October 6, 2022 1.30 pm This story is over 13 months old

South Kesteven council housing nearly out of special measures

The council had failed to keep up with safety checks

South Kesteven is likely to get its housing out of special measures within months, council bosses say.

A regulatory notice was issued nearly two years ago for failing to keep up to date with properties’ electrical, fire safety and asbestos checks.

Tenants were potentially put in danger by the lax safety record.

A push to make sure its properties are up to date mean the council is hoping to see the government notice lifted within months.

Preparations are now being made for a final external audit, which will hopefully take place in November.

The government’s regulator could then lift the special measures around December or January.

Members of the Rural and Communities scrutiny committee praised the turnaround on Wednesday.

Councillor Virginia Moran said: “Compared to when we went into special measures, the figures are fantastic.

“I believe that you could audit any council in the country at random, and they wouldn’t be close to where we are.”

Grantham’s Riverside flats were highlighted by the regulator | Photo: Google

Councillor Robert Reid, the cabinet member for housing and property, said: “We are all looking forward to getting the notice lifted. We are working on procuring an external audit which can then be sent to the regulator.”

South Kesteven District Council owns around 6000 properties in Grantham, Stamford, Bourne, the Deepings and the surrounding areas.

Councillor Ashley Baxter added it would be a “glorious day” when the notice was lifted.

100% of council properties have now had fire risk assessments and asbestos inspections.

Only a handful of properties haven’t had gas inspections due to occupants refusing to let inspectors in.

The council hoped to get 16 warrants to compel this in August, but this has faced court delays.

Electrical checks are at 86% across the district.

Committee members suggested that residents who were reluctant to open the door to inspectors might be persuaded by the “friendly faces” of their own ward members.

The original report into safety failings found that fire risk assessments – which should be carried out annually – had not been completed since 2017.

Fire alarm testing hadn’t been carried out in sheltered accommodation or in buildings with communal areas, and fire extinguishers and emergency lighting had not been checked recently.