Agenda item

Purchase of 24 Homes at Tothill Street, Minster for Affordable Rent


Councillor Packman left the Council Chamber after declaring a significant interest as he worked for a Housing Association.


Ashley Jackson, Head of Housing and Planning introduced the report and made the following points:


·  Council had recently approved an accelerated affordable rented housing development programme of at least 400 new homes, constructed or acquired, by 2027;

·  Officers were contacted by BDW Barretts, who were required to deliver 24 new affordable homes, as part of their development at Tothill Street, Minster. This requirement was set out in the section 106 obligations for the development. They had been unable to secure an affordable housing provider to deliver these homes;

·  The capital cost for the 24 homes was £3.2m and £50k for associated costs;

·  Paragraph 2.5 to the report demonstrated the cash flow deficit from year one of £30.99k with a breakeven point in year 15;

·  As the homes had been designated as affordable homes in the planning consent and section 106 agreement, they had been designed specifically for that purpose and accordingly were considered appropriate for the HRA, in line with the needs of households on the Council’s register or those living in temporary accommodation. There was a significant level of need for one bedroom homes, as well as for larger family homes;

·  The unit sizes and the mix of dwellings were as follows:


§  8 x 1 bed units

§  16 x 2 bed units


·  The Panel was asked to review the proposals to Cabinet for the new homes to bet let in accordance with the council’s adopted allocations policy.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


·  It was concerning that housing associations were not planning to take over affordable housing in new development projects that were coming up;

·  Two hundred and fourteen houses were planned for the housing development in question;

·  30% of that development was allocated for affordable housing. This meant that 40 houses were set aside for affordable housing;

·  That also translated to 28 houses being set aside for affordable rent and 12 for shared ownership;

·  The affordable housing units were later reduced to 24 and 16 were now set aside for shared ownership. These changes were something that the Council needed to review;

·  The Council had pledged to build 400 homes in 4 years. Was the rate at which the council was buying or building new homes the pace at which these developments should be considering the cost of borrowing?

·  For sites like Pegwell Bay, should the Council be not considering engaging housing associations?

·  Was the Council satisfied with the deal for these new properties?

·  It was agreed that there would be no water supply hook-up for the new properties until there was an agreement with Southern Water;

·  Could the Council give guarantee that all these houses were delivered to the highest standards for all the properties being developed at these sites;

·  How many of these properties were disability friendly or age proof?

·  Would these properties have solar energy?

·  Previously there were five houses at Reading Street that were offered to the Council. Did this mean that sites were not able to deliver social housing for developments under 300 units? Should the Council be not stopping such developments?


Ashley Jackson responded to Member questions and comments as follows:


·  Housing Associations were not delivering less than 100 units on site as that would mean not getting any grants from government;

·  These new sites where the Associations were offering new units to the Council were six to 12 months in development;

·  The Council was not in competition with any housing provider. Instead the Council was the last resort considered by the housing developers;

·  Officers were happy with the deal. Finance had assisted with identifying the minimum and maximum ranges to offer;

·  Green site was nearly ready and the rest were not yet ready. They were twelve months;

·  Al units were laid out as per Section 106 Agreement;

·  These units to be purchased by the Council were integrated. Smaller units were usually in close proximity;

·  These units were disability friendly and age proof and were A-rated energy buildings;

·  The Council should not stop such development because that is how the market was currently.


After the meeting, Ashley Jackson was going to forward written responses to the Panel to some of the questions posed by Members.


There being no further comments, Members noted the report.


Councillor Packman was invited back into the Council Chamber.

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