too cheap and cannot produce overall satisfactory results. Mr Herbert pointed out that in-house services are slightly more expensive to run but gardeners could also double up for caretaking duties and that could produce a saving in costs.
For Parkview estate I mentioned the dead Laurels around Rosebery and Sankey House and still await a date when Sue Blinman, acting horticultural manager will come on a walkabout to determine the dead Laurels to be removed at the earliest opportunity.
The caretaking sub-committee has been discontinued and I am not sure how this group will continue in reference to the open day to be held at York Hall on Saturday 3 October 2009 with Workshops on subjects to do with housing and the environment.
The cost of caretaking was discussed and it was overall agreed that services are not delivered to the standard as advertised but that the caretakers work very hard and do their best but cannot make up for shortages in staff or staffing sickness. A new proposal for weekend caretaking should not be an excuse to raise costs of caretakings when the normal services are below expectation already. It affects tenants and leaseholders alike who either get rate or service charge rises in connection with this issue.