Gareth Bradford referred the Board back to the history of the Affordable Housing Delivery Vehicle and that the programme of work remained on schedule for an Autumn 2020 launch, subject to due diligence and business case. Rob Lamond then presented a comprehensive report which sought approval to the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the WMCA and six regional housing associations as a key stepping-stone to the launch of the Delivery Vehicle. He explained that this formed the next stage of progress in developing the Board’s proposal to establish a new Affordable Housing Delivery Vehicle with Registered Providers operating in the West Midlands. Rob Lamond referred the Board back to the purpose of the Vehicle agreed previously by this Board which was to unlock challenging brownfield opportunities in the region which would not come forward through other means and to thus deliver genuinely additional affordable housing supply – providing added value to the work of the WMCA under the Single Commissioning Framework, local housing partnerships, Homes England and local authorities on affordable housing delivery. The proposed MoU set out the rationale, principles and structure of the proposed Vehicle as agreed previously but would not be a legally binding agreement. The Heads of Terms would be finalised and submitted for endorsement to a future meeting of this Board.
The Chair referred to that part of the MoU which refered to the admission of new parties requiring the consent of the WMCA and suggested that the wording needed to be more specific, for example: approval by the WMCA Board or this Board or through delegated authority being granted to the Director of Housing and Regeneration.
Councillor Joanne Hadley expressed concern that the Vehicle could operate in competition with similar Vehicles established by local authorities. Rob Lamond explained that the purpose of this Vehicle was to bring additionality and to assist in delivering those sites which had stalled and would not be delivered without its involvement. He advised that it would not operate in competition with other similar Vehicles. Councillor Daren Pemberton was not convinced and suggested that the Principles of Collaboration needed detailed work to address this issue.
Gareth Bradford assured the Board that the WMCA would continue to work closely with all local housing associations and local authorities so that the vehicle brought genuine additionality. It would concentrate on those matters over and above that which Registered Providers did now, over and above what the WMCA did through its Single Commissioning Framework and over and above what other local housing delivery vehicles would do. He reminded the Board that this was the Memorandum of Understanding stage and that future reports would address how the Vehicle would operate in practice. Kevin Rodgers advised that the Vehicle would secure the construction of housing units which would then be passed on to the most appropriate housing provider to manage.
1. That the proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the West Midlands Housing Association Partnership Investments (WMHPI), as appended to the report, be approved with a view to establishing a corporate joint venture whose primary objectives would be to develop and build additional new affordable housing in the West Midlands subject to a further report addressing the matters now referred to i.e. wording relating to admission of new parties and details ensuring that the Vehicle would not operate in competition with other local authority housing Vehicles;
2. That the legal basis of the MoU as a statement of intent and not a legally binding agreement be noted.