Agenda Item No 13

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 30 July, 2018

Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning

Housing Regeneration Policy

Purpose of the Report

  1. To seek adoption of the Housing Regeneration Policy.

Recommendations

  1. That Cabinet agrees to adopt the Housing Regeneration Policy at Appendix A.
  1. That Cabinet agrees the Council agency service fee to manage Housing Regeneration Schemes is set at 15% of the cost of the works.
  2. That the Head of Regeneration and Planning, in consultation with the Cabinet member for Regeneration and Planning be authorised to agree the final format of and any necessary minor typographical changes and minor amendments to the Policy document prior to its publication.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To adopt the Housing Regeneration Policy.
  2. To provide a basis to charge a fee to manage the works within housing regeneration schemes.
  3. To ensure that any minor amendments and formatting issues can be resolved without the need to seek further Cabinet approval.

Background

  1. The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002 requires the Council to have a Housing Renewal Policy in place in order that it can provide housing grants and housing loans to private homeowners.
  2. The Council's current policy is set out in the Private Sector Housing Renewal Policy 2014.
  3. In March 2017, the Council agreed a budget to continue its successful housing renewal/ regeneration programme over the next three years in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The Council has a Private Sector Housing Renewal Policy 2014 (Cabinet 23rd March 2015, Minute C2713).  This policy has been amended several times over the last few years as funding opportunities have arisen to assist private sector owners repair their properties and to support regeneration through housing improvements.
  2. With Castleland Renewal Area completed and a further opportunity to develop two additional Housing Regeneration Areas in the Vale of Glamorgan, the Private Sector Housing Renewal Policy 2014 has been reviewed.  As a result, the housing regeneration elements of that policy have been drawn together into a new dedicated policy, the Housing Regeneration Policy.  This provides a more focussed policy document that will help Members, officers and the public understand the Council's position on private sector housing regeneration.
  3. The Housing Regeneration Policy is attached at Appendix A.
  4. The new policy includes the housing regeneration scheme at Windsor Road, Penarth approved by Cabinet 18th September 2017 (Minute C77) and the revised private sector housing loans approved by Cabinet on the 26th March 2018, Minute C271.
  5. The policy also includes the addition of two further housing Regeneration Areas and an additional loan product for owner occupiers.  An outline of each is detailed below. Consideration was given to a number of areas with the 2 proposed new Regeneration Areas reflecting maximum benefit.
  6. To continue on from the success of housing renewal in Castleland Renewal Area, Main Street, Barry and Windsor Road Penarth schemes for Paget Road, Barry and Broad Street Parade, Barry are proposed. 
  7. PAGET ROAD, BARRY ISLAND - The Council has invested significantly in the regeneration of Barry Island and seen considerable enhancement  to the offer on the island.  The proposed housing regeneration area in Paget Road, Barry will compliment these improvements and further support the development of this key tourist destination in addition to improving the external fabric of the properties in the scheme.
  8. BROAD STREET, BARRY - The Council has again invested in this gateway to Barry Island and the town centre, and the street scene has seen significant improvement over the last 12 months.  The proposed housing regeneration area at Broad Street Parade will look at the options for a scheme for the buildings that will support the renovation of this key gateway into Barry Island in addition to improving the external fabric of the properties in the scheme.  During this option appraisal, owners, residents and businesses in the affected block will be consulted.
  9. These schemes will offer home owners a face-lifting grant to improve the front of their properties.  The details of the grants are set out in the Policy in Appendix A, but in the main are the same as those previously offered. The only change to the terms of the face-lifting grants relates to conditions for empty property owners. The new terms recognise the need for a more flexible approach when working in partnership with property owners with multiple commercial interests who have empty properties.  There is a need for both parties to agree the pathway to the reuse of properties within set timescales to support that partnership working and to ensure that the regeneration scheme is successful in bringing empty properties back into beneficial use and to maximise regeneration outcomes.
