Cabinet Member for Housing
117.1 Councillor Wilshaw introduced the report and said that she was pleased to present for adoption the first ever Joint Homes and Housing Strategy. Everyone needed and deserved somewhere to live and call home. However, with house prices approximately eleven times the local average wage, delivery of new homes was in a difficult place, residents were still feeling the effects of the 2007 economic recession, very high private rents and people continuing to live longer. Residents were facing an unprecedented set of housing market circumstances which combined made it very difficult especially for lower earners and first time buyers to find somewhere to call home. This Strategy will provide the right direction and level of accountability to realise the 9 aims set out and a comprehensive set of action plans are included. The actions are not limited to what only the Council can achieve but also working with all stakeholders involved in creating and sustaining a vibrant and accessible housing market, furthermore the Strategy makes it clear it is not just what the Council does but how to do it. The Homes and Housing Strategy committed the Council to working with anyone who wants to develop and deliver the right homes in the right places at the right time making the most effective use of housing stock already here. The Strategy made it clear the Council wants its residents to be able to find and secure homes which were affordable and high quality enabling them to build settled, safe and healthy lives in sustainable and thriving communities.
117.2 Finally, with such an ambitious housing vision it was important to stress that this was a long- term commitment. The Strategy and Action Plan presented sets the scene for the next five years focusing on ways to improve the quality choice of supplied homes.
117.3 Councillor Wilshaw then MOVED the recommendations in the report which Councillor Horn SECONDED.
117.4 Councillor Stringer raised a point relating to self-builders and felt that this was an aspect that had not been touched on in the Strategy.
117.5 Councillor Welham also raised a point relating to page 211 of the Strategy and said that when talking about viability it was not just about the cheapness of construction but should also be looking at producing houses with low energy and maintenance costs to make them more viable for people on low incomes.
117.6 In response, the Assistant Director for Housing gave his assurance that the Council was committed to provide sustainable houses and also informed Councillor Stringer that the Joint Local Plan now being formulated was looking at how to support and encourage the use of self-building where possible.
117.7 Councillor Eburne asked whether the Council would be looking at housing for social rent as part of this Strategy.
117.8 Councillor Wilshaw confirmed that this was the case.
By unanimous Vote
It was Resolved:-
(i) That the Homes and Housing Strategy (2019-2024) attached as Appendix A and associated Action Plans attached as Appendix B be approved for implementation.
(ii) That the Assistant Director for Housing in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing be delegated the authority to make future minor amendments and updates to the Strategy and Action Plans, where required and appropriate.