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Decision details

Zero Tolerance Policy –Storage in Communal Areas

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


To approve the Zero Tolerance Policy.


Matter for Decision

The report sought approval to replace the existing policy on storage on housing owned communal areas and to approve a zero tolerance policy for all blocks where Cambridge City Council was the freeholder of the building.


Decision of Executive Councilor for Housing

  i.  Agreed to change the title of the Policy to ‘Storage in Communal Areas – Zero Tolerance Policy’.

  ii.  Agreed to replace the existing ‘Policy on Storage on Housing Owned Communal Areas’ as shown in appendix 2 of the officer’s report.

  iii.  Approved a Zero Tolerance Policy to be applied to all flat blocks in Cambridge where Cambridge City Council was the freeholder of the building as shown in appendix 3 of the officer’s report.

  iv.  Agreed to support officers of the council in enforcing the policy and ensuring fire safety procedures were implemented.

  v.  Approved the amendment of the Tenancy Conditions as required reflecting the Zero Tolerance Policy.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Housing Services Manager. The purpose of the replacement policy (following a review of fire safety as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire) was to ensure a clear, consistent approach to prevent the storage of any items in the communal areas to reduce risks and improve the overall appearance of the internal communal areas of Cambridge City Council’s owned flats.


In response to the Committee’s comments the Housing Services Manager and Strategic Director said the following:



  i.  Could not advise of cost implications for the implementation of the new policy but would be closely monitored.

  ii.  It would be possible to determine if additional space such as the installation of bike racks or communal storage was required as the risk assessments were undertaken. These proposals for improvements would then be brought forward as part of the budget proposals for estate improvements.

  iii.  Officers were currently undertaking surveys of the estates to identify and prioritise what work was required to enhance and develop the tenant blocks and estates. This work would link to the same budget proposals.

  iv.  It was not possible to advise when these projects would be concluded for the Committee’s consideration. 

  v.  Risk assessments in the north of the city had started, with an outcome of 700 actions to remove items or for residents to take items back into their properties; some of those actions had been completed.

  vi.  Work continued to be carried out with residents to explain why the policy needed to be applied. It was all about engagement to ensure the policy would be adhered to.

 vii.  An article to inform residents of the adoption of the new policy would be published in the October edition of ‘Open Door’ magazine. The policy had also been referenced in previous editions to give residents advanced warning. 

viii.  Acknowledged that residents wanted to make enhancements to either outside their front doors and / or communal areas with the addition of such things as plants, flowers and rugs; but individual risk assessments would be undertaken on all properties and those items which were deemed causing a hazard would be removed.

  ix.  Noted the suggestion of identifying communal outdoor spaces / gardens as part of the consultation process.

  x.  Had not looked at the policies of other local authorities.

  xi.  The policy had been produced with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service officers who had a local knowledge of the buildings and the possible risks.

 xii.  Reiterated that the policy was about fire safety. If items were deemed to cause a trip hazard and / or a fire risk these would be removed.

xiii.  Regular fire safety inspections of the communal areas were undertaken as the Council had a legal responsibility to maintain a safe environment for tenants and leaseholders. The policy was therefore part of a wider fire safety process.

xiv.  In adopting the policy, officers would work with all residents to complete the risk assessment and determine alternative locations for those items which were causing an obstruction. 


The Executive Councillor concluded the policy had been drafted in consultation with tenants and leaseholders with input from the fire services. It was a zero tolerance policy against the risk to fire safety. Officers would work with local residents to determine alternate solutions to personalise their communal spaces and budget proposals would be brought forward when determined for future consideration.


The Committee:


Diane Best proposed that the title of the report should be changed to the following ‘Storage in Communal Areas – Zero Tolerance Policy’.


This amendment was carried 8 votes to 0.


The Committee resolved 8 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendations.


The Executive Councillor for Housing approved the recommendations.


Publication date: 12/03/2019

Date of decision: 27/09/2018