  10. The housing regeneration schemes will be run in the same way as the previous housing regeneration schemes, with the Council managing the work for homeowners and charging a 15% fee to the capital budget.  This fee is estimated to provide sufficient income to cover the staff costs of managing and delivering the new regeneration areas as the base budget for this team has always been funded from fee income.
  11. LIFETIME LOAN - The Council is proposing to offer a lifetime loan to owner occupiers who cannot afford the access funding needed to carry out essential maintenance to their homes to ensure their property is warm safe and secure.  The loan will be interest free and secured to the property's title.  The loan will be repaid in full on sale or transfer of the property, death of the loan applicant or if the loan applicant stops living at the property. These individual loan conditions are in line with the Welsh Government's funding offer made to the Council.
  12. To ensure the Council has the legal power to offer the financial assistance proposed in the Housing Regeneration Policy, the policy needs to be adopted by Cabinet. 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There is an identified Capital Budget to enable the approval and processing of financial assistance set out in the Policy.
  2. The Council is in receipt of funding from Welsh Government to provide loans to private sector home owners.  As part of this funding offer the Council is required to set out the terms and conditions of the individual loan funding within its policy.
  3. Staffing resources are in place to deliver the proposed assistance within the Policy.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. This policy promotes the redevelopment of housing and reuse of empty properties.  This ensures housing need is maximised within existing stock reducing the numbers of new properties required to meet that housing need.
  2. As part of the loan term, properties must meet a prescribed standard, to include energy efficiency, which will improve the health and wellbeing of the occupiers and reduce the impact of the dwelling on the environment.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Council can offer assistance to repair homes under the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2003.  To utilise this power, the Council must detail that assistance in a published policy.
  2. There is no statutory duty on the Local Authority to provide funding to home owners to repair or maintain their home.
  3. To ensure compliance with the European Commission's State Aid Rules, checks will be undertaken as part of the loan application process.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. Improvements in the Regeneration Areas may assist in reducing crime and disorder in the area.
  2. Work to secure properties will stop intruders to those properties and help protect that property and its occupants.
  3. Empty properties can sometimes be a target for crime and anti-social behaviour. The Housing Loans Scheme will help reduce the number of empty properties by enabling owners to improve their properties and then sell/let them.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. An Equalities Impact assessment has been undertaken, which has reviewed the impact of the revised policy as positive due to the addition of lifetime loans, lower fees for loan products for owner occupiers and regeneration benefit of housing regeneration areas.
  2. The revised terms will make the Housing Loans Scheme more equitable and accessible.
  3. Application Forms, correspondence and promotional material produced in association with the scheme will be bilingual in accordance with Council policy.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The Policy will enable the Council to meet its Corporate Outcome as detailed in the Corporate Plan 2016-2020: Well-being Outcome 1 - An Inclusive and Safe Vale; Objective 2 Providing decent homes and safe communities.
  2. The new terms will enable the Council to better achieve its Public Accountability Measures which include the following:

PAM/013 Percentage of empty private properties brought back into use.

PAM/014 Number of new homes created as a result of bringing empty properties back into use.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. The loans are not ward specific.
  2. Cllrs Nic Hodges and Steffan Wiliam have been consulted as Ward Members for the proposed Regeneration Areas at Broad Street and Paget Road.  Any comments will be reported to Cabinet. 

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Homes and Safe Communities & Environment and Regeneration.

Background Papers

Private Sector Housing Renewal Policy 2014 (Cabinet 23rd March 2015, Minute C2713 refers).

Amendment to include the addition of Windsor Road Housing Regeneration Scheme- Cabinet 18th September 2017, Minute C77

Amendment to revise the private sector housing loans - Cabinet 26th March 2018, Minute C271

Contact Officer

Elen Keen, Team Leader, Neighbourhood and Housing Renewal.

Officers Consulted

Head of Regeneration and Planning

Operational Manager, Regeneration

Operational Manager, Accountancy

Operational Manager, Legal Services

Operation Manager, Public Housing Services

Equality Coordinator, Resources

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director