COMMUNITIES, HOUSING & ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

5 October 2021

 

Draft Housing Strategy 2021-26 for Consultation

 

Final Decision-Maker

COMMUNITIES, HOUSING AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

Lead Head of Service

William Cornall

Director of Regeneration & Place

Lead Officer and Report Author

John Littlemore

Head of Housing & Community Services

Classification

Public

 

Wards affected

All

 

Executive Summary

Best practice encourages local housing authorities to publish a Housing Strategy to set out its key housing objectives and how they will be achieved. This report provides the draft Housing Strategy 2021-26 for review by the Committee and to approve for consultation with key stakeholders.

Purpose of Report

 

Decision

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   That the Committee approves the draft Housing Strategy 2021-26 attached at Appendix A to the report for consultation, and that the results are reported back to the Committee later this year.

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

CHE Committee

05-10-2021



Draft Housing Strategy 2021-26 for Consultation

 

1.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

The four Strategic Plan objectives are:

 

         Embracing Growth and Enabling Infrastructure

         Safe, Clean and Green

         Homes and Communities

         A Thriving Place

         Accepting the recommendations will materially improve the Councilís ability to achieve its ĎHomes and Communitiesí and ĎThriving Placeí priorities. 

Head of Housing & Community Services

Cross Cutting Objectives

The four cross-cutting objectives are:

 

         Heritage is Respected

         Health Inequalities are Addressed and Reduced

         Deprivation and Social Mobility is Improved

         Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability is respected

 

The report recommendation supports the achievements of the above cross cutting objectives.

 

Head of Housing & Community Services

Risk Management

         Covered in the risk section of the reportí

 

Head of Housing & Community Services

Financial

         Implementing the Housing Strategy accounts for a significant element of the Councilís overall revenue and capital resources.† The revenue budget for housing, net of grants and rental income, amounts to £1.6 million, and there is provision in the capital programme for £79 million of new investment in housing development and regeneration, along with the acquisition of properties for temporary accommodation.

Section 151 Officer & Finance Team

Staffing

         We will deliver the recommendations with our current staffing.

Head of Housing & Community Services

Legal

         Acting on the recommendations is within the Councilís powers as set out in the Councilís Constitution at part 1.10, 2.2 and 2.3

Team Leader (Contentious)

Privacy and Data Protection

         Accepting the recommendations will have no direct impact on the volume of data held by the Council.  We will hold that data in line with our retention schedules.

Policy and Information Team

Equalities

         We recognise the recommendations may have varying impacts on different communities within Maidstone.  Therefore, an equalities impact assessment will be completed following the consultation process.

Policy & Information Manager

Public Health

 

 

         We recognise that the recommendations will have a positive impact on population health or that of individuals.

 

Public Health Officer

Crime and Disorder

         The recommendation will have a positive impact on Crime and Disorder. The Community Protection Team have been consulted and mitigation has been proposed

 

Head of Housing & Community Services

Procurement

         Not applicable

Head of Service & Section 151 Officer

Biodiversity and Climate Change

         The implications of this report on biodiversity and climate change have been considered and align with Action 5.2 to ĎEnsure Local Plan review considers level of current and future flood risk and developments are planned accordinglyí of the Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan.

         Additional Implications for consideration include:

             i.        Sourcing sustainable building materials and audit and management to reduce building materials waste and carbon reduction for sustainable housing.

            ii.        Sustainable housing for future expected impacts of climate change eg. Heatwaves, heavier rains, flooding.

           iii.        Increase tree coverage, biodiversity and environmental protection where possible.

          iv.        Align with Climate Adaption needs, as well as energy and water efficiency goals.

Biodiversity and Climate Change Manager

 

2.††††† INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1     Good practice dictates that the Council produce and maintains a Housing Strategy that sets out the local housing authorityís vision for housing in its area. The Strategy describes the objectives, policies and targets for how the authority intends to manage and deliver its strategic housing role and provides an overarching framework against which the authority considers and formulates other policies on more specific housing issues. †

 

2.2     The Housing Strategy will reflect both national and local policy, as well as the on local market conditions. In developing our Housing Strategy close liaison has taken place with our Policy Team and Spatial Planning Team to ensure synergy between it and both the Councilís overarching Strategic Plan (2018-2045) and other key Council policies.

