Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting: 23 February, 2015
Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools
Land Adjacent to the Former Sorting Office, Llantwit Major
Purpose of the Report
1. To seek authority to dispose of Council owned land adjacent to the former sorting office, Llantwit Major to Newydd Housing Association to enable them to access the adjacent site which they are purchasing for the provision of a 100% Affordable Housing scheme.
1. That authority is granted to the Director of Resources to dispose of land adjacent to the former sorting office, Llantwit Major to Newydd Housing Association to enable their Affordable Housing Development on adjacent land to proceed.
2. That authority is granted to the Head of Legal Services to execute any necessary legal documentation in order to complete and execute the sale of the land.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. To enable Newydd Housing Association to access the adjacent site and deliver their Affordable Housing Development Scheme.
2. To enable the land transfer to be completed.
2. The Council has received a request from Newydd Housing Association for land in the portfolio of the Learning and Skills Directorate to be disposed of to them to enable them to access a site which they are acquiring from a third party, for the purpose of providing a 100% Affordable Housing Development Scheme. The land in question can be seen in Appendix A - the shaded land is the access land and the crosshatch land is the adjacent land which is subject to the proposed housing development. This site will deliver eighteen much needed one and two bedroom social rented properties to allow existing social housing tenants in the Vale of Glamorgan who have been adversely affected by the housing benefit changes to downsize to the appropriate sized home to meet their needs. The access land is currently vacant and overgrown and as such is a potential liability in terms of maintenance and security.
3. There is a current Right of Way over the Council land in question to benefit the adjacent land owner, however, the right of way is explicit in that it is limited to 10 foot in width. As part of the Affordable Housing Development Scheme Newydd are obliged to provide an access considerably wider than that which has the benefit of the right of way, which equates to an area of 0.12 acres (0.05 hectares).
Relevant Issues and Options
4. Newydd Housing Association has confirmed that without the transfer of the Council's land to them, their Affordable Housing Development will not be able to proceed. An offer has been put forward by Newydd Housing Association which is detailed in the part II report to follow.
5. The Council has obtained its own external valuation report which is based on established valuation principles of a "ransom" situation. i.e. without the Council land, the adjacent development cannot proceed. Details of this valuation are included in the part II report.
6. Newydd Housing Association has confirmed that if they were requested to pay the "ransom" value for the Council's land, it would unfortunately make their current scheme proposals unviable and they would not be able to proceed with the delivery of this 100% Affordable Housing Scheme. Newydd have provided a copy of their development appraisal to evidence this position.
7. The Council's Public Sector Housing Section has been consulted and have confirmed their support for Newydd Housing Association's proposal to develop the affordable housing units on the adjacent site and advised that a claim has been made to Welsh Government for additional Social Housing Grant (capital funding of £595,376) to develop this site. This funding could be lost to the Vale of Glamorgan if the scheme is not developed. They further confirm that planning consent has been granted for the development and without the access land being transferred from the Council, the Housing Association will be unable to go ahead with the scheme. Due to the high demand for affordable housing in the Vale of Glamorgan, the Housing Department is in full support of the proposals.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
8. The offer made by Newydd Housing Association is below that which the Council would normally expect from a "ransomed" access scenario to an adjacent development site. Should Cabinet resolve to dispose of the site for less than the best possible consideration, the Council would not realise a portion of its capital receipt, although it should be noted that it is unlikely that the ransom strip could be sold for any other purpose other than to access the adjacent land.
9. The full valuation issues are discussed under Resource Implications in the part II report to follow.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
10. By ensuring that new properties in the Vale of Glamorgan are sustainable and of an appropriate standard, it will assist the Council to minimise the impact of climate change and better meet the needs and aspirations of its residents.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
11. The Council has a Statutory and Fiduciary duty to obtain best consideration in respect of its property disposals, pursuant to S123 of the Local Government Act 1972. However, general consent granted pursuant to S25 of the Local Government Act 1988 allows Local Housing Authorities to dispose of land to a Registered Social Landlord at less than best consideration (up to a value not exceeding £2m) for the purpose of providing housing accommodation.
Crime and Disorder Implications
12. The Council's land subject to the request to purchase by Newydd is currently over grown. Whilst it remains over grown and under-utilised, it may attract anti-social behaviour such as fly tipping.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
13. Sale of the land would support equality of access to affordable housing.
14. This report is consistent with the following Corporate Objective of the Council.
Vale of Glamorgan residents have access to affordable, good quality suitable housing and housing advice and support.
Policy Framework and Budget
15. This is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
16. Local Ward Members have been consulted.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
17. Corporate Resources.
Paula Ham, Head of Strategy, Community Learning & Resources
Strategy and Supporting People Manager - Housing
Group Estates Officer
Legal Officer - Committee Reports
Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills