Agenda item

Draft Housing Strategy 2020-2025


Councillor Whitehead, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods introduced the item for debate and thanked the Housing team staff for the thought and care they put into producing the proposed housing strategy. The strategy was evidence of the council’s commitment to local residents.


Mr Porter, Head of Service for Housing and Planning made additional introductory comments as follows:


  • The purpose of the strategy was clear in the document. There was a need to get input from partner organisations as they had a key role to play in providing appropriate housing for Thanet;
  • The proposed strategy included the content on the statutory homelessness strategy in order to provide a cohesive housing policy for the district;
  • The Local Plan set out the housing numbers required and it was currently a great challenge to work towards meeting those targets. Currently the council was at a third of the required housing supply;
  • The district was faced with viability challenges to do with new build property and these challenges contributed to homelessness;
  • Households on low income were increasingly living in low quality housing;
  • Private rented housing had doubled to 26% of the local housing market over the past 15 years;
  • Older population had also increased over the years and the council had to provide appropriate housing for them;
  • The proposed strategy was still in draft stage and would be amended as it went through the decision making process up to the point it was adopted by Full Council in February/March 2020.


Councillor Stuart Piper and Councillor Bailey spoke under Council Procedure 201.


Members responded by making comments and asking questions as detailed below:


  • They were satisfied with the holistic approach to providing housing in the district;
  • There was little detail about protecting green wedges and the environment;
  • There were significant differences between allowances paid in Thanet as compared to the national average. There was a need to address this anomaly to bring the level of allowances in line with actual costs for housing rent costs;
  • Would the council consider supplying prefabricated housing in Thanet as these would be quick to put up;
  • This was an ambitious plan. There were problems regarding monitoring the private sector housing provision. How was the council going to monitor the quality of housing in the private sector?
  • Did residents living in private rented housing know how to access council services if they needed help with poor conditions on their privately rented accommodation?
  • When providing housing to young people, consideration should be given to those young people who may not be on the housing list but may face housing need after falling out with their parents. These young people usually found it difficult to get housing assistance from the council.


Mr Porter responded as follows:


  • Issues regarding the environmental impact and land use would be covered in the Local Plan; Housing development would on the other hand require building consent and the issue would be how housing structures could be designed to maximise thermal efficiency and reduce carbon footprint;
  • The pre-fabrication approach could be further explored in the strategy. However it should be noted that this was not necessarily a cheaper option;
  • There was a significant amount of work being carried out by the council to improve the conditions of private sector housing. This included taking more court action than any other council in the county;
  • Selective licensing also ensured close monitoring of private sector rented accommodation met the required housing standards;
  • This scheme could be increased in its geographic coverage in the district;
  • The rogue landlords scheme was in place to monitor the conduct of landlords in private rented housing sector;
  • A booklet had been produced and shared with the public about 18 months ago on council services to residents in private sector housing;
  • When updating the draft strategy, additional comments would be made to young people’s ability to access housing assistance.


The report requested the Panel to consider the following:


1.  The draft Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2020-2025, attached at annex 1 (to the committee report);


2.  Make comments on the draft strategy in advance of the council’s Cabinet considering the draft strategy, on 16 December 2019.


Councillor Campbell proposed, Councillor Lynda Piper seconded and Members recommended that the amendments proposed as part of the comments made by the Panel be considered when updating the draft Housing Strategy before the strategy was finalised.

Supporting documents: