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  • Writer's pictureDavid Taylor

Royal Jubilee Court: The Truth

There have been a lot of rumours flying around, about Royal Jubilee court.


Luckily, we don't have to just accept the first thing we read on social media and so I've pulled together some facts.


For those of you worried about whether 'that tory councillor' is telling the truth, most of the below has come directly from Havering Council Officers and I have received permission to share it.



Replies to FAQ's


  • Did the administration skip scrutiny?

This is a claim I've made, based on the fact that the 'call-in' was waived.


A call-in is a mechanism whereby a committee can scrutinise the plan and make suggested amendments to it. This happens for any decision that will cost the council over £500k. Under certain circumstances, the relevant committee Chairman can waive this right.


In this case, the Chairman (Cllr Gerry O'Sullivan -HRA) waived the right to call-in and the decision was approved. This was on the grounds that it will "save the council money". Indeed it will.


I felt that this was inappropriate, given the huge spend and sensitivity of the site. There may have been opportunities for further savings or even a more suitable site. Whilst Councillors had a chance to attend a briefing, earlier in the year, this does not give the same scrutiny as a formal committee 'with teeth'



  • Will the building be used to accommodate "illegal immigrants" and "asylum seekers"

A response from Havering Council.


[No]


We will be using the building for homeless families as a discharge of our statutory duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. Under this act we are unable to accommodate anyone who is in the country illegally or who is an asylum seekers – they are the responsibility of the Home Office. All the homeless families will have a local connection with Havering, as is required by the legislation.




  • The building can only be used for housing older people

A response from Havering Council.


The use of the building is temporary – until the new Family Welcome Centre is built in Harold Hill – this has already started and is due to be completed in two years. So the use of RJC for homeless families in only temporary and we will revert to the original regeneration plans once the new building opens in 2025/6. There is no planning restriction over who can occupy the accommodation. The use of the site will remain as residential and as there is no change of use, planning permission for the temporary use for homeless families is not required.



  • The decision was taken in secret

A response from Havering Council.


The intention to use RJC to accommodate homeless families was put forward by Cllr McGeary at the Council meeting on the 12th July. Ward Members were invited to a meeting on the 3rd August to discuss the proposals. The intention to make the decision was published on the forward plan on the 6th September, and the correct procedures were followed in publishing the final executive decision.



  • The residents will cause anti-social behaviour and problems in the area

A response from Havering Council.


The residents will be ordinary local families without a home. The premises will however be fully staffed and security provided 24 hours a day and is already fitted with CCTV, in case there are any problems.




Further information - From Havering Council.


We have seen unprecedented numbers of families finding themselves homeless in the past 12-18 months, and because of a shrink in supply in the private rental market have had to place vulnerable families in hotels at a scale unheard of 12-18 months ago. You may be aware from a number of news stories in recent months, that nationally private sector landlords are getting out of the market, due to for example, cost of living/interest rate rises, regulations around energy efficiency, and the government set local housing allowance is not keeping pace with market rates with what it now costs to rent. Havering unfortunately is not immune from these issues, which really need national solutions.

Locally this has meant we have had to place families from all over the borough, including the Romford area, into hotels in unprecedented numbers since about the middle of last year, with many now having been in hotel accommodation for many months, as we cannot access sufficient properties for temporary accommodation to meet this demand. This is clearly not what we want for these families as staying in such accommodation leads to negative outcomes for these families, particularly the children are poor. Staying long term in hotels also impacts negatively on children’s schooling and well-being, as well as the long term impacts of not having cooking facilities cannot be understated. There has also been considerable impact on mental health and well-being for both parents and children. And finally, it this has meant ballooning costs to the council, £325,000 a month, causing significant pressure on our budgets at a time where the council is potentially six months to a year away from a section 114.


The cost of the furnishings and maintenance of the building will be met from the Housing Revenue Account, and will be recovered from the rent paid by the residents over the two years. The saving however, from not having to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for hotels, will benefit the council tax payers for the borough.



9 Comments


Guest
Nov 06, 2023

Rosser the tosser is telling everyone that there was no consultation. Now we find out our useless councillors were invited to a meeting about it in July. Why didn't they tell us about it?

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Guest
Nov 02, 2023

Aren't Havering going in to Bankruptcy? The Council should be looking to cut ties as a London Borough and get their finances in order before agreeing to further spending. Why are they thinking about building a Family Welcome Centre in HH costing the working tax payers even more money, when the local area is already at maximum capacity with schools and Doctors etc. and residents struggling financially with increased utility, rent/mortgage payments and council tax. Use the abandoned buildings first for UK nationals, put our country first and not the immigrants.

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Guest
Nov 01, 2023

Where is useless Rosindell? He is pretending to help by delivering a letter saying it's the wrong place. Useless Rosser, he doesn't care about homeless people. Only his voters.

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Guest
Oct 28, 2023

How is the rent collected from “ homeless people “ .. I’m a bit clueless here as to how much the rent it is ? who sets the amount, and were they expected to be paying rent in hotels etc they’ve been in before ?

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Guest
Oct 27, 2023

Twist it Taylor at it again. Don't believe his spin

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