Your Councillors


Agenda item

Maidstone Housing Delivery Partnership Proposals

Minutes:

Mr Cornall informed the Committee that entering a Housing Delivery Partnership would mean a return to building affordable housing.  This would represent a reversal of the Council decision in 2004, which transferred the Council’s affordable housing stock to Golding Homes.  Mr Cornall explained that the Council no longer held a Housing Revenue Account (HRA), which was required to hold and fund housing.  The HRA could be reopened, but it would have no borrowing capacity as it held no assets or income.  A specialist legal firm were therefore appointed to advise on the mechanisms that could achieve a return to building affordable housing.  The Local Plan sought to create 883 new houses each year, of which 332 were affordable homes.  Over the last seven years, 64% of the affordable housing target had been achieved.

 

Councillor McKay spoke as a Visiting Member.

 

The Committee commented that:

 

·  It was crucial to select an appropriate Registered Provider partner, to ensure that those living in affordable housing received the right level of front-line services.

 

·  There was a need to ensure that any new houses were built in an appropriate area, at the right level of quality, quantity and dispersion to avoid any stigma regarding affordable housing. 

 

·  Consultation with Parish Councils was crucial, and that dialogue with each Parish individually would be beneficial. 

 

·  Consideration needed to be given to those currently living in affordable housing owned by Housing Associations, to ensure that they were not disadvantaged.

In response to questions from the Committee, Mr Cornall stated that this was the first step to return to building affordable housing, and that it would require commitment from both Members and Officers to deliver.  While governance would be complex, and there were significant financial considerations, the proposal would ensure that Maidstone Borough Council held a position of both enabler and provider in the affordable housing market.  Furthermore a full procurement process would be undertaken when selecting a partner.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

1)  An Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance be produced.

 

2)  The Policy and Resources Committee are recommended to agree the funding of £7.5m per annum over a five year period for the Maidstone Housing Delivery Partnership Proposal.

 

3)  Subject to funding approval of £7.5m per annum over a five year period by the Policy and Resources Committee, the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee agrