Read housinggrants_renewal_3.pdf text version

Issue 3

for Sandfields East & Aberavon Renewal Area




Official Opening of Renewal Area Office Your Renewal Area Office is here Planning for Real Consultation Group Repair Schemes Minor Repair Assistance Grant Home Maintenance Survey Port Talbot Peripheral Distributor Road Community Transport Initiative Welfare Benefits Surgery Community Police Surgery Consultation Questionnaire Kathryn Britton New Keep Wales Tidy Environmental Project Officer Staff Profile

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Official Opening of the Renewal Area Office

In September 2005 the Renewal Area drop in centre was officially opened by the Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Derek Vaughan. This was followed by an open day where residents were invited to meet the Renewal Area Team who will be responsible for carrying out the day to day activities for the regeneration of the community. Partner organisations such as the Community Safety Team, New Sandfields Aberavon, Keep Wales Tidy, Groundworks, Care & Repair, Warm Wales and Representatives from the Peripheral Distributor Road were also at hand to offer advice and discuss any issues that concerned residents. Over the past two years the council has been successful in securing £2.65 million from the Welsh Assembly and achieved a further £1.6 million for the next financial year. This will be apportioned between Sandfields East & Aberavon & the new Renewal Area proposed for the Upper Amman Valley. The funding will continue to revitalise the area, by bringing about improvements to the condition of the housing stock and introducing initiatives to tackle social and environmental problems.

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Your Renewal Area Office Is Here Wellington Place

The Renewal Area team are here to help the local community. If you have any issues or concerns that you would like the team to help you with, please contact the Drop-in-Centre at Wellington Place where the team will be happy to offer their advice and support. Office Opening Times Monday to Thursday 8.45am to 5.00pm Friday 8.45am to 4.30pm Tel: 01639 796100 email: [email protected]

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved 100023392 2006

Planning for Real Consultation

On display at the drop-in-centre is a large map of the Renewal Area on which we are carrying out a `Planning for Real' exercise. Residents are invited to place colour coded stickers on the map to highlight areas of concern, or areas that are experiencing social or environmental problems. These issues can vary from dog fouling, litter & graffiti to youth annoyance and community safety. The Team has already identified `hot spots' within the community and are looking for projects for 2006. The team works in partnership with many organisations to look at ways of addressing these concerns and hope that residents will continue to provide us with their valued views and opinions. It's your community; make sure that you have your say!


[email protected]


Group Repair Schemes

As you are no doubt aware, the Group Repair Schemes scheduled for 2005/2006 are well underway, with the majority nearing completion. Such was the success of the 04/05 Renewal Area programme, that the Council was able to secure additional funds which enabled the team carry out one extra group repair scheme in Lady Jane Street. This has meant that since declaration in August 2004, we have carried out Group Repair Schemes on 134 properties at the following 12 locations:Station Terrace Frederick Street Thomas Street (evens) Adare Street (odds) Lilian Street (odds) Catherine Street Adare Street (evens) Lilian Street (evens) Clarice Street Stair Street Thomas Street (odds) Lady Jane Street

Whilst the Renewal Area programme is still very much in the early stages, the work undertaken to date has already had a huge impact on the area and feedback has been very positive. During the financial year 2004 / 2005 we encountered some technical difficulties at our Frederick Street group repair scheme, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents for their patience whilst this matter was resolved.

boundary. Our Housing Surveyors have recently undertaken a walk by survey of the area, providing a clear and accurate indication of the condition of the properties within the Renewal Area. A decision has since been made to determine the following streets which will be targeted during the next financial year:- Henshaw Street, Enfield Street and Borough Street. That is not to say that if you do not have the opportunity to participate in a Group Repair Scheme that you will not benefit from living within the Renewal Area. The Renewal Area Team are committed to ensuring that residents benefit from many other social and environmental projects, as well as looking at housing related alternatives to group repair schemes.

What Next???

The Renewal Area is a ten year programme, and while we aim to undertake as many different initiatives over the course of the Renewal Area period - unfortunately, we will be unable to undertake Group Repair Schemes on each of the 2130 properties within the Renewal Area


A Minor Repair Assistance grant (MRA) is a discretionary form of Housing Grant, providing financial help to enable owner occupiers and qualifying tenants responsible for the repair of their accommodation, to have certain categories of work to be carried out to their properties Assistance will only available for certain categories of work, mainly to the external fabric of the building. E.g. Roof, render, windows & doors, but will also consider dangerous electrics and dry rot.

What types of work could be carried out? How much assistance is available?

Such assistance will be limited to £7,000 inc VAT.

The assistance awarded will be recorded as a charge against the property and be subject to full repayment on the sale, transfer or inheritance of the property before the end of a 10-year period following the date of final payment. 1. All applicants must be in receipt either of Income Support, Guaranteed Pension Credit, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Council Tax Benefit or Housing Benefit. Alternatively, applicants may be eligible provided they are on a sufficiently low income to have a nil contribution based upon the means test currently applied to Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants. Applicants must own the property for which grant aid is being sought or they must have a repairing obligation if a private tenant. Applicants must have been resident at the property for which a grant is requested for not less than 3 years prior to making a formal application for grant assistance.

Do I have to pay the money back if I sell the property? How do I qualify?

2. 3.


For more information or an application form, please telephone the Renewal Area Team on (01639) 796100 [email protected]

Home Maintenance Survey

A free Home Maintenance Survey for Residents of the Renewal Area

Neath Port Talbot Council are piloting a Home Maintenance Survey Scheme in the Sandfields East & Aberavon Renewal Area. So far approximately 100 properties have been surveyed in the Sandfields East Area. The team of surveyors will target streets by writing to residents inviting them to make an appointment for a surveyor to visit their home. Working in partnership with numerous organisations and businesses, the surveyor will identify any maintenance issues within the home, advising householders on how best to maintain their property and avoid any unexpected costly repair bills. During the inspection our team of surveyors will not only look at the structural issues surrounding your home but also the needs of the individual living at the property. This could include the fitting of smoke detectors, security items such as door chains and security lights or a referral to Care and Repair for small adaptations to assist elderly and disabled people to live safely and securely in their home. An energy survey of your home will also be carried out and you will be advised on how you could reduce your fuel bills. The team have also recently negotiated a discount scheme with a selection of local builders merchants and DIY stores. Residents who participate in the Home Maintenance Survey will be eligible for discounts on materials to assist with any necessary repairs etc.

Examples of services provided to one resident who participated in the scheme: · · Smoke alarms fitted by Community Fire Safety Team. Minor disability adaptations ­ new concrete step & grab rails provided to eliminate serious trip hazards, undertaken by Care & Repair & the Local Health Board. Clearance of overgrown lawns/shrubs and repairs to hall cupboard to allow storage space for wheelchair provided by Care & Repairs HelpingHands Scheme. Loft Insulation to reduce heating bills provided by Warm Wales. Security light fitted to front of property, along with door chain to front door and sash jammers to secure vulnerable windows provided by the Crime Prevention Team. Secured by Design back door to assist resident in feeling secure in her home provided by the Renewal Area Team in conjunction with the Community Safety Team. And in addition to the above - while at the property, our surveyor noticed a smell of gas. The resident was immediately advised to contact her gas supplier who visited the property and repaired the gas leak.


This highlights the many improvements that residents could potentially benefit from as part of the Home M a i n t e n a n c e S u r v e y. I t illustrates that the package does not only provide people with a free report on the condition of their home but also lots of practical maintenance advice. By offering this kind of service and being able to visit peoples homes, we can have a significant impact on peoples day to day lives.

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The ability to link in with services such as Crime Prevention, Fire Safety and Care and Repair, enables people to be provided with genuine measures to improve their security, safety and quality of life.


