Top

Top

Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting:  14 July, 2014

 

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

 

Draft Local Housing Strategy - Public Consultation

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek approval to conduct public consultation on the draft Local Housing Strategy 2014-19.

2.         Public consultation will inform the development of the final Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 for the Vale of Glamorgan, which is a local authority requirement set out in  Section 87 of the Local Government Act 2003.

Recommendations

1.         THAT Cabinet approves the draft Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 as a consultative document.

2.         THAT Cabinet approves the consultation strategy detailed in the body of the report.

3.         THAT a further report be provided to Cabinet with the final Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 along with feedback from the public consultation exercise, along with an estimate of any extra resources required to meet the strategy.

4.         THAT the report is referred to the Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee for consideration as part of the consultation process.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To enable the draft Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 to become a public document available for consultation.

2.         To obtain feedback from council stakeholders interested bodies and the public on the draft Local Housing Strategy 2014-19.

3.         To seek Cabinet approval for the final Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 and provide a summary of the results of the public consultation exercise.

4.         To allow Scrutiny to consider the report.

Background

3.         The Council has a statutory role to play in the functioning of the housing market, as set out in two pieces of legislation:

·           Section 8 - Housing Act 1985 - requiring local authorities to consider housing conditions/needs in their locality;

·           Section 3 - Housing Act 2004 - requiring local authorities to keep housing conditions in private sector housing in their area under review;

4.         The Housing (Wales) Bill was published for consultation in November 2013.  If the Bill passes through all four stages (stage four is taking place on 8th July 2014), it will receive Royal Assent in Summer 2014, with a staggered roll out of the legislation governing different aspects of the Bill over a  number of years (Cabinet Minute C2350). The Local Housing Strategy will set local strategic direction to meet the challenges of the new Bill.

5.         Local authorities play a lead role in developing with partners an approach to housing across all tenures and ensure the delivery of more integrated housing and related services to meet local need.

6.         The strategic housing function incorporates an enabling role, with the local authority working in partnership with other public, private and third sector organisations to deliver suitable housing and to develop innovative solutions to address local housing needs.

7.         The draft Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 (Appendix 1) sets out the locally agreed, long term vision for housing; it provides a statement of local strategic housing-related objectives and target outcomes.

8.         The strategy covers a period of five years; however the vision is viewed over a longer period of time within the context of the Community Strategy. The wording of the aims and objectives of future strategies may vary, but the intentions remain the same, to contribute to the Vale being a place that is: ‘safe, clean and attractive, where individuals and communities have sustainable opportunities to improve their health, learning and skills, prosperity and wellbeing, and where there is a strong sense of community in which local groups and individuals have the capacity and incentive to make an effective contribution to the future sustainability of the area’.

9.         The strategy provides a vision and a framework for the next five years and highlights the key issues being addressed. 

10.      The approach adopted locally follows the national approach taken by the Welsh Government, that the aims and objectives of the strategy are designed to improve people’s lives, it will:

·           Provide more housing of the right type and offer more choice.

·           Improve homes and communities, including the energy efficiency of new and      existing homes.   

·           Improve housing-related services and support, particularly for vulnerable people and people from minority groups.

Relevant Issues and Options

11.      The draft Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 sets out the vision for housing in the Vale of Glamorgan, which is that:

'all residents in the Vale of Glamorgan have access to good quality, suitable, housing and are able to live happily and independently in vibrant, sustainable communities'.

12.      In order to achieve the vision for housing in the Vale four key aims have been identified, each of which is supported by a number of objectives which will form the basis of the actions identified in a strategic partnership Action Plan :

Aim 1: To provide more homes and more choice; ensuring that all residents have access to suitable and affordable accommodation.

·           Enable a functioning housing market.

·           Increase housing supply.

·           Develop the supply of private rented accommodation and improve access.

·           Provide housing solutions for the rural Vale.

·           Develop appropriate housing to meet specific needs with the community.

Aim 2: To improve homes and communities; by ensuring housing is maintained and fit for purpose, increasing the supply of good quality, energy efficient homes in vibrant and sustainable communities.

·           Improve the quality of housing across all tenures.

·           Return empty homes to use.

·           Promote the role of housing in regeneration and area renewal projects.

·           Increase the energy efficiency of homes and reduce fuel poverty.

·           Investing in Communities.

 Aim 3: To provide better housing advice and support; ensuring that residents have access to the housing and services they need to live independently and plan their housing futures.

·           Ensure the public have access to high quality housing advice.

·           Prevent homelessness wherever possible and provide sustainable solutions.

·           Enable access to the right type of housing.

·           Provide support to enable people to develop and maintain their capacity to live independently.

Aim 4: To promote equality of access to housing and housing services.

·           Understand and recognise the needs of people falling within the seven strands of equality and who use the Welsh language.

·           Eliminating discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

·           Respond to the diverse housing needs of people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

13.      The draft Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 has been informed by the views of partners including relevant Council departments. A Local Housing Strategy Evidence Gathering Day was held on 19th February to inform the development of the strategy.

14.      The Local Housing Strategy Evidence Gathering Day included presentation, workshops and consultation exercises focusing on a number of housing topics, including:

·           The development of the private rented sector.

·           Housing advice services and the prevention of homelessness.

·           Developing a 'housing solutions' service for the Vale.

·           Housing and the ageing population.

·           Gypsy and traveller site provision.

·           The development of market housing by volume house builders.

·           Affordable housing development in the rural Vale. 

·           Local housing market assessments.

·           Supporting People and housing related support.

