This report will be pre-scrutinised at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that is due to take place on Thursday, 22nd October 2020. Any recommendations in respect of this item will be reported in a supplementary pack for the consideration of the Executive Committee.
The Housing Strategy Manager presented the Housing Strategy for the Committee’s consideration. Members were advised that the strategy was designed to enable the Council to take action in relation to the local housing market. In previous years, the Council had been part of a countywide strategy which had been relatively lengthy and complex. The new strategy had been simplified and focused on housing needs in the Borough, though took into account national, regional and countywide housing pressures.
The Council was statutorily obliged to provide a homelessness strategy and this had been combined with the wider housing strategy within the document. Issues relating to homelessness, social housing, affordable housing and housing within the private rented sector had all been taken into account. Officers had also tried to clarify the potential impact of Covid-19 across the housing market, though due to the level of uncertainty about the pandemic this was difficult to assess.
Subject to the Executive Committee’s approval of the policy, Officers intended to undertake a period of consultation with relevant stakeholders, including partner organisations. Any feedback received during this consultation process would be considered and the strategy might be amended in response. The outcomes of the consultation and any changes made to the strategy would be reported to the Executive Committee at a later date.
Following the presentation of the report Members debated the content and noted that there were significant pressures within the housing sector. Over the previous 30 years there had been growth in both the private rented sector and in the demand for social housing, though the supply could not always keep up with demand. It was suggested that Universal Credit was further impacting on demand for social housing as well as on the Council’s rental income from Council tenants.
Members noted that the strategy referred to the provision of more appropriate housing for residents and questions were raised about what type of housing this referred to. Officers confirmed that reference was being made here to social housing and that clarification could be provided in the strategy once it was updated.
1) the draft Redditch Borough Council Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2020-2024 be approved for a period of public consultation to last four weeks; and
2) a final version of the Housing Strategy, having considered any relevant consultation responses, be brought back to Executive Committee for approval.