Agenda, decisions and minutes

Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee
Thursday, 12th March, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

Contact: Jackie Leither Tel: 01992 564756  Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

19.

Webcasting Introduction

The Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

This meeting is to be webcast.

 

I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the Internet and will be capable of subsequent repeated viewing, with copies of the recording being made available for those that request it.

 

By being present at this meeting, it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in your image becoming part of the broadcast.

 

You should be aware that this may infringe your human and data protection rights. If you have any concerns then please speak to the Webcasting Officer.

 

Please could I also remind Members to activate their microphones before speaking.”

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the internet and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meeting.

20.

Substitute Members

To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Committee noted that Councillor C Whitbread would substitute for Councillor S Stavrou at the meeting.

21.

Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on the agenda.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct.

22.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Cabinet Committee held on 19 December 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 19 December 2019 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman.

23.

Progress Report - Phases 4 to 6 pdf icon PDF 303 KB

To consider the attached report (CHB-009-2019/20).

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the contents of this Progress Report on Phases 4 to 6 of the Council House Building Programme be noted and presented to the Cabinet in line with the Terms of Reference of the Council House Building Cabinet Committee.  

Minutes:

The Service Manager, Housing Management and Home Ownership presented a report the Cabinet Committee, she advised that the report set out the progress that had been made across Phase 4 of the Council Housebuilding programme that had either been completed, were on-site or were currently being procured.

 

Package 4.1 comprised of 14x units that had been tendered and were approved at CHBCC on 19 December 2019. Package 4.2 comprised on 22x units and were now being tendered the outcome would be reported to the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee (CHBCC) meeting in June 2020. Package 4.3 comprised of 49x units, previously 31x units. This package had been reviewed, resulting in some additional potential units being identified. The proposals were being progressed for planning submission, tender and reporting to the CHBCC. Package 4.4 comprised of 5x units and were now being technically progressed.

 

Phase 4 – package 4.1

 

The first group of sites within package 4.1 were competitively tendered and presented for approval at the 19 December 2019 CHBCC meeting. Package 4.1 relates to sites at Chequers Road (Site A - 3 x Properties), Bushfields (2 x Properties), Loughton. Package 2 – Chester Road (3 x Properties), Loughton. Package 3 – Queensway (4 x Properties) and Millfield (2 x Properties), Ongar, delivering the first 14 properties.

 

A pre-start meeting has been held, and contracts have now been issued for signing. Currently, post-tender and client changes are being priced to enable the Contractor to take possession imminently.

 

Phase 4 – package 4.2

 

Package 4.2 were currently out for tender to deliver 22 properties, comprising Hornbeam Close (B) – 3x units, Hornbeam House – 2x units, Bourne House – 2x units, Etheridge Road – 3 x units, Denny Avenue – 3 x units, Beechfield Walk – 5 x units and Kirby Close – 4 x units.

 

The role of the ‘Principal Architect’ and their involvement in the procurement of the sub-consultants, surveys and the associated scope of works had been reviewed and amended following which, it was anticipated that this may result in c£150k to c£200k of savings in the fees going forward.

 

Phase 4 – package 4.3

 

Package 4.3 comprised of Lower Alderton Hall Lane – 2x units, Inclusion of Lower Alderton Hall Lane was pending. This site was currently awaiting planning consent to be released pending the resolution with regards to the Local Plan and Natural England.

 

Pick Hill, Waltham Abbey – 2x units are progressing now potential drainage outfalls have been identified. The Council have reviewed the potential scope of the site at Ladyfields, Loughton, which previously had approval for six units, was now being re-planned to deliver c17x units. Woollard Street, Waltham Abbey, had been redesigned as the consented scheme was undeliverable as the ridge height exceeded the permissible height. Pentlow Way, Buckhurst Hill – 7x units and Chequers Road (B) – 5x units, have been delayed pending agreement with Thames Water to permit build over contracts which have only recently been confirmed. Chequers Road (B) was consented for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

PURCHASE OF STREET PROPERTIES pdf icon PDF 218 KB

To consider the attached report (CHB-007-2019/20).

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the contents of the Progress Report on the purchase of 18 street properties be noted and presented to the Cabinet in line with the Terms of Reference of the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee.

Minutes:

The Service Manager, Housing Management and Home Ownership presented a report the Cabinet Committee, she advised the report set out the progress that had been made in allocating the Council’s Right to Buy receipts in line with the report which was agreed by the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee in July 2015.

 

Offers had been made and accepted on 18 properties across the district. The total spend amounts to £6,374,329m which was made up of 30% Right to Buy receipts and the remaining funded from the capital house building programme. Furthermore, the Council’s Consultants have taken into account the construction methods, so as not to risk increased asset management challenges which was often the case with older properties such as pre-1945’s. The Council were working towards an exchange by the end of the financial year to meet Government requirements.

 

In July 2015, the Council House Building Cabinet Committee considered a report on accelerating the house building programme to ensure that all 1-4-1 Receipts from Right to Buy sales were spent within the required three years of receipt and none were passed on to the Government, with interest. One of the options agreed was to purchase street properties. The recommendations of the Cabinet Committee were later agreed by the Cabinet.

 

To assist the Council, Steven Tarry (Metaplan – CIHCM Development Director) was appointed by the Council. The instruction included sourcing street properties which were chain free and were not pre – 1945's (the construction method made them difficult to treat).

 

Overview of the properties

 

While the offers have been accepted, legal searches, property surveys and independent valuation surveys would need to be completed before exchange. Subject to a satisfactory outcome, it was recommended that the Council completed the purchase of the street properties, with a view to letting them at an affordable rent in line with the Rent Policy.

 

Councillor C Whitbread stated that although this was not the best way to spend the Right to Buy receipts, but at this time if the Council did not buy street properties they would have to pay the Government the receipts plus interest. He asked that in the future could officers not contact corporate companies that do part exchanges with a developer. The Service Manager advised that the plan going forward was never to be in this situation again.

 

Councillor A Lion asked how many empty properties there were in the district. The Service Manager stated that she did not know as this came under a different section.

 

Councillor C Whitbread asked when the Council sold a property did the Council have the first offer to buy back. The Service Manager advised that the Council did but this had not previously happened. Going forward she assured the Cabinet Committee that this would now happen.

 

Decision:

 

That the contents of the Progress Report on the purchase of 18 street properties be noted and presented to the Cabinet in line with the Terms of Reference of the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee.

 

Reasons for the Decision:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Impact of Right to Buy and Council House Building Programme on the Housing Revenue Account pdf icon PDF 198 KB

To consider the attached report (CHB-008-2019/20).

Additional documents:

Decision:

That a follow-up report is received on an annual basis to understand the ongoing impact of the Right to Buy (RTB) on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and the steps being taken to mitigate this via the Council House Building Programme.

 

Minutes:

The Service Manager, Housing Management and Home Ownership presented a report the Cabinet Committee, she advised the report was an initial report, highlighting the impact of the Right to Buy (RTB) purchases on the Housing Revenue Account.

 

The number of properties purchased under the RTB since 1977 was 4876. This amounted to a loss of nearly 50% of EFDC Council Housing stock. Furthermore, the impact on the Housing Revenue Account in today's money amounts to approximately £25m per year. On average RTB completions are in the region of 30 per year. Since 2012 Councils have been able to use the RTB receipts to part fund street purchases or a building programme. EFDC has a house building programme, to date 108 properties have been built. The current build programme was based on delivery of a total of 370 properties to 2024.

 

The Council’s current programme will mitigate the RTB purchases, however this would only increase the Council’s stock by 0.7% year on year if continued at the current rate (2021 72 properties). However, RTB creates an ongoing risk to the HRA, and before agreeing the next programme the Cabinet Committee will need to consider whether the programme should seek to introduce a pipeline which will continue to increase overall housing stock.

 

To mitigate the loss of Right to Buy and increase our housing stock by 1% per year, the Council would need to have a council house building programme which delivers 90 units a year. The Local Plan was currently a barrier to this as there were no sites which were allocated for council house building. Furthermore, the opportunity to build on smaller sites was limited as the local plan had only a small number of 'windfall' sites (sites which were not allocated) which were permitted to proceed each year.

 

Moving forward, an annual report will give the context required to help Members understand the impact of the RTB and the number of new build properties needed if this Council chooses to mitigate the future losses to the HRA. 

 

Decision:

 

That the contents of this initial report be noted. That a follow-up report was received on an annual basis to understand the ongoing impact of the Right to Buy (RTB) on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and the steps being taken to mitigate this via the Council House Building Programme.

 

Reasons for the Decision:

 

Set out in its Terms of Reference, the Council House Building Cabinet Committee was to monitor and report to the Council on an annual basis progress and expenditure concerning the Council House Building Programme. It was suggested that this included the ongoing impact annually on the HRA from RTB, and mitigation by the ongoing Council Housing programme.

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

This report sets out the historical impact of RTB on the HRA, and the options to mitigate it going forward. There are no other options for action.

26.

Any Other Business

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, together with paragraphs 6 and 25 of the Council Procedure Rules contained in the Constitution require that the permission of the Chairman be obtained, after prior notice to the Chief Executive, before urgent business not specified in the agenda (including a supplementary agenda of which the statutory period of notice has been given) may be transacted.

 

In accordance with Operational Standing Order 6 (non-executive bodies), any item raised by a non-member shall require the support of a member of the Committee concerned and the Chairman of that Committee. Two weeks’ notice of non-urgent items is required.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Committee noted that there was no other urgent business for consideration.

27.

Exclusion of Public and Press

Exclusion

To consider whether, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press should be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below on grounds that they will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the following paragraph(s) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended) or are confidential under Section 100(A)(2):

 

Agenda Item No

Subject

Exempt Information Paragraph Number

Nil

Nil

Nil

 

The Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006, which came into effect on 1 March 2006, requires the Council to consider whether maintaining the exemption listed above outweighs the potential public interest in disclosing the information. Any member who considers that this test should be applied to any currently exempted matter on this agenda should contact the proper officer at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

 

Background Papers

Article 17 - Access to Information, Procedure Rules of the Constitution define background papers as being documents relating to the subject matter of the report which in the Proper Officer's opinion:

 

(a)        disclose any facts or matters on which the report or an important part of the report is based;  and

 

(b)        have been relied on to a material extent in preparing the report and does not include published works or those which disclose exempt or confidential information and in respect of executive reports, the advice of any political advisor.

 

The Council will make available for public inspection one copy of each of the documents on the list of background papers for four years after the date of the meeting. Inspection of background papers can be arranged by contacting either the Responsible Officer or the Democratic Services Officer for the particular item.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Committee noted that there were no items of business on the agenda that necessitated the exclusion of the public and press from the meeting.