Issue - meetings
Addressing Unmet Housing Need - Outline Business Case to Establish a Wholly Owned Local Housing Company
Meeting: 13/12/2018 - Council (Item 71)
Report of the Director of Place is attached.
Contact: Mark Barrow Tel: 01743 258919
- Local Housing Company Outline Business Case - December 2018, item 71 PDF 429 KB
- Trowers and Hamlins Legal Advice, item 71 PDF 231 KB
It was proposed by the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing Development, Councillor R Macey and seconded by the Deputy Portfolio Holder Councillor D Carroll that the report of the Director of Place on Addressing Unmet Housing Need, a copy of which is attached to the signed Minutes and the recommendations contained therein be received and agreed.
Particular attention was drawn to paragraph 1.3 of the report that detailed the primary purpose of a Council wholly owned Local Housing Company.
Members were generally in support of the initiative, but some reservations were voiced such as the safeguards needed to be put in place to keep track of developments, the capacity for a Director of the Council to also take on the role of the Housing Company Director. Others recognised that the proposal was outline at this stage and drew attention to the specific brief to help the whole if the county and not focus solely on schemes that may be more profitable.
Another Member commented on the need to develop a robust Housing Needs Strategy to meet the needs of the whole county and to develop the right housing in the right place. She added that scrutiny could play an important role in the development of effective delivery and financial mechanisms going forward. Concerns were voiced that this initiative should be used to help deliver on housing need and not focus on profit making.
The lack of land available in the south of the county was highlighted as an issue and the need to develop positive relationships with landowners was acknowledged. The Deputy Portfolio Holder added that profit accrued by the Company in developing sites in the north of the county initially could then be used to purchase land in the south of the county.
Responding to some of the issues raised the Leader stated that it was important for the company to make money in order to build more homes and he assured Members that any sites available across the county would be considered. Another Member commented that the opportunity to work with Parish/Town Councils should not be missed as the initiative was effectively about place shaping.
Cross party, Members were supportive of this initiative and praised the work to date that had been undertaken by the Portfolio Holder in securing this support and keeping the issues outside of the political arena. The Deputy Portfolio Holder agreed and stated that the Member briefing sessions that had been held had made a valuable contribution in gaining Members’ consensus.
In bringing the debate to a close, the Portfolio Holder thanked the Task and Finish Group for its input to date and stated that there would be a need for pre-decision scrutiny at the next stage of the process. He thanked all Members for their support and for the positive feedback that had been given to date.
i) That it be agreed in principle that a Council Wholly Owned Local Housing Company be formed;
ii) That the outline governance and constitutional ... view the full minutes text for item 71