[email protected]


Port Talbot Peripheral Distributor Road

The Port Talbot Peripheral Distributor Road (PDR) has been identified as a strategic road improvement to assist industrial and commercial development in the Docks area, provide an alternative route for traffic through Port Talbot and enable traffic calming and environmental improvements between Junction 38 at Margam and Junction 41 at Baglan. The PDR network has been divided into stages for implementation. Stage 1A from Sunnycroft roundabout on the A48 to Baglan Energy Park entrance, has already been constructed. Stage 1C from Heilbronn Way to Water Street Roundabout was completed in November 2005 and is open to traffic. Stage 1B commenced in September 2005. The dualling of the remainder of Seaway Parade and all of Afan Way will improve access into the town centre and docks area. The contractor for Stages 1C and 1B is Hochtief Griffiths Joint Venture. The Final section, Stage 2 connecting with the M4 at Margam is programmed to start in 2009 and finish in 2011. Progress on Stage 1B The old Railway Bridge to the Docks across the River Afan has been demolished and an additional river bridge is to be constructed to complement the existing bridge forming an at-grade roundabout connecting Afan Way, Water Street and the access to the Docks. The existing Beach Hill overbridge at Victoria Road demolished and the approach embankments removed to establish an at-grade traffic signal controlled junction at this location. During construction it will be necessary to temporarily close some roads to traffic. Advance notice will be given and alternative routes signed. Every effort will be made to minimise the impact on motorists and the community. An alternative route for vehicles is being planned for the 16-week closure of the route from Ysguthan Road to Victoria Road. Pedestrians will be routed across Afan Way opposite Lady Jane Street via a temporary signal controlled crossing. (plans of the diversions are now available to view at the renewal area office) As one of the environmental improvements, three new footbridges are to be erected and an existing footbridge replaced, together with remedial works to be undertaken to the subways on the existing Southdown and Dalton Road roundabouts. A fifth footbridge at Victoria Road has recently been added to the scheme. By March 2007, the completed works will provide dual 7.3m carriageways of approximately 3km in length, with a 2m-paved central reserve.

Community Transport Initiative Free Bus Service for elderly and disabled

Communities First and Neath Port Talbot Community transport have been successful in applying for grant funding of £71,000 for a community transport scheme for elderly and disabled residents of Sandfields and Aberavon, who are unable to use their bus passes on local bus services due to age or disability issues. The scheme was launched in December 2005 and will provide a wheelchair accessible mini bus from Neath Port Talbot Community Transport, operating a Monday to Friday 9am ­ 5pm Service. The vehicle will have to be booked in advance by contacting Neath ­ Port Talbot Community Transport on 01639 646969. Further details are available from Ryland Doyle on 01639 870067. The scheme will be one of the first where Aberavon Residents benefit from the new partnership working between New Sandfields Aberavon and the Sandfields East & Aberavon Renewal Area.



Neath Port Talbot Welfare Rights Unit is helping the residents of Sandfields and Aberavon to claim extra money. Many people do not claim the benefits that they are entitled to. For those people who are unsure if they receive all their correct benefit entitlement, a surgery is held every Thursday morning at the Renewal Area drop in Centre at Wellington Place. The Welfare Rights Unit help with a wide range of benefits such as Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Carers Allowance, Tax Credits, Pension Credit and Council Tax Benefit. To find out if you can claim benefits and tax credits telephone the Renewal Area Office on 01639 796100 or call in to make and appointment.


[email protected]


HOME SECURITY A lot of burglaries can be prevented. At least 80% of burglaries are committed by opportunists. Being burgled and losing valuable and sentimental items is a very distressing experience. Taking a few simple steps can make your home much more secure ­ and give peace of mind into the bargain. 1. 2. 3. 4. When you go out, always lock the door and close the windows ­ even if you are just going out for a short time. Don't leave spare keys outside or in a garage or shed. Put car keys and garage keys out of sight in the house. Make your home look occupied when you are out or away overnight. Leave a light or a radio on to create an impression that someone is in. Fit locks to windows and patio doors, remove keys and keep them out of sight in a safe place. A burglar is less likely to break in if they have to smash a window. 5. 6. Postcode your property. Marked property can deter burglars because it is a lot harder for a thief to sell and can help the police to return it if found. Lock all outbuildings and hide all tools and equipment that a thief may find useful, such as spades and ladders. Don't leave valuables in any outbuildings. Consider fitting a burglar alarm to your home. It is one of the best ways of deterring a criminal from committing a burglary. Take advice and get a number of quotes from different companies. Use security lighting to illuminate the outside of your home especially at the side and rear. Criminals do not want to be seen.



