Gareth Bradford presented a report which updated the Board on the development of an Affordable and Social Housing Supply Proposition which would address the growing challenge of housing affordability in the region. He advised that a considerable increase in the supply and delivery of affordable homes, in terms of absolute numbers and as a proportion of overall supply, was needed to support the region’s ambitions for economic and inclusive growth. He informed the Board that the definition of ‘affordable housing’ would need to align with the strategic goals of the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) and the Industrial Strategy.
Councillor Daren Pemberton reported on the use of modular buildings at two affordable housing developments within the Stratford on Avon District Council area and on the opportunities to work with Housing Associations to encourage the use of these types of building. Councillor David Humphreys questioned the precise split between the types of affordable housing i.e. social housing for rent, shared ownership etc.
Karl Tupling commended the ambitious approach being taken in the proposal. He advised on the availability of financial assistance which could be provided by Homes England and HM Government to assist in achieving the ambitious plan put forward and committed to working with the WMCA to secure such investment. He reported on the two pre-requisites for housing associations being the availability of land and the need for local authority planning departments to process planning applications expeditiously. He also commented on the opportunity to work with a small number of small and medium sized registered providers as part of this plan to unlock new supply.
Councillor Ian Courts referred to paragraph 2.3 of the report and enquired as to the steps being taken to engage with the development industry. Gareth Bradford assured the Board that discussions were being held with the Chief Executives of major developers and house builders and there was a continuing need to engage with a diversity of house builders to get buy-in for the proposed way forward.
Councillor Richard Overton commented that the provision of social housing was a key issue. With regard to the provision of social housing units as part of a larger development he advised that he favoured the ‘pepper pot’ approach but accepted that this was not always popular with other residents. He also counselled caution with regard to increasing density on developments if this led to the lack of provision of open space and areas for children to play. Gareth Bradford reported on a number of good examples of high density schemes within the region. He advised that high density schemes could be successful if the design quality was exemplary.
Councillor Sharon Thompson referred to the need for additional social housing units to be delivered in order to address homelessness, rough sleepers and those families in temporary accommodation. She reminded the Board of the linkages between improved health and housing and on the need to address neighbourhoods and open space. Roy Stokes suggested that any examples of best practice from across the country should be collated and supported the earlier comments regarding housing and health.
Councillor Daren Pemberton referred to the DemoDev algorithm to identify small sites discussed at the last meeting and enquired when such sites would be drawn to the attention of the Board. Gareth Bradford undertook to include an update on this work to the next meeting.
Councillor Peter Butlin commented on recent articles in the national press on the possible introduction of a ‘Land Value Tax’ under which the increase in the value of land with the benefit of planning permission for residential use would be subject to a tax which could be used for the provision of infrastructure. Gareth Bradford commented that the introduction of a ‘Land Value Tax’ was only speculation at this time.
1. That the emerging draft supply proposition be noted;
2. That the approach as detailed in the report and annex be approved;
3. That a report on the outcomes from the ‘DevoDev’ work be submitted to the next meeting.