Hounslow Council


Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Bill Lee Tel: 020 8583 2068 or email:  william.lee@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

49.

Minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2016 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2016 were agreed to be an accurate record.

50.

Re-development proposals for the Sparrow Farm Residents Association Buildings, Sparrow Farm, Feltham pdf icon PDF 344 KB

Report by Councillor Steve Curran – Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Corporate Strategy, Planning and Regeneration.

 

For decision.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report and appendices (agenda item 2). The report was presented by Andrew Smith. Members questioned the officer and discussed the matter in full. The recommendations were unanimously agreed subject to the following comments to be added to the report:

 

1)    Regarding paragraph 3.1.1: The Affordable Housing Committee wished it to be noted that the comments in this paragraph do not refer in any way to current tenants, but are historic references. It is to be emphasised that a new group has taken over the running of the premises which is not responsible for past activities.

 

2)    Paragraph 3.1.5, grounds of repossession: The Affordable Housing Committee wished to ensure that the grounds are pursued in the order given. Ground (b) shall not be pursued until all options under ground (f) have been exhausted inconclusively. Likewise no action shall be taken under ground (c) unless both grounds (f) and (b) have been fully explored.

 

3)    Paragraph 3.4.2: The authority to grant the statutory compensation shall be delegated to the Cabinet Lead Member for Housing and the Director of Housing.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee agreed to approve:

 

1.    Possession proceedings to bring the current Lease to an end on the grounds of re-development and other matters;

 

2.    The demolition and re-development of the Sparrow Farm Residents Association club buildings, Feltham, to provide for new council owned rented homes and a new community facility;

 

3.    The refurbishment and grant of a licence for community use for up to three retail units within Central Parade shops until the new community centre is completed; and

 

4.    The indicative total scheme cost and budget funding, which total £7,675,000 required for the re-development of the scheme as set out in Appendix 2, and that authority to agree the following shall be delegated to the Director of Housing, in consultation with the Lead Cabinet member:

·         The final scheme proposals,

·         The total scheme costs and funding plan, and

·         The letting of demolition and construction contracts.

 

51.

Update on Delivery of Affordable Housing Plan 2014-18 pdf icon PDF 223 KB

Report by Councillor Steve Curran – Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Corporate Strategy, Planning and Regeneration.

 

To be noted.

 

Minutes:

Please see the report and appendices (agenda item 3).

 

The report was presented by Andrew Smith.

 

Mr Smith advised that appendix 1 had been updated since publication and 2,785 properties had now been completed, 93% of the 3,000 target.  Schemes for 270 properties had been submitted and 102 more council homes would be completed by 31 March 2018, exceeding the pledge target of 400 homes by 12. It was expected that the total target of 3,000 homes would be exceeded by March 2018 for a total of 3,153. It was not however possible to increase the number of council homes built. It was not anticipated that a high number of additional private leases could be obtained.  

 

Mr Smith advised that developers regularly approached the Council, however additional funding was only obtainable by bringing forward money from next year’s budget. Lourdes DeBarry added that conversions of warden accommodation from former sheltered blocks would bring a further nine homes into use. Ms DeBarry advised that there were major voids among council properties that were still awaiting a decision on whether to dispose or refurbish. Members agreed that due to the pressing need for three and four bedroom housing investments should be made. Mr Smith urged a degree of caution as it was possible to lose money in the longer term if rents did not return the investment. The officers said the voids would be investigated, including those with known structural faults.

52.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

Lourdes DeBarry advised that it was wished to test the idea of “home ownership staircasing” to release more supply and engage with tenants to create ownership opportunities. Andrew Smith stated that there were various options. One was to use Council money to buy properties which could then be sold to existing tenants in shared ownership schemes. Instead of selling tenants the home they were renting they could be offered discounts on homes anywhere in the country, which meant that the Council could release the rented home for a new vacancy. This had been done in Wandsworth and Barking, and Ealing were considering the scheme as well. The new tenants would of course still have the potential to use the right to buy but at least one more person would have been housed.

 

Another option was to offer small vacant plots to tenants for self-build projects, encouraged by a discount.  If it was decided to sell on high cost voids rather than refurbish it was suggested that existing tenants be targeted with discounts rather than putting the homes on the open market. Shared ownership could be offered on homes tenants were already living in, an attractive option in high value areas. The Council would of course still lose the property but would at least gain not only the capital part purchase but also continue to collect rent on the shared portion.

 

The Committee agreed that all the options presented were attractive compared to standard right to buy and also had the additional advantage that it was possible to ensure buyers had no debt, ASB record, or rent arrears before the property was sold to them, which was not possible under right to buy.