 

2.3     Following best practice guidelines, the Housing Strategy should:

Analyse the housing needs locally that illustrate the challenges that the Strategy is seeking to solve. This analysis could include, for example, data on:

        Mismatches between the supply and demand for housing

        Address affordability across different sub-groups

        Comparison of recent growth in rents and incomes

        Vacancy rates, housing standards including physical conditions

        Impact on health and wellbeing of residents linked to housing

 

2.4     Define the policy objectives the local authority hopes to achieve through the strategy. The Strategy will identify overarching priorities that will form the basis for developing an action plan in the next iteration of the Strategy.

 

2.5     Develop a comprehensive approach to meeting these objectives using the full array of resources available to the local authority and key partners. This approach should draw on the broad set of resources and policy tools available to the local authority, including:

        Central government and local authority grants

        Direct intervention by delivering new housing either through MBC or Maidstone Property Holdings Ltd

        Supporting housing association partners to deliver new affordable housing

        Ensuring that existing housing meets with the statutory and local policy housing standards and enforcement processes

        Providing supported accommodation and services to assist the vulnerable members of our community

        Delivering initiatives linked to addressing fuel poverty and climate change & energy efficent homes

 

2.6     Identify funding sources and contingencies. Funding sources might include one-time grants, such as through Homes England, the use of the Councilís capital receipts, or long-term borrowing through the Public Loans Board or other reputable source. Opportunities to accrue external grants for both capital and revenue will be explored and fully exploited.

 

2.7     Develop a plan for implementing the recommended approaches. Following the consultation period with our key stakeholders, an action plan will be developed and presented to a future meeting of the Committee that will set out how the Council will achieve the objectives set out in the Strategy, to be delivered over a 5-year plan period. The action plan will identify key stakeholders that will assist the Council to deliver those objectives and where necessary identify funding sources.

 

2.8     The action plan will be developed with the Councilís Policy and Information Team and be complemented by a dashboard of metrics that will allow the Committee to track progress of key policy objectives on a regular basis. This will highlight bottlenecks that can be addressed in a timely manner including with more resources or policy modifications.

 

2.9     Included in the report appendix is a summary of the excellent progress that was made against the previous Housing Strategyís Action Plan. Many of the objectives have been achieved or are making good progress towards their delivery. An up to date commentary is provided against each action to enable the Committee to see how these actions have progressed.†

 

2.10  The draft Housing Strategy sets out three key areas:

        Priority 1: Enable the delivery of high-quality new homes that meet local housing need

        Priority 2: Ensure existing homes are safe, sustainable, of good quality, and support residentsí health and wellbeing

        Priority 3: Prevent homelessness and enable vulnerable people to access appropriate housing and support

 

2.11  These priority areas not only reflect the continuation of the existing Housing Strategy but also flow from the evidence gathered from a number of sources, including the developing Strategic Housing Market Assessment and statutory homelessness activity returns (HCLIC).

 

2.12  The consultation will focus on whether internal and external stakeholders agree that these are the correct priority areas; whether any other key priority needs to be included and how the action plan will reflect delivering against these key areas of activity.

 

2.13  The final document will include the Housing Strategy presented to ensure that it is appealing and easy to digest and the action plan developed from the consultation.

 

 

3.   AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

3.1     The Committee is requested to note the progress against the Housing Strategy 2016-20 and approve the draft Housing Strategy 2021-26 for consultation. The outcome of the consultation to be presented to the CHE Committee together with an updated Strategy that includes an action plan for consideration.

 

3.2     The Committee could choose not to begin the process of adopting a new Housing Strategy but this is not recommended, as the Council is under a requirement to maintain an up to date Housing Strategy and this will support the Councilís key priority to deliver its aims expressed in the Strategic Plan.

 

 

4.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1     The preferred option is Paragraph 3.1 for the reasons set out within the report. †

 

 

5.       RISK

5.1    The councilís risk associated with the draft document are in line with the Councilís risk appetite and any mitigating actions proposed if needed.

 

6.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

6.1     A communication strategy is being developed to support the consultation process and will also adapt to promote the launch of the final document once this has been approved by the CHE Committee and adopted by Council.

 

 

7.   REPORT APPENDICES

 

      Appendix A: Draft Housing Strategy 2021-26

 

 

8.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

      Housing Strategy 2016-20