If you see anyone acting suspiciously in your neighbourhood - call the Police. If you would like further crime prevention advice or have a security survey carried out on your home please contact P.C. Mike Harvey on 01639 889178 or Sian Morris on 01639 889161

Consultation Questionnaire

£250 Prize for completion of questionnaire

As part of the Renewal Area Team's commitment to consultation with the residents, a questionnaire was distributed to all properties within the Renewal Area boundary in November 2005. The questionnaire asked residents about their household and families along with any concerns they have regarding their community. Residents were also invited to make suggestions regarding improvements that could be made to the area.

All questionnaires completed and returned by 16th December 2005 were entered into a prize draw. The winning resident was Mrs Moveen Turner of Burns Road in Sandfields. Mrs Turner was presented with her £250 cash prize by the Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council Derek Vaughan. Accepting the prize, Mrs Turner said, "The win came as a big surprise and is a lovely unexpected Christmas present. I'm planning a New Year holiday and this prize has come at just the right time".

Aberavon Gas Works Estate, Victoria Road, Sandfields Estate, Port Talbot Tel: 01639 895276

Many thanks to Neil Maggs of Beachways Pet & Garden Centre for the loan of ornamental shrubbery during the official launch of the Renewal Area Office.

[email protected]


Kathryn Britton

New Keep Wales Tidy Environmental Project Officer

Keep Wales Tidy is a registered charity set up to improve the environment within Wales; their aim is to create a cleaner, safer, tidier Wales. They have joined forces with the Sandfields East and Aberavon Renewal Area and appointed an environmental officer to promote enjoyable conservation activities in the Renewal Area. Jointly funded by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, Communities First and Awards for all Wales, the post of Project Officer has now been successfully filled by Kathryn Britton. Kathryn, herself a resident of the renewal area, will be based at the Renewal Area Office in Wellington Place. Kathryn has been trained as an Eco-Schools Assessor and one of her roles will be to encourage all schools to achieve and improve their Eco-School status. Kathryn said, "this is an excellent example of organisations and agencies coming together to improve the quality of life for the residents of Sandfields East and Aberavon. I will be involving local people to care for their environment and encouraging groups of volunteers to `adopt' designated areas and focus on its ongoing care". The voluntary groups will be supported by Kathryn who can provide training, help and advice and attend group events whenever appropriate. The voluntary group will raise awareness of socio-environmental issues such as:

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Dog fouling Fly Tipping Graffiti Litter Clean Rivers

Dog fouling bags are now available from the Renewal Area drop in centre in Wellington Place as well as the Civic Centre in Port Talbot. Graffiti is being targeted jointly with the Youth Offending Team. Kathryn will be working closely with outside agencies such as Groundwork, Workways, the Youth Offending Team, Princess Trust and BTCV in delivering the projects. As the Renewal Area Team becomes more pro-active more diverse projects will be addressed, greening initiatives will be developed and socio-environmental issues addressed. Kathryn will bring together organisations and volunteers to work on all the projects initiated. Anyone who is interested in joining the Daclus Sandfileds Aberavon Group or organisations such as Youth Clubs, Women's Institutes, Voluntary Groups, Schools, Scouts or Brownies can also become involved by contacting Kathryn on: 01639 796100, or alternatively you could call into the Renewal Area Office in Wellington Place.


For a FREE OF CHARGE collection of your bulky waste items, please telephone 01639 746555. Please help to keep your local environment clean by: · Placing your refuse and recyclables out by 6.00am along with your household bin for your collection day only. This will reduce litter and reduce the number of bins / bags set on fire. · Tie any bags to help prevent spillage.

Staff Profile

Name: Peter Lewis, Post : Renewal Area Senior Housing Surveyor I commenced my current post with NPTCBC in March 2006, having previously worked for the Housing Grants Team of Port Talbot Borough Council, Renewal Area Team of Newport CBC, Area Surveying Team of Charter HA (Newport), and more recently as an Inspector for NHBC. I've lived most of my life in Port Talbot having grown up in Taibach and been educated at both Dyffryn Comprehensive School and Afan College, and left the University of the West of England in 1996 with a degree in Construction Management. The work that the Renewal Area Team carry out is vital to the improvement of the Communities in which the residents of Neath Port Talbot live, and I am very pleased to be part of such a positive project.


[email protected]


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