Agenda item

Report of the Head of Housing and Community Services - Maidstone Housing Strategy 2016-2020


The Committee considered the new Maidstone Housing Strategy 2016-2020 for presentation to full Council for adoption, and considered whether a review of the Action Plan within the Maidstone Housing Strategy 2016-2020 should be undertaken during 2018, to ensure that it remained fit for purpose and could respond to future direction of travel both nationally and locally.


The Committee heard that the Maidstone Housing Strategy was a key policy document which the Policy and Resources Committee were responsible for scrutinising before it went before Council for approval as part of Local Government legislation.


The Committee were informed that the housing landscape had changed with homeownership down, an expansion of the rented housing sector and an increasing population. Demand for Affordable Housing had increased.  The Council had been working with developers to explore new initiatives from the Homes and Communities Agency.


The main aims of the Strategy were to work in conjunction with the Planning Department to deliver sufficient quantities of Affordable Homes to a high standard.  The Strategy looked to increase opportunities to reduce the cost of temporary accommodation, maintain the private rented sector to a high standard, double the disabled adaptation grant and prevent homelessness as far as possible.


The Committee acknowledged the work of the Housing Team in producing the strategy.


In response to questions the Committee heard:


·  That the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee had not seen the strategy document, however they had seen the detail of the consultation carried out which fed into the strategy.


·  The high demand for temporary accommodation was mainly caused by the private rented sector and people moving out from London where rent charges were higher.


·  40% of people in temporary accommodation were working families because it was difficult for them to find the resources to fund owning their own home.  An increase in Starter Homes may have an impact on reducing the demand.


·  The Government’s Affordable Housing Programme had come to an end.  The Government’s focus was on helping first time buyers.  Members were informed it would help if they could lobby their local Member of Parliament for support for funding for the rented sector.


·  The Council would not be able to achieve the levels of Affordable Housing it had in the past.  Local authorities and housing associations been working through the details of what the new housing environment would look like where the Shared Ownership grant was still available.


·  The Committee heard there had been no more Gypsy and Traveller sites delivered.


·  It was confirmed that a viability study including financial calculations would be presented to the committee before a decision was made regarding the creation of a Local Housing Company.


·  Members would be kept informed of the Self/Custom Build register to establish how aware people were of it.


·  A Supplementary Planning Document for housing standards was to be developed to ensure quality and space standards were met by developers.




1.  That the extensive research, analysis and consultation which has been undertaken with relevant stakeholders to inform the Maidstone Housing Strategy 2016-2020 be noted.


2.  That the Maidstone Housing Strategy 2016-2020 be approved to full Council for adoption.


3.  That the decision of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee to approve a review in 2018 of the Action Plan within the Maidstone Housing Strategy 2016-2020 to ensure it remains fit for purpose and can respond to future directions of travel both nationally and locally be endorsed.


Voting:  For – 14  Against – 0  Abstentions – 1 as Councillor Garland arrived at 7:07pm - during the discussion of the item.


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