Venue: Committee Room 2, City Hall. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services - 01522 873619
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 18 January 2016 be confirmed, subject to the attendance of Councillor Weaver being recorded as present at the meeting.
Declarations of Interest
Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.
No declarations of interest were received.
Bob Ledger, Strategic Director of Housing and Regeneration:
a. gave a verbal presentation on the proposals for the HRA Business Plan and a strategy for a new build covering the following main areas:
· Overall new build aims
· The case for sub market rent
· Market rent in a wholly owned company
· HRA investment in addition to new build
b. presented a report to advise members of the outcome of a refresh of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan and seek their endorsement to the new plan and the actions therein
c. advised that Executive approval was sought in three strands:
· To commit additional resources to an enhanced new build programme for social rent within the HRA
· For a more proactive approach to be taken in the development of affordable homes for rent by Housing Associations in the City
· In principle for the development of market rent properties in a ‘to be developed’ wholly owned Council company
d. reported that the Housing Revenue Account was last updated in 2012 to give autonomy to individual councils in return for a formula payment made to the government, however, the government had continued to impose national policy on local HRAs which presented a risk to the authority’s investment proposals in the new plan, resulting in an Executive direction for a new HRA Business Plan and options for new build housing outside the plan to be explored in detail
e. reported on the actions arising out of the refreshed HRA Business Plan as detailed at section 3 and Appendix F of the report
f. detailed proposals for the provision of more housing through direct intervention by the City Council across the tenures including a wholly owned company to develop market rented housing, as detailed at paragraph 4 of the report
g. requested consideration by Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee of the proposed adoption by the Council of the new Housing Revenue Account Business Plan appended to the report inclusive of the financial profiling and action plan at Appendices B, C and F.
Members discussed the comment of the report/presentation in further detail, raising various questions which received responses from the Strategic Director of Housing and Regeneration as follows:
· Question: Would cash for investment in established land acquisitions be borrowed from public works?
· Response: The total cost for new build and land acquisitions would be circa £16m; the council would borrow £3.5m with the rest funded through the HRA.
· Question: Would installation of permanent showers rather than showers over baths in council properties be a cheaper option long term?
· Response: People living in family housing preferred a choice of bathing facilities. Level accessed showers would be fitted in sheltered housing accommodation if necessary. This course of action was a better long term investment.
· Question: Would rental charges for the newly built properties be the same or higher?
· Response: Rents for affordable housing properties would be in the region of £85-90 per week. Privately rented homes would be subject to market rent ... view the full minutes text for item 40.
Bob Ledger, Strategic Director for Housing and Regeneration:
a. presented a report which set out the proposed governance framework and an indicative business case to create a Housing Company wholly owned by the Council; to deliver market rent properties as well as a lesser proportion of low cost home ownership properties
b. advised that Executive would be asked to approve:
· That a company be formed at low cost, through a registration process at Companies House.
· The governance and constitutional arrangements for the company as detailed within the report
· Agreement in principle to make funding available from the General Fund to finance the company
· That a detailed business plan for the company be progressed based on the indicative company balance sheet as detailed at Appendix 1 of the report
· That a detailed wholly owned company business plan and governance arrangements be developed and implemented in the summer of 2016 subject to final Executive approval
c. outlined in further detail the background to the proposals within the body of the report
d. requested committee’s consideration of the report and proposals to form a company and the recommendations to be considered by Executive at paragraph 2.1 of the report.
Members discussed the report in further detail, querying which committee would be responsible for scrutiny of the new company.
Bob Ledger, Strategic Director for Housing and Regeneration advised that should Executive approval in principle be given to the project, the proposals would be brought back to committee post-election period with final detail for approval.
RESOLVED that the proposals that a company be formed and the draft recommendations detailed at paragraph 1.2 of the report be supported.