Agenda Item No.











The report sought to apprise the Committee on the “Sustainable Investment” approach and the work of the “Hard to Treat” group including further work being undertaken on the options appraisal for the best way forward for dealing with Council housing stock at Brecon Court in Barry and the Airey properties which were located throughout the Vale of Glamorgan.


The report was set within the context of meeting one of the main primary objectives of the WHQS which was energy performance and the standard all Council housing stock had to be improved to a SAP (2005) score of 65 or more.


The report set out the work of the “Hard to Treat” officer working group which had been established as a sub-group of the Housing Investment Group to ensure this approach was properly implemented.  The report also detailed a range of issues in relation to the energy performance of the Council housing stock, which included a large amount of non traditional stock which required considerable structural and energy improvements to meet the above standards.  It was envisaged at the present time that most of the necessary works would be affordable although additional funds were being pursued both from Arbed (Welsh Government initiative) Energy providers’ obligation (CESP/ CERT) and through Green Deal.


The Council had presently 5 unimproved Airey properties which required exceptionally costly repairs.  Attached at Appendix B to the report was a separate progress report which outlined why an options appraisal on these properties was underway.  It was also noted that further work on identifying other “Hard to Treat” stock was also being progressed.


In addition to the above, Brecon Court, Barry had also been considered by the Group due to its structural and other related problems and also attached at Appendix A to the report was an outline why an options appraisal was also required on these properties. 


The Council’s Asset Manager also indicated that the Council currently owned 68 bedsit properties which would also be considered by the above Group.  He indicated that these properties did not meet modern space and lifetime home standards and were often responsible for some of the Council’s worst “hard to let properties” which year on year had a detrimental impact on the Council’s void performance and rental income / Housing Business Plan.  He indicated also that the Council was preparing an Older Persons’ Accommodation Strategy which was an essential piece of work and he envisaged that some of the “bedsit” dwellings would be considered as part of this work. 


The nature of the housing stock and the high cost of non component replacement repairs experienced in voids / WHQS pilot schemes meant that close monitoring and analysis of the budget would be in place over the first six months of the framework contract.  The Asset Manager indicated that this analysis would be used to help determine the scope of the planned repair works which were affordable.  Where high cost dwellings were identified and estimated to cost more than £20,000, a sustainability test would be undertaken which would be reported to the “Hard to Treat” group to ensure a sustainable approach was adopted. 


Discussion ensued regarding the contents of the report and, in particular, to the SAP minimum rating requirement of 65 in regard to the Airey type properties, the ability of the Council to access additional funding streams to assist with funding of work to these properties and the anticipated costs of refurbishing Brecon Court, Barry.  Reference was also made to the recommendations contained in the report, particularly in regard to recommendations (3) and (5) contained therein with the general view expressed that any options appraisals be undertaken within a stipulated completion period with the options appraisal to include the feasibility of demolition and rebuilding options in regard to Brecon Court, Barry, including the future type of housing development on this site and this options appraisal  be undertaken coterminous with the options appraisal for the five unimproved Airey non traditional dwellings.  The Council’s Asset Manager responded by indicating that it would be difficult for the options appraisals to be undertaken in the short term as the Council did not have the relevant expertise in-house to undertake the appraisals at this time.


Having regard to the above and related issues, it was




(1)       T H A T the work of the “Hard to Treat” group, including the sustainable investment approach to meeting the Housing Investment Programme, be noted.


(2)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet to initiate further work on sustainability testing and the completion of an options appraisal to include the demolition and rebuild and future accommodation type on the site of Brecon Court, Barry, with the completion of the said appraisal to be determined by the Cabinet.


(3)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet that investment in the seven Airey “non traditional dwellings” which had already had structural frame improvement work be progressed, subject to an acceptable scheme being developed at a reasonable cost.


(4)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet to progress an options appraisal in respect of the redevelopment of the five unimproved Airey “non traditional dwellings” in tandem with Recommendation (2) above.


(5)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet to defer any decision to place Brecon Court, Barry and the unimproved Airy properties on hold for review on the basis as proposed within the report until the sustainability testing and the completion of options appraisal being undertaken in respect of Recommendations (2) and (4) above.


(6)       T H A T consultation with tenants and stakeholders on the options appraisal and the best way forward be undertaken and, where tenants in the unimproved Airey dwellings had expressed an interest in moving to more suitable housing, these options be progressed.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To apprise the Cabinet of work undertaken by the “Hard to Treat” Group in progressing sustainable investment approach in meeting the housing investment programme.


(2-5)    To ensure sustainable investment and the delivery of the asset management strategy, including related options appraisals were delivered within identifiable completion targets and for the avoidance of any doubt.


(6)       To ensure the views of tenants were considered as part of the above options appraisals."




Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 10th October, 2012