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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Public Protection and Housing): 10th October, 2012

 

Report of the Director of Visible Services and Housing

 

Manual on Affordable Housing Provision

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To adopt the attached manual and approve its distribution to Vale of Glamorgan Councillors and Community Councillors.

Recommendations

1.             That the Affordable Housing Enabler distribute the "Manual for elected Members" to Vale Councillors and Community Councillors.

2.             That the Affordable Housing Enabler offer to brief interested Members or Community Councils on the topic.

3.             That the Committee endorses the report and refers the same to Cabinet for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To promote the positive role of Elected Members in developing much needed affordable homes in the Vale of Glamorgan.

2.             For information.

3.             In order that the views of the Committee are sought and the report referred to Cabinet for consideration.

Background

2.             The Council's own research demonstrates a very high need for affordable homes in the Vale, which the Council has a commitment to deal with.  The research consisted of the Local Housing Market Assessment [Cabinet minute C1154] and the rural Affordable Housing Needs Survey [Cabinet minute C1153], which were both approved on 15th December 2010.  Councillors play a significant role in their communities and there was a major turnover following the elections in May.  The manual is primarily aimed at rural areas, but should be of interest to all Members and foster a positive approach to developing affordable housing.  The planning team has contributed to the relevant sections of the document.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             The 2012 Local Government Data Unit report on comparative local authority performance shows that the Vale of Glamorgan Council was the worst performer in Wales in the provision of affordable housing.  There are a number of reasons for this, for example low social housing grant settlement, high land values and delays in planning approvals.  The Council is working to redress this situation

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

4.             There are no direct resource implications associated with this report.  All funding is provided for within the existing budget, which is part funded through housing association partners and Social Housing Management Grant from the Welsh Government.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

5.             The recommendations within this report are consistent with the second of the four sustainability principles that underpin the Council's Corporate Plan: "Ensuring a strong, healthy and just society.  Meeting the diverse needs of all people in existing and future communities, promoting personal well-being, social cohesion and inclusion and creating equal opportunity."  

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

6.             There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

7.             Good, affordable housing contributes to community cohesion and helps reduce crime and disorder.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

8.             All new housing developments incorporate a minimum number of accessible homes that increase the range of opportunities for disabled applicants.

Corporate/Service Objectives

9.             In addition to the links to the Corporate Plan listed in paragraph 5 the report is specifically relevant to Improvement Objective 9: "to ensure that all children and young people have a safe home…" and to Improvement Objective 18: "To increase the range of accommodation options that enable older people to live independently in the community…"

Policy Framework and Budget

10.        Ward Councillors elected to the Vale of Glamorgan Council will be aware of the Council’s strategic approach to identifying both the demand and need for affordable housing and matching this to the planned delivery of an adequate supply of land.  It is important that local activities are based on these sound foundations, using the policies that the Council has developed for the purpose.  The key strategic documents are available on the Vale of Glamorgan Council website:

·         Community Strategy 2011-2021

·         Local Housing Market Assessment

·         Rural Affordable Housing Need Survey

·         Affordable Housing Delivery Statement

11.        This report is therefore consistent with the Policy Framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

12.        There has been no individual ward member consultation as this report is relevant to the whole of the Vale, with particular emphasis on the rural areas.

Background Papers

The manual and an extract from the Local Authority Data Unit report are attached.

 

Contact Officer

Alan Sinclair, Affordable Housing Enabler

 

Officers Consulted

Mike Ingram [Operational Manager Housing],

Mike Walsh [Legal]

Nicola Monkton [Finance]

Senior Planning Staff Members

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter, Director of Visible Services and Housing

 

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