Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

38.

Minutes of the meeting held on 05 August 2015 and matters arising. pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Minutes:

Item 35 Extra Care Housing Scheme - Suzannah Taylor pointed out a typo in line 8: “Retail income was £15.5 million” should read “Retained income was £15.5 million.”

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 05 August 2015 were agreed to be an otherwise accurate record and signed.

39.

Disposal of HRA Land at 15 Shrewsbury Walk pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report by Isabella Rossi, Principal Affordable Housing Supply Manager (agenda item 2).

 

Ms Rossi presented the report.

 

Cllr Theo Dennison was unconvinced that the land was definitely too small for development and questioned why a covenant was to be placed on the site restricting building. Cllr Steve Curran requested that an officer examine the site to make certain that it was too small for development before it was sold, which was agreed. Cllr Dennison suggested that even a very small unit would net significantly more than £60,000 for the Council and, if the land were indeed too small for building on its own, asked that officers investigate the possibility of carrying out a joint development with the owner  of the land at 14 and 15 Shrewsbury Walk. Suzannah Taylor, Housing Development & Regeneration Manager, cautioned that there was a strong possibility that Planning Officers had refused permission to build on the land because of access, line of sight or similar reason. Cllr Dennison accepted that was a possibility but urged that all alternatives be investigated and Cllr Curran agreed. Peter Matthew, Assistant Director, Housing, Leisure and Public Health advised that the possibility of joint development with the landowner could be explored before any sale was agreed.

 

The Committee unanimously agreed not to accept the recommendations at this stage.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee agreed to examine:

 

1.    The possibility of building a house on the land;

2.    In the event that such a development be impractical, to examine the possibility of carrying out a joint development with the owner of the land at 14 and 15 Shrewsbury Walk, should the owner agree and the income generated exceed the £60,000 proposed sale price.

40.

Two Bridges pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Temporary Accommodation Proposal

Minutes:

 

Please see the report by Isabella Rossi, Principal Affordable Housing Supply Manager (agenda item 3).

 

Ms Rossi presented the report.

 

Following question from Members Ms Rossi advised that planning permission was not necessary to start the process and obtain the grant as the rules for the West London Empty Homes Grant were less rigid than those applied by the GLA. The grant funding would come to the Council as owners of the building and rent would go into the General Fund. Peter Matthew stated that investment would come from the General Fund and rental income would go into it; there was a further return in the form of savings to Temporary Accommodation overspends by up to £66,500 a year. The Panel unanimously agreed the recommendations and congratulated the officers on an excellent report.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee:

 

1.    agreed the proposal for the interim conversion of the former day care

centre known as Two Bridges, Feltham into 7 x 2 bedroom self-contained apartments to be used for the purposes of temporary accommodation

provision until such time as a future end use is agreed;

 

  2. subject to 1 above and should it not be possible to carry out all or any works

in house, agreed to delegate authority to the Director of Housing to call off from

existing Framework contracts for the delivery of the works in the event it is

not possible to carry these out in house;

 

3. agreed the use of the West London Empty Homes Grant of £135,000 to

part fund the total costs of conversion;

 

4. agreed to seek approval to use £215,000 of New Homes Bonus funding to meet the net conversion costs after the grant in 3 above has been deducted; and

 

5. approved preliminary costs of £10,500 to cover site surveys and planning

costs associated with a ‘change of use’ planning application and legal advice

on property title, which will be funded from requested New Homes Bonus funding.

 

 

41.

Voids Major Works Update pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Report by Tara Agarwal

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report by Tara Agarwal, Head of Asset Management (agenda item 5).

 

Ms Agarwal presented the report.

 

She advised that of the 15 properties listed in appendix 2 as undergoing major work, six were complete and already being let. Systems had been put in place to monitor major works, which it was acknowledged had not been done efficiently in the past. In each case officers were investigating whether the property was worth keeping or better sold. It was agreed that these issues would feature in the regular meetings between Cllr Dunne and Peter Matthew. Cllr Curran commented on the high expense involved in boarding up empty buildings and providing security when receiving no rental income or use as temporary accommodation. Ms Agarwal advised that the Housing and Planning Bill, when in force, will require councils to dispose of high value voids. An assessment would have to be carried out at the earliest opportunity when any property became void as to whether it was going to remain empty for long. Mr Matthew advised that the council’s response to the Bill would be classed as a key decision and would go to Cabinet; subsequent individual cases would go to the Affordable Housing Committee or be single member decisions. Cllr Dennison did not believe that any property that could earn the Council money in the longer term should be disposed of. Ms Agarwal agreed as there would be no motive to sell if only a single unit could be built with the proceeds and so voids would be rarely, if ever, sold, however the levy would have to be met and so every void would have to be looked at immediately. Evaluation of stock was part of the Bill. Cllr Dennison commented that it was better to lose money than property; in the long term the property would always generate more income than was lost. He urged that the non-HRA property referred to in paragraph 5 of the report should not be sold. Cllr Curran stated that systems were now in place to prevent a repetition of the situation where 103 Sutton Lane had been left empty for four years.

 

 

Resolved:

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee noted:

 

a)    The current position in relation to major works voids and the proposal to introduce decision-making into the major voids process (based on a financial appraisal mechanism);

 

b)    That any resultant recommendations to dispose (where key decisions) are to be brought before the Affordable Housing Committee, subject to being within its terms of reference; and

 

c)    The potential implications for the Council of the Housing and Planning Bill which if passed will create a duty for local housing authorities to consider selling high value vacant homes and a levy payable on the estimated value of high value homes that may become void.

42.

Sheltered Schemes Update pdf icon PDF 414 KB

Report by John Kennelly, Specialist Housing Project Manager.

Minutes:

 

 

 

Please see the report by John Kennelly, Specialist Housing Project Manager (agenda item 5).

 

Mr Kennelly presented the report.

 

Cllr Dunne asked what the consequences of not applying the sheltered housing standard to Rose Gardens would be. Mr Kennelly advised that the Council was able to exempt the scheme and intended to do so given the popularity of the bedsits in this one instance. Cllr Curran asked if a decision had been made regarding Wynne Court. Suzannah Taylor stated that all decanted tenants were entitled to home loss payments in principle. The Council could refuse an automatic right of return. Officers carried out checks on the guardians at the Maltings twice a month.

 

Cllr Dennison asked if there was a need to decant the temporary accommodation tenants from the Everglades quickly. Mr Kennelly advised that the timeframe given in the report was the earliest and it was possible to put the date back. Cllr Dennison requested that officers should not proceed with detailed planning if it would impact on other schemes. Mr Kennelly stated that three flats in Burlington House were ready but temporary accommodation tenants could not be moved in while there was a sheltered tenant still in occupation because of the shared facilities.

 

There were no questions regarding Burlington Court or Loraine Road; Peter Matthew advised that the latter scheme would save considerable funds from the temporary accommodation budget when partly converted into four bedroom family homes. Mr Matthew was unaware if there was any possibility that work on 84 Bath Road could be expedited.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Affordable Housing Committee noted:

 

1)    the progress made with regard to the sheltered scheme review since

      the last AHC meeting on 5 August 2015;

 

2)    the proposal and associated development timescales for each of the

     schemes.

 

3)    that Officers will seek approval for additional expenditure to the HRA. This will be presented on a scheme by scheme basis via a report to Affordable Housing Committee.