There is a great deal of frustration at the length of time scaffolding is left up on council properties in the borough. It blocks out light and is of great convenience to burglars. Routinely it is left up for months with no work taking place. There is a huge cost – sometimes council leaseholders are forced to pay a share. Most of the bill is met by the Council. This is, of course, the same council that complained about the Government’s decision to provide modest reduction in rent for hard pressed council tenants.
This is not a new problem. But it did seem to me to be getting worse so I asked for the figures.
The 2015/16 scaffolding costs for capital works came to £5.652m. For 2013/14 (the year before Labour took over) the equivalent cost was £946,000.
On top of this was the bill for “responsive repairs” was £289, 835 for 2015/16. There isn’t a direct comparison for 2013/14 as “maintenance of this type was carried out by two contractors who applied a ‘Price per Job’ cost on all works up to £1,500. There will have been some scaffolding elements to this work.” But I understand that the costs have also greatly escalated even allowing for this.
The upshot is that spending on scaffolding has risen from a million pounds to £6 million.
There needs to be far tighter management in this area. It is something I will pursue…
Harry, thanks for addressing this issue. As well as the council, housing associations are also poor at property management and buildings are often scaffolded for between 6 and 12 months simply for external redecoration or reactive repairs. The house next door has been scaffolded for over eight months with no work having taken place. As well as being a waste of money, properties under scaffolding for longer than necessary blight streets and demonstrate an indifference for the neighbourhoods in which these organisations are such significant landowners.
A much better level of performance is needed and demanded.
Harry and Richard make valid points. I regularly walk past properties under scaffolding. Some remain that way for so long you forget what they looked like before.