Agenda item

Purchase of 42 Homes at Spitfire Green for Affordable Rent

Report to follow.


Bob Porter, Director of Place introduced the report Councillor Whitehead, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing also made introductory remarks. They made the following points:


  • Council had considered the report on proposals for the development of 400 housing units to be delivered over a period of the next four years;
  • 40% of the funding for this development would come from the housing subsidy Right to Buy receipts or S106 Agreements;
  • The council did not want to compete with housing associations in developing housing in the district but complement them by taking on taking on development that associations considered not viable;
  • There were 1,604 households on the housing register, but the number of those who actually need affordable housing was much higher;
  • Regeneration without affordable housing would cause displacement;
  • The Housing Department had a very good record of delivering. The Council would be using previously unused S106 Agreement funding to deliver 400 units over the next four years;
  • TDC was picking up those housing development projects that were considered small by Housing Association;
  • 60% of the funding for this development would be from HRA borrowing. This was a sustainable and necessary step;
  • Credit should go to the Housing and Finance teams for putting together this proposal.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


  • This was an important issue for the district. How many of the households on the housing register were actual families?
  • How much of an impact will this development bring to families in the district;
  • Was the priority of this Council to build on brownfields?
  • Would any of the properties to be built accessible for use by people with disability or the aged?
  • Would solar systems and other energy efficient systems be installed on these properties?
  • Would the new development be built in one location or around several sites across the district?
  • How many houses did the Council lose from its stock to Right to Buy purchases?
  • This was good news. With the continued rise in the cost of living, would the Council be able to adjust year on year to keep affordable housing accessible to deserving persons?
  • Members were proud to support this proposal when it was presented at Full Council on 13 July 2023. Had any study been made on affordable housing in the district?
  • There was a Rise team to support residents who might need support. However, was there a holistic approach to tenancy management?


Mr Porter and Councillor Whitehead responded as follows:


  • Single people were the largest group of individuals on the housing register and half of them were in temporary accommodation;
  • It was always the Council’s priority to build on brown fields;
  • The steer to build on agricultural land was coming from the central government. Although the Council did not agree with that approach, it had to work within the confines of permitted policy;
  • The Council always ensured that all its new development was adaptable for use by individuals with disability or elderly people. The Council promoted a lifetime access to homes approach;
  • New development also prioritised energy efficient buildings and would therefore incorporated as many measures as were possible;
  • The Council projected the number of houses lost to right to buy to fall this year. Income generated from rent collected was important to Council’s ability to develop more housing;
  • Cabinet preferred genuine affordable housing where the rent should be below or at the same level as the housing allowance. At the moment the allowance was below affordable housing rent;
  • Temporary accommodation was a huge cost to the Council. That money could have been used for housing development;
  • In addition to the work done by the Rise team, the Financial Wellbeing team also worked to support residents with their housing support needs.


There being no further comments, Members noted the report.

Supporting documents: