Agenda item

Housing Growth Report

-           Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Adult Services to report.


Councillor McNeely, Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods, introduced a report by the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Adult Services, which identified, both in the local and national context, that there was an immediate and increasing need to provide more homes both public and private across the Borough.


Whilst the Council was successfully enabling the delivery of around 540 new homes each year, this did not meet overall housing need nor the Local Planning Authority target of 850 homes.


This report introduced concepts to enable growth, if supported these would be described in more detail in subsequent reports. The report also explored delivery mechanisms for a medium to long term programme of building new public and private sector homes, and considered the Council’s enabling role and financing options to support a housing growth agenda. Growth delivery mechanisms included using the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) 30 Year Business Plan as a catalyst for growth, using up to £500,000 per year from corporate capital resources, making best use of public land and buildings and establishing a ‘growth’ capital fund.


It was proposed that the Housing Revenue Account capital resources be integrated into a much broader private sector housing growth agenda. The aim was to significantly increase the construction of new homes across the Borough. This would stimulate the local economy and meet our regeneration aims which would mean more opportunities to meet priorities around skills, jobs, deprived communities and relieve budget pressures through more New Homes Bonus and specialist housing.


As the decision required investment of over £500,000, it was a key decision and permission was obtained from the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board to waive the twenty-eight days’ notice period.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the release £20m of resources to fund a new affordable social house building programme be approved, utilising part of the borrowing headroom provided through the Housing Self-Financing Settlement, which was affordable within the Housing Revenue Account 30 Year Business Plan.


(2)  That the draft Housing Growth Plan be developed and refined as set out in this report and progress be reviewed within appropriate Council Forums and decision making Boards.


(3)  That the viability of establishing a capital investment pot of up to £10m be explored with Corporate Finance to help deliver the private sector elements of the Housing Growth Plan.  In conjunction with this, to develop the principle of establishing a Housing Growth Joint Venture, which will be the subject of a more detail report setting out its operation, value and implications of entering into such a relationship.


(4)  That a review be undertaken to identify Housing Revenue Account and General Fund land in the corporate property asset plan that could help deliver the Housing Growth agenda alongside other corporate objectives.


(5)   That three New Housing Business Development staff be identified and resourced to work in the Strategic Housing Investment Service


(6)  That the options for creating and funding a pump priming capital fund of up to £500,000 per annum be explored with Financial Services to mitigate any impact on the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy.

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