Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: 16, Summer Lane, Birmingham, B19 3SD

Contact: Carl Craney Governance Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

6.

Apologies for Absence (if any)

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Majid Mahmood (Birmingham City Council), Councillor George Adamson (Cannock Chase District Council), Councillor Dennis Harvey (Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council), Councillor Richard Overton (Telford and Wrekin Council) and Karl Tupling (Homes England).

 

7.

Chair's Announcement

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Gareth Bradford, WMCA Director of Housing and Regeneration to his first meeting of the Board.

 

8.

Declarations of Interests (if any)

Members are reminded of the need to declare

any disclosable pecuniary interests they have in

an item being discussed during the course of the

meeting. In addition, the receipt of any gift or

hospitality should be declared where the value of

it was thought to have exceeded £25 (gifts) or

£40 (hospitality).

 

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made in relation to items under consideration at the meeting.

 

9.

Minutes of last meeting pdf icon PDF 136 KB

[For approval]

Minutes:

Resolved:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 15 November 2017 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair subject to the addition of ‘Ian Powell – Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’ being included in the list of those in attendance at the meeting. 

 

10.

Matters Arising

Minutes:

Councillor Ian Courts referred to Minute No. 5. (Update on Housing Deal) and requested that further information be provided to all Members of this Board with regard to the award of some £3.690 million to Telford and Wrekin Council to assist in bringing forward approximately 540 housing units across that area. He advised that whilst he had not been present at the last meeting he was concerned with regard to this award given the discussions held under the Duty to Co-Operate requirements and the stance taken previously by Telford and Wrekin Council.

 

Resolved:

That a detailed clarification on the background to this matter and the decision be provided to all Members of this Board.

 

11.

Spatial Investment and Delivery Plan - (contents and outline for agreement) pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Gareth Bradford presented a report which updated the Board on progress in taking forward work to support implementation of the West Midlands Land Delivery Plan, which had been a key recommendation from the West Midlands Land Commission. He advised that this was the third stage of the process and formed part of the bottom up development. He assured the Board that the WMCA was engaged with both Constituent, Non- Constituent and none members on this piece of work and that this was not a Statutory Plan. It was intended to bring together various plans for housing, transport, skills, employment and social infrastructure. It was anticipated that Homes England and the various Housing Associations would have regard to the document, once it was finalised. As part of the draft scoping exercise key information on all sites had been documented. He reminded the Board that this exercise was not about numbers of houses provided but about the quality of developments, the density and ensuring that sustainable communities were created.

 

He reported that the site pipeline had identified some 800 sites and that the Officers were working with Homes England to commence discussions with H M Government to move forward development on these sites, acknowledging the inherent difficulties with some sites. The constraints included contaminated land and, in some cases, fragmented ownership. He stressed the need for the homes to be delivered in a structured and co-ordinated manner. A number of further Workshops were planned with the respective authorities in order to progress the finalisation of the Delivery Plan.

 

Councillor Ian Courts welcomed the work undertaken to date and commented that it was essential especially in terms of the Brownfield sites. He suggested that there was a need for some scoring mechanism via a ‘Scorecard’ on which the various impediments (such as remediation / ownership / planning issues) to development could be rated. He also suggested that there was a need to identify ‘shovel ready’ schemes and to involve private landlords and developers in the exercise.

 

Gareth Bradford acknowledged the inclusion of a ‘Scorecard’ and on the need for the pipeline to be realistic. He advised on the need to identify those schemes which could be delivered quickly and those that could be prepared for delivery with the support of investors. He reported that, to date, the engagement with both owners and developers had been light in touch but assured the Board that the level of engagement would increase as the process developed.

The Chair commented that the negotiations with H M Government needed to be considered including the need to demonstrate that the West Midlands region could deliver on its aspirations.      

 

Councillor Chris Saint supported the approach that was being adopted but expressed concern with regard to the non-statutory element in the planning process. He reminded the Board that the Spatial Development and Delivery Plan would sit alongside statutory plans. He enquired whether those sites identified in the pipeline would be over and above those identified in Local Plans. The Chair acknowledged  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Update on Housing Deal

Minutes:

Gareth Bradford updated the Board in relation to on-going discussions with H M Government to secure investment by way of a Housing Deal. He assured the Board that it was not intended to surpass the target of 215,000 additional housing units by 2031. He reported that the whole housing market was being reviewed in terms of remediation requirements and types of construction. A diverse number of delivery options were being explored including:

·         Delivery with both public and private sectors;

·         Intervention measures;

·         New delivery measures and building on those already in existence;

·         Challenges to developers on quality and to complete developments;

·         Joint Delivery Team with Homes England.

 

He advised that the intention was to establish a long term relationship and investment programme with H M Government and associated Agencies. Ideally, a single housing fund would be established to accelerate supply of housing units. Compulsory Purchase Order powers would be used where appropriate and support would be provided on skills and employment provision / training. The proposals would include partnership working with Homes England. The Chair commented that negotiations with H M Government were on-going but it was hoped that an agreed process for the long term could be achieved.

 

Councillor Peter Butlin referred to the position with the provision of affordable housing in the Rugby Borough Council area where a number of viability issues, varying from site to site, precluded the requisite proportion of affordable housing units being provided. He opined that if H M Government was willing to fund the costs of remediation of those sites higher levels of affordable housing could be delivered. The Chair reminded the Board of the availability of funding through the Brownfield Land and Property Remediation Fund but acknowledged that this did not provide a solution to all problems. Councillor Ian Courts counselled caution with regard to subsidising land owners and also reminded the Board that the type f affordable housing units provided was as important as the number of units.

 

Gareth Bradford commented on the need for the WMCA to build up its level of expertise without replicating that which already existed in partner authorities. He advised on the need for a different approach to be adopted to that offered by a Joint Venture Partnership as there was a need for a long term view. The Chair opined on the need to protect the local authorities and reminded the Board of the award of £6 million to establish a ‘Delivery Team’ as part of the Devolution Deal 2 settlement.

 

Councillor Peter Bilson commented on the need for affordable housing for rent and on the need for the borrowing cap on the Housing Revenue Account to be lifted. The Chair advised that further parts of the plan would evolve during the on-going discussions including those taking place with Housing Associations. Gareth Bradford reported that lifting the borrowing cap had not formed part of the discussions with H M Government as it was understood that this was under consideration. He stressed the need to convince H  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.