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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet 18th March 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member of Housing Building Maintenance and Community Safety

 

Upper Holton Road Consultation on Housing Renewal Assistance

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To apprise members on the results of the public consultation regarding housing renewal for the upper section of Holton Road Barry and to agree a way forward.

Recommendations

1.             That the findings of the public consultation regarding housing renewal for the upper section of Holton Road, Barry are noted.

2.             That officers continue to explore options for introducing funding streams to bring forward schemes in the area.

3.             That a further report be presented to Cabinet in due course on progress relating to the Upper Holton Road area.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To inform Cabinet of the results of the public consultation concerning housing renewal for the upper section of Holton Road Barry and the situation with regard to funding such a scheme.

2.             To identify other funding options.

3.             To apprise Cabinet of any developments in relation to the upper section of Holton Road.

Background

2.             Between the 4th January 2012 and 14th March 2012 a 10 week consultation was undertaken on three areas of policy affecting the upper section of Holton Road, Barry.  These were:

·               Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance on Upper Holton Road, which sought to establish specific design guidelines for the future development of Upper Holton Road as well as influencing the pattern of land use within the stated area.  This was approved for development control purposes in July 2012.

·               Amendments to financial assistance available through the Housing Renewal Policy to deliver improvements in Upper Holton Road

·               Introduction of a licensing scheme for HMOs in the Renewal Area (including Upper Holton Road)

3.             This paper details the results of the consultation to amend the Housing Renewal Policy to offer financial assistance to owners to secure physical improvements to upper Holton road.  The introduction of a licensing scheme for the Renewal Area is the subject of a separate report to this Committee.

4.             The consultation sought views on the preferred option of a loan or part grant to improve the front elevation of properties in the upper section of Holton Road and if assistance was offered what works should be funded.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             To promote the consultation letters were sent to all known owners, drop-in sessions were held across 3 different days at the Castleland Renewal Area Office, a press release was issued and the consultation was highlighted on the front of the Council's web site.  To capture opinion questionnaires were completed and subsequently analysed.

6.             In total, 25 questionnaires were completed and analysed.  From these questionnaire the following responses were received:

·               92% (23) of respondents felt the Council should offer financial assistance to owners to help improve their properties on the upper section of Holton Road.

·               88% (22) of respondents believe this assistance should be in the form of a grant.

·               Where a grant is offered, 50% stated it should be a fixed sum of £10,000, and 91% stated the money should not be repayable.

·               12% (3) of respondents believe the financial assistance offered should be a loan. 

·               Where a loan is offered, the majority stated the loan should cover the full amount, be subject to interest and repayable in full.

·               With regard to targeting any finance, 56% of respondent were not happy for work to be limited to street level if this increased the number of properties that could be approved, but wanted the whole front of the property included.  83% also wanted the assistance to be targeted on a block-by-block basis and not on a worse first basis.

7.             In addition to the questionnaires, draft designs and estimated costs were commissioned to establish an estimated cost of works for a renewal scheme.  To renovate a shop front the cost of work is estimated at £20,000 per property, while to renovate a poorly converted residential property the cost of works is estimated at £12,500 per property.  Therefore, the estimated cost of work to complete a renewal scheme in the upper section of Holton Road will be at least £1.8 million.

8.             The only capital budget that could be used for a renewal scheme in upper section of Holton Road is the Castleland Renewal Area Capital Funding.  This funding is bid for on an annual basis and, at present, this is part funded by the Council and by the Welsh Government.  However, the funding stream from the Welsh Government is under review and it is not know whether the Welsh Government will continue to fund Renewal Areas from 2014/15.

9.             The Castleland Renewal Area Capital funding has been supporting the successful face-lifting programme to residential properties in the Castleland Renewal Area.  To enable the completion of this successful programme, any Welsh Government and Council funding agreed for Castleland Renewal Area will be committed to complete the residential face-lifting programme.

10.        To finance a renewal scheme in upper Holton Road, either Welsh Government funding will need to continue in its current offer or alternative capital funding would need to be identified and a bid submitted.  While the views of the owners of property in Holton Road are noted, if such a funding is identified and a bid was successful, the terms and condition of the assistance offered to the owners would need to meet that funding's terms. It is proposed therefore that officers will seek to identify other capital funding opportunities for this scheme.

11.        If funding is identified for a scheme, the Housing Renewal Policy 2011-13 will require amendment to detail the terms and conditions of assistance offered to owners participating in the scheme.  If funding is identified, a report recommending an amendment to the Housing Renewal Policy will be presented to Cabinet, and Cabinet's approval will be required before financial assistance to owners in upper Holton Road can be offered.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.        Schemes in the Castleland Renewal Area are funded from the Castleland Renewal Area Capital Programme. 

13.        The Castleland Renewal Area Capital budget consists of capital funding from the Council that is bid for on an annual basis and specific capital grant from Welsh Government.

14.        The Welsh Government is reviewing the specific capital grant for Renewal Areas and until this review is completed it is not clear if, and how, Welsh Government will support Renewal Areas in the future.

15.        To date funding from the Castleland Renewal Area Capital Programme has supported the residential face-lifting programme in the Castleland Renewal Area.

16.        A renewal scheme in Holton Road cannot therefore be progressed at this time.  Alternative funding would need to be identified and a bid successfully made if a renewal scheme is to be progressed.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17.        The Renewal Area team have included requirements in building contracts for contractors to provide training opportunities.  If funding is available and this scheme progresses this will be included in the contract.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

18.        To enable financial assistance to be offered, the Housing Renewal Policy 2011-13 will need to be amended in accordance with the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002.

19.        Cabinet approval will be required to amend This Policy if assistance is to be offered in the future.

Crime and Disorder Implications

20.        These works will assist in improving the visual appearance of the street scene.  This should assist in the regeneration of the street and improve confidence.  This scheme in partnership with the proposed additional HMO licensing will help to reduce the low level of anti-social behaviour in the street.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

21.        This is no impact on equalities from this report.

22.        On review of the Housing Renewal Policy an equalities impact assessment will be completed.

Corporate/Service Objectives

23.        Corporate Plan 2013-17

Regeneration

To tackle the underlying causes of deprivation and maximise the potential of the position of the Vale within the region working with neighbours for the benefit of local people and businesses, attracting visitors, residents and investments

Sustaining vibrant communities

Implement the Castleland Renewal Area to improve the standard of housing and the local environment. (2017)

Policy Framework and Budget

24.        This report is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

25.        Local Ward Members have been consulted on the report.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

26.        Housing and Public Protection

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Elen Probert, Principal Housing and Pollution Officer 01446 709833

 

Officers Consulted

Principal Accountant, Finance

Lawyer, Legal

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services.

 

 

 

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