Purpose of Report
To provide an update on the progress made to deliver and enable a pipeline of affordable housing in the city, as laid out in Vision 2020.
The report also sought approvals of proposals to deliver new-build affordable rented homes at the vacant Markham House site and to advance plans for a scheme of approximately 44 units on Council owned land at Rookery Lane.
Authority was also sought for a draft delivery programme for Council new build and acquisition for 2019-22 to keep a pipeline of development coming forward, together with feasibility works on a range of potential in-fill sites.
That the Executive:
(1) Approves proposals to deliver five two-bedroom four person affordable houses for rent at the vacant Markham House site.
(2) Approves the undertaking of survey and design work for an affordable housing scheme at Rookery Lane.
(3) Approves the undertaking of initial feasibility works in order to explore the viability of in-fill sites.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Reason for Decision
Over the five year period 2012-17 the Council directly delivered 30 affordable homes for rent across the following sites:
· Wellington Street – five lifetime homes;
· Stapleford Court – five lifetime homes;
· Birchwood – 20 bungalows, with 19 lifetime homes and one wheelchair standard.
In 2017 the Council produced its Strategic Plan, Vision 2020, which set out a commitment to enabling the delivery of 400 affordable homes by 2020. Through a combination of acquisitions and enabling, 284 affordable homes were delivered over the period 2017-19.
Whilst additional affordable homes were being delivered, however, sales through the Right to Buy resulted in a reduction of affordable housing available provided through social housing tenancies. Therefore, in order to replace the stock that was lost through Right to Buy and maintain supply, a pipeline of 45-50 new affordable homes per year was required.
It was reported that in October 2018 the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap was lifted, enabling the Council to continue its own housebuilding programme after 2020.
In order to continue a pipeline of new affordable homes, the following schemes had already been approved or were proposed:
· De Wint Court: a scheme of 70 one and two bedroom affordable extra care sheltered housing apartments for rent;
· Markham House site: a scheme of five two bedroom affordable houses for rent. Further details relating to this scheme were highlighted in paragraph 4.5 of the report;
· Rookery Lane site: proposals for a scheme of approximately 44 new-build affordable dwellings for rent and shared ownership. Further details relating to this scheme were highlighted in paragraph 4.6 of the report.
In addition, the Council was working with local residents to develop an improved and potentially remodelled or extended scheme at Hermit Street flats in Sincil Bank.
A combination of Homes England and Lincolnshire County Council grant was part-funding the De Wint Court extra care sheltered housing scheme, delivering a net gain of 37 dwellings. In addition, Homes England grant funding was enabling partner housing associations to deliver a further 147 units over the period 2019/22.
The Council had viable levels of useable Right to Buy receipts. During 2019/20 the Council was continuing to acquire former local authority dwellings on the basis that these dwellings were cost effective to manage and maintain and usually had good size standards, with other dwellings considered for purchase when they met a specific identified need. It was proposed that this programme of acquisitions would continue alongside a delivery of new housing to maintain a pipeline of council housing to serve immediate and future needs and to contribute to the wider inclusive growth agenda for the city.
Councillor Ric Metcalfe said that the Council should be proud of its achievements in respect of housing delivery, with the progress made taking the authority closer to its commitment to enabling the delivery of 400 affordable homes by 2020. More targets associated with housing delivery would feature as part of the Council’s Vision 2025.
Councillor Nannestad echoed these sentiments but was keen to ensure that the Council planned for the future and had other sites ready to progress for development, maintaining the momentum.
It was noted that the work associated with progress to date in respect of housing delivery had been a very good example of the way in which different Departments, namely Housing and Investment, Major Developments, Finance and Legal had all worked collectively together, demonstrating the ‘One Council’ approach.