The Housing Strategy and Enabling Team Leader presented a report in respect of proposed development sites for the Housing Growth Project. The Executive Committee had agreed the Housing Growth Programme some months ago and this report called for Members to endorse proposals for the development of Council houses in particular locations within the Borough. The majority of the sites that had been identified were HRA assets. The exception to this was the Hawthorn Road Community Centre (former Redditch Play Council site), which was a General Fund asset. Officers were proposing that to ensure consistency the Hawthorn Road site should be transferred to the HRA.
In many cases Officers were aiming to develop two bedroom bungalows as demand for this type of property was high. Members were advised that Officers would report back to the Executive Committee about the proposals for each site for approval.
Redditch Borough Council had not worked on developing new Council house properties since the 1990s and there was no longer the expertise in-house to work on this. Therefore Officers were proposing to go out to tender to work with an external specialist on this project.
During consideration of this item Members noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had pre-scrutinised the Housing Growth Programme – Proposed Development sites report at their meeting on 18th October 2018. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had concluded their discussions of the item by endorsing the proposals detailed in the report.
Members discussed the report in detail and noted that funding for the Housing Growth Programme had been provided from the HRA. To date the Council had already purchased some properties under the Housing Growth Programme and some one-bedroom flats were due to be purchased shortly. For the new sites it was confirmed that all of the properties that would be developed would be Council houses. Officers had not yet looked at the detail in terms of the type of properties that would be built, beyond considering whether these should be bungalows, houses and so on. This information would be reported to the Executive Committee when the plans for each site were considered, though the timeframes for this could not yet be confirmed.
The Committee recognised that the Housing Growth Programme would also enable the Council to meet its obligations in respect of the Housing Allocations Policy. There had been a reduction in the number of Council houses owned by the Council over the last few decades, primarily due to Right to Buy, and therefore it was important for the Council to replace these properties in order to meet demand. The new properties would also have a positive impact on the Council’s income as each tenant would be required to pay rent.
1) the sites in Appendix 1 beincluded in Phase 1 of the HRA (Housing Revenue Account) new build programme and proposals to progress the development of HRA new build council housing on them be approved;
2) properties delivered through the Council Housing Growth Programme ... view the full minutes text for item 55