15.      A wide range of partner organisations attended the event and contributed to discussions. 

16.      The results of the Local Housing Strategy Evidence Gathering Day will be published on the Councils website as part of the public consultation exercise. A summary of the Local Housing Strategy Evidence Gathering Day is provided in Appendix 2 which also includes a list of partner organisations.

Consultation Strategy

17.      Approval is sought for the consultation strategy which details the ways in which  consultation with the public will be facilitated. The period of public consultation will provide the public and partner organisations with the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft strategy.

18.      The public consultation strategy will include:

·           A press release to the local media.

·           A page on the Councils website advertising the consultation opportunity, highlighted to the public by the e-news and social media.

·           A feedback questionnaire, including an online version and the ability to use Contact One Vale to provide feedback over the phone.

·           Hard copies of the draft Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 in Vale libraries, Council buildings and the Members Room.

·           A 'drop in' event, where a Council Officer will be available to speak to the public.

·           The draft Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 will also be sent to all relevant partners, Council departments and neighbouring Local Authorities for comment.

·           Consultation in partnership with the Vale Centre for Voluntary Service; ensuring their members are made aware of the Strategy and the consultation opportunity.

·           Consultation with the Citizens Panel; utilising the contact details available to send a link to the strategy and the consultation opportunity to members.

19.      The consultation has been planned to ensure the opportunity is fully accessible to members of the public; the public will be able to provide their feedback in person, in writing, online or on the phone.

20.      The public consultation exercise will be four weeks in duration.

21.      The public consultation strategy detailed above has been developed in partnership with and approved by the Corporate Consultation Officer.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

22.      There may be additional resource implications following the consultation of the draft Local Housing Strategy 2014 - 2019 due to resourcing the associated operational plan. Any additional costs will be estimated in the further report to Cabinet, but all Council costs will have to be met from the Department budgets.

23.      Whilst there will be a cost to conducting consultation, this will be minimal and will be fully met from within the existing Housing General Fund budget.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

24.      Sustainability and climate change are considered as part of the proposed strategy.

25.      The strategy identifies the implications for the Council and local Registered Social Landlords as part of the introduction of the Sustainability Bill.

26.      The strategy also promotes sustainability and energy efficiency, prioritising:

·           Improved energy efficiency in new and existing homes.

·           Contributing to the sustainability of rural communities.

27.      The strategy also identifies how the role of housing will make a positive contribution to the four priority areas of sustainable development:

·           Environmental

·           Local Economy

·           Social Justice

·           Engagement

28.      A briefing paper was provided to the Council's Sustainable Development Working Group on 17th June 2014 and this group will also be consulted as part of the consultation strategy.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

29.      The Council has a statutory duty to understand local housing need and plan for how this need will be met. The  Local Authority also has a duty to produce a Local Housing Strategy, as set out in Section 87 of the Local Government Act 2003.

30.      Public consultation will inform the development of the final Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 for the Vale of Glamorgan Council, which will contribute to the Local Authority meeting this statutory duty. 

Crime and Disorder Implications

31.      There are no crime and disorder implications arising from consultation on the draft strategy.

32.      Promoting an adequate supply of housing and housing advice services in the Vale of Glamorgan will contribute to a reduction of homelessness, greater community cohesion and safer communities.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

33.      The development of the Local Housing Strategy is supportive of the Council's Equal Opportunities ethos as it identifies the mechanisms needed to increase access to quality homes for many people throughout the County.

34.      The draft Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 includes an aim which focuses on promoting equality of access to housing and housing services:

Aim 4: To promote equality of access to housing and housing services. This aim includes a number of objectives focused on equality issues:

·           Understand and recognise the needs of people falling within the seven strands of equality and who use the Welsh language.

·           Eliminating discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

·           Respond to the diverse housing needs of people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

35.      An Equality impact Assessment will be conducted and included as part of the final Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 which will be submitted to Cabinet for approval later in the year.

Corporate/Service Objectives

36.      The development of Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 is consistent with the Housing Outcomes identified in the Corporate Plan  2013-17:

37.      'Vale of Glamorgan residents have access to affordable, good quality suitable housing and housing advice and support'.

38.      The development of the Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 will also contributes to achieving objective H1 of the Corporate Plan 2013-17:

39.      H1 - Develop and consult on a new five year Local Housing Strategy informed by an updated local housing market assessment. (2013/14)

40.      The development of the Local Housing Strategy 2014-19 is also an aim identified in the Housing and Building Services Service plan 2014-18.

Policy Framework and Budget

41.      This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

42.      There has been no individual ward member consultation in respect of this report as it is an issue that affects all areas of the Vale of Glamorgan.

43.      All Vale of Glamorgan Council elected members were invited to attend the Local Housing Strategy Evidence Day on 19th February 2014.

44.      The public consultation period will provide an additional opportunity for ward member consultation.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

45.      Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

Appendix 1 - Draft Local Housing Strategy 2014-19

Appendix 2 - Summary of the Local Housing Strategy Evidence Gathering Day

 

Contact Officer

Jenny Lewington - Housing Strategy Officer

Officers Consulted

Miles Punter, Director of Visible Services and Housing

Hayley Selway, Head of Housing and Building Services

Pam Toms, Supporting People and Strategy Manager, Housing

Rob Thompson, Homes4U Manager, Housing

Rob Lucas, Asset and Improvement Manager, Housing

Ian Jones, Housing Advice and Homelessness Manager, Housing

Elen Probert, Principal Housing & Pollution Officer, Public Protection

Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services

Emma Reed, Operational Manager, Development Services

Rob Jones, Corporate Consultation Officer.

Lori Bigglestone, Accountant, Financial Services

Legal Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director Visible Services and Housing.

 

 

Share on facebook Like us on Facebook