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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 26 January, 2015

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

Local Housing Strategy 2015 - 2020

Purpose of the Report

1. To adopt the Local Housing Strategy 2015 - 2020.

Recommendations

1. That the changes made to the draft Local Housing Strategy (entitled 2014-2019) as a result of the public consultation be noted.

 

2. That the attached Local Housing Strategy 2015-2020 be accepted and adopted by Cabinet.

 

3. That the report is referred to Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee for information.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. To ensure the Cabinet is aware of the changes made to the draft Local Housing Strategy.

 

2. To enable the Council to meet the requirement for each Local Authority to adopt a Local Housing Strategy as set out in Section 87 of the Local Government Act 2003.

 

3. For information.

Background

2. The Council has a statutory role to play in the functioning of the housing market, including the requirement for local authorities to produce local housing strategies as set out in Section 87 - Local Government Act 2003.

 

3. The intention is for local authorities to play a lead role in developing an approach to housing across all tenures and ensure the delivery of more integrated housing and related services to meet local need. 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.

 

4. In February 2014 the Council hosted a Local Housing Strategy Evidence Gathering Day which 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.

 

5. The views of partner organisations, representatives from the public, private and third sectors, elected members and Council departments were used to inform the development of the Local Housing Strategy. A summary of the Evidence Gathering Day is provided in Appendix 1.

 

6. The Local Housing Strategy sets out the locally agreed, long term vision for housing; it provides a statement of local strategic housing-related objectives and target outcomes. 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’.

 

7. The Local Housing Strategy sets out the approach that will be taken to meet the legislative requirements of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (Cabinet Minute C2350).  The legislation governing different aspects of the Act are being rolled out over a number of years.

 

8. This strategy does not detail all the activities being undertaken to improve services and the quality of life in the Vale. It does however provide a vision and a framework for the next five years and highlights the key issues being addressed. 

Relevant Issues and Options

9. The proposed Local Housing Strategy 2015-20 (Appendix 2) 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".

 

10. 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 the  Action Plan:

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

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.

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.

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

11. In July 2014 Cabinet agreed that the draft Local Housing Strategy could be made available for public consultation (Cabinet Minute C2398). The Strategy was made available for public consultation from 1st September 2014 for 4 weeks.

 

12. The public consultation strategy included a press release, web page, posters, questionnaire and drop-in events. The Strategy was made available online and hard copies were provided in libraries and Council Offices. The public, were able to feedback online, in writing, over the phone or face-to-face. The consultation was planned to ensure the opportunity was fully accessible to members of the public, partner organisations, elected members and colleagues within the Council as feedback could be provided in person, in writing, online or on the phone.

 

13. 70 consultation responses were received during the consultation period, most were received in the form of written responses and completed questionnaires. A summary of the responses received is included in Appendix 3

 

14. As a result of the consultation responses received, changes have been made to the Strategy, the most notable changes made are summarised below:

• Information relating to Technical Advice Notes and Supplementary Planning Guidance included in relation to Planning Policy Wales and local planning policy.

• The inclusion of relevant Health policy and framework's.

• Planned and agreed legislative changes have been updated to reflect their most up-to-date position in the National Assembly's legislative process. 

• Key partnerships diagram amended to show the new Local Service Board structure.

• Information updated following the change in Welsh Government Minister with responsibility for housing.

• Objective: Increase Housing Supply includes clarity around opportunities for co-operative and self-build housing.

• Objective: Develop Appropriate Housing to Meet Specific Needs with the Community has the most recent and agreed priorities for the Supporting People Programme.

• Under Aim 2: Improve Homes and Communities, 'Enable Access to Repairs, Improvements and Housing Adaptations' has been separated into a stand-alone objective rather than being within the objective to Improve the Quality of Private Sector Housing. Within this objective the information relating to repairs, improvements and adaptations have been updated and strengthened.

 

15. In addition the period of five years the Strategy covers has been amended. The draft Local Housing Strategy was to apply to 2014-19, however due to time taken to develop, consult on and adopt the Strategy, it will now cover 2015-2020. This is not a fundamental change, but will ensure the continued relevance of the timescales that will be used in the accompanying action plan.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

16. The Local Housing Strategy is a strategic document.

 

17. There are likely to be resource implications, most of which will apply to partner organisations who provide housing and housing related services.

 

18. There are implications relevant to the Council in relation to the implication of new legislation, primarily the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. The Council's Housing Department is aware of the resource implications of implementing the Strategy and has an understanding of the relevant funding sources necessary to meet the strategic aims.

 

19. The restructure of the Housing Department will provide the staffing resources required to meet the requirements of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. In relation to the changes to 'Homelessness', the Welsh Government is providing transitional funding and whilst this is a temporary and decreasing budget, it will enable the Council to remodel services to meet the new legislative requirements.

 

20. There are a number of housing budgets relevant to the implementation of the strategy, these include funding for: Supporting People, the Rural Housing Enabler, Social housing Grant, regeneration funding and Disabled Facility Grant.

 

21. Achieving the objectives of the Strategy is also reliant on corporate support for the aims and objectives and partnership working between departments. For example, maximising the development of affordable housing is reliant on a shared priority between the Councils Housing and Planning Departments and flexibility in the requirement for S106 contributions.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

22. Sustainability and climate change are considered as part of the Local Housing Strategy 2015-20.

 

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

 

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

• Improved energy efficiency in new and existing homes

• Contributing to the sustainability of rural communities.

 

25. 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 and Engagement.

 

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

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

27. 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.

 

28. Adoption of the Local Housing Strategy 2015-2020 for the Vale of Glamorgan Council, which will contribute to the Local Authority meeting this statutory duty. 

Crime and Disorder Implications

29. 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)

30. 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.

 

31. The Local Housing Strategy 2015-20 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:

 

32. An Equality Impact Assessment has been conducted and included within the body of the Local Housing Strategy 2015-20. A copy of Equality Impact Assessment is also included as Appendix 4 to this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

33. The development of Local Housing Strategy 2015-2020 is consistent with the Housing Outcomes identified in the Corporate Plan  2013-17:

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

34. The development of the Local Housing Strategy 2015-20 also contributes to achieving objective H1 of the Corporate Plan 2013-17:

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

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

Policy Framework and Budget

36. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

 

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

 

39. The public consultation period provided an additional opportunity for ward member consultation:

• All Vale of Glamorgan Council elected members were informed by email of the four week period of consultation on the draft Local Housing Strategy and a link to the consultation webpage was provided.

• A copy of the draft Local Housing Strategy and consultation questionnaires were provided in the Members Room.

• A presentation was provided prior to the Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee on 10th September 2014 with the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

40. Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

Appendix 1 - Summary of the Local Housing Strategy Evidence Gathering Day

Appendix 2 - Local Housing Strategy 2015-2020

Appendix 3 - Summary of Consultation Responses Received

Appendix 4 - Local Housing Strategy Equality Impact Assessment

Contact Officer

Jenny Lewington, Housing Strategy Officer

Officers Consulted

Head of Housing and Building Services

Strategy and Supporting People Manager, Housing

Accountant, Financial Services

Legal Services

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing

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