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Agenda item

Update on Housing Strategy

(To receive an update on the Council’s Housing Strategy)


The Chair welcomed the Assistant Director, Partnerships to the meeting and noted that the Executive Director, Communities and the Portfolio Holder for Homelessness Prevention and Social Housing had sent their apologies.


The Assistant Director reminded the Committee that whilst it was not a statutory requirement for the Council to have a Housing Strategy, it did afford the Council a clear direction of travel and priorities and the current Strategy had been agreed at Cabinet in October 2020.


The Assistant Director provided an overview of the 4 Priorities set out in the Housing Strategy, although she would focus on Priority 4 given its relevance to wellbeing.  It was reported that the Strategy included actions drawn from various other corporate strategies including the Local Plan, the Future High Streets Project, Climate Change policy, Housing Allocations Policy, Housing Acquisitions Policy, Affordable Rents Policy, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy, Private Sector Enforcement Policy and the Community Safety Plan.


The Assistant Director highlighted some of the future proposed actions which included:

·         An update to the Empty Homes Strategy to increase housing provision

·         The development of an Older Persons Housing Needs Strategy in conjunction with stakeholders

·         Work to determine the criteria for the First Homes requirement, whereby 20% of the affordable homes on a development would be allocated as first homes for Tamworth residents.

·         To develop relationships with the voluntary sector to maintain healthier communities and sustain independent living

·         To develop an approach to the needs of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in line with Government policies


The Committee commented and sought clarifications in the following areas:


1.    How the criteria for the First Homes requirement would address the issue of resale of those affordable first homes such that the benefits of the scheme would be retained in perpetuity and that the benefits of any market price discount was continued through resales of the First Home.  The Assistant Director reported that the criteria was under discussion and that this was led by the planning team.

2.    The need for the Committee to receive regular and measurable data in respect of the various action plans / metrics included in the strategy, so that there could be effective scrutiny of the implementation of the strategy and performance. It was further identified that to support this scrutiny, the data should not be solely a snapshot in time but would need to be provided over a period of time (for example over three years) to enable trends to be identified.

3.    It was raised that there was a need for urgency in addressing areas within housing related to climate change given the aspiration of the Council to be Carbon Net Zero by 2030 if financially able to do so.  Given the housing stock owned by the Council, and given the expected Government initiatives to stop the installation of new gas heating in homes from potentially 2030, there would be significant challenges to the Council in delivering appropriate housing to Tamworth’s vulnerable residents in line with the Council’s Climate Change agenda unless action was taken now.

4.    The process followed for residents to apply for and receive Disabled Facilities Grants, where it was highlighted that this process appeared lengthy and complex.  It was requested that data on this be included in the regular reporting of performance which could enable further scrutiny of how this process worked by the Committee as an additional work plan item at a later date.


Following consideration of the presentation provided by the Assistant Director, Partnerships which was welcomed by the Committee, the Committee





It recommend to Cabinet that a bi-annual report be prepared by Officers for presentation to the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, every 6 months, setting out performance metrics relating to each action plan for the 4 Priorities in the Housing Strategy including data over a three year period;


A presentation be prepared for consideration by the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee regarding the delivery of the Council’s climate change agenda in terms of Council’s Housing stock and the impact on vulnerable Tamworth residents;


It recommend to Cabinet that consideration be given in the development of the criteria for First Homes, for the 20% discount to market price on the initial purchase, being continued in subsequent resales, where possible.


(Moved by Councillor M Cook and seconded by Councillor R Kingstone)



The Committee thanked the Assistant Director, Partnerships for her presentation, who then left the meeting.




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