Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection):
16th January 2013
Report of the Director of Visible Services and Housing
Options Appraisal for Land in Housing Services
Purpose of the Report
To seek approval for Officers to explore all options to increase
the supply of affordable housing in the Vale of Glamorgan using
land owned by the Council's Housing Service.
To seek approval for Officers to explore opportunities to dispose
of small non development land bordering existing properties in
order to reduce the financial cost of land maintenance and security
on the Housing Revenue Account.
THAT the Committee endorses the report and refers the same to
Cabinet for consideration.
Reason for the Recommendation
In order that the views of the Committee are sought
and the report referred to Cabinet for consideration.
In December 2010, Cabinet agreed the adoption of the updated Vale
of Glamorgan Local Housing Market Assessment (LHMA) which had been
commissioned from Fordham Research (Cabinet Minute C1154).
The updated LHMA identified that there was a critical need for
additional affordable housing, with a requirement of 915 additional
units needed per annum. This figure was significantly higher than
the equivalent figure of 652 units calculated in 2007. The increase
is principally because overall affordability levels in the Vale of
Glamorgan have worsened and the supply of housing stock has reduced
over the period.
The LHMA identified that the highest need was for social rented
The economic crisis experienced nationally has also resulted in a
depressed local housing market and an increase in the numbers
registering for social housing. Together with new mortgages being
more difficult to access, it is expected that the number of people
being able to enter the owner occupier market will continue to
decrease, making the development of new affordable housing in the
Vale of Glamorgan even more important.
The impact of the welfare reforms are also expected to increase the
need for more affordable housing units, including one and two
bedroom properties to allow existing tenants effected by the
'bedroom tax' to downsize.
There are currently two principle mechanisms used to deliver
affordable housing. The first is Social Housing Grant (SHG).
SHG is a capital grant made available by the Welsh Government to
Registered Social Landlords (RSL's) with the support of the local
authority to fund new affordable housing for rent or low cost home
10. The SHG programme in
Wales has been reduced annually by WG since 2010 and has also been
top sliced to fund other housing commitments e.g. Physical
11. The Welsh
Government determines each local authority's allocation using a
formula introduced in 2011, which also led to the Vale of Glamorgan
receiving a much lower settlement than in recent previous years, as
2013/14 - £1,105,635.27
12. Whilst from time to
time, the Welsh Government has made available additional SHG
funding for which the Council has submitted successful bids; it has
still only provided a small number of new units each year.
13. The second mechanism
for delivering affordable housing is through the Supplementary
Planning Guidance for Affordable Housing (SPG). This places the
requirement on a developer to provide 30% affordable housing on all
sites of ten or more units through a Section 106 legal
14. It has become
increasingly difficult to secure 30% new affordable housing on each
site of the required tenure through this process. This is usually
because the land was purchased at the height of the market and due
to the economic downturn it is no longer financially viable. The
Council then has to decide whether to consider accepting a lower
number of affordable housing units to allow the site to be
15. Given all of these
difficulties, it is critical that the Council maximises the
resources available for development and is able to consider
alternative and innovative methods of securing much needed new
social rented housing in the future.
Relevant Issues and Options
16. The Council has a
number of varying sized pieces of land or sites suitable for the
development of housing which are in the ownership of Housing
17. In respect of land
pursuant to Part ll of the Housing Act 1985 (the HRA sites) the
Council has power pursuant to the Local Government Act 1988:
General Consents A & B for Local Authority Assistance for
Privately Let Housing 2004 to dispose of land at an undervalue to a
Registered Social Landlord for the purpose of development as
housing accommodation provided the benefit does not exceed
£2million in any financial year (the 2004 Housing Consent).
18. In addition, the
Council also owns small pieces of land bordering existing
properties which are too small for development, but which are a
financial burden on the Council because of the ongoing maintenance
and security costs. Enquiries are regularly received from residents
of neighbouring properties who would like to acquire this land to
increase the boundary of their home.
19. It is therefore
proposed that Housing Services undertakes an exercise to identify
all sites in its ownership suitable for affordable housing
development or disposal and to provide a follow up report of
options for Members to consider.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
20. There are no resource
implications in respect of this report as the Housing Land Options
Appraisal will be carried out using the existing resources
available within Housing Services.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
21. All new affordable
housing developments must meet the requirements of the Welsh
Housing Quality Standard, which will assist in minimising the
impact on climate change. In addition the proposals will help the
long-term sustainability of the Vale of Glamorgan by building good
quality environmentally sustainable homes that meet the needs and
aspirations of tenants and residents.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
22. The Legal
requirements have been dealt with in the body of the report.
Crime and Disorder Implications
23. The development of
additional affordable housing will have a positive benefit on the
reduction of crime and disorder by providing those in housing need
with the safety and security of having their own home. There will
also be less opportunity for fly tipping and vandalism on the
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language
24. The development of
affordable housing is supportive of the Council's Equal
Opportunities ethos as it will increase access to good quality
housing for those in housing need throughout the
25. This report is
consistent with the following Corporate and Service Objectives of
The underlying causes of deprivation are
tackled and regeneration of the Vale continues, opportunities for
individuals and businesses are developed and the quality of the
built and natural environment is protected and enhanced.
Policy Framework and Budget
26. This report is
consistent with the Policy Framework and Budget.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
27. There has been no
individual Ward Member consultation in respect of this report as it
is an issue that affects the whole of the Vale.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
28. Housing and Public
Pam Toms, Strategy & Supporting People
Manager, Housing Services. (01446) 709788
Rob Thomas, Director of Development
Clive Teague, Head of Financial Services
Mike Walsh, Legal Services
Lorna Cross, Group Estates Officer
Miles Punter, Director of Visible Services and