Development of Shared Repairs considered by Council

Statutory noticesIn April this year the Council launched a Shared Repairs Service to replace the controversial statutory repairs system.

Last month councillors met to discuss the performance of the new service six months in and to consider possible future developments.

Following the meeting, areas of work are being progressed to develop the shared repairs service further.

Among the initiatives being developed is the creation of a trusted trader scheme to help members of the public organise their own repairs.

Under the scheme, contractors would be vetted by trading standards before appearing on a trusted list.  This would boost public confidence that the traders in question could be trusted.

The Council is also developing a facilitation service where members of the public could call in support from the Council to provide advice and support to organise repairs.

These developments should provide better support to help residents take forward their own repairs.

However there is still a real need for an enforcement service that allows work to be taken forward to protect the built heritage of the city.

While the Council’s website now provides excellent information to assist residents to take forward repairs, there are still significant barriers that prevent that happening.

I have raised these issues with councillors over recent months and I am pleased that they will now be taking forward investigative work on a replacement enforcement scheme.

Given the reputational damage caused to the Council by the failure of the statutory repairs system, councilors are understandably wary of taking on all of the risk attached to identifying and managing all aspects of repair works.

A major stumbling block is getting all owners in a tenement to pay up for works. I’ve pressed for the Council to do more to support owners to get on with repairs where they have an agreed scheme under the law of the tenement.

A report is to be presented in March setting out how the new service could be delivered during 2014 and  I will be continuing to argue for a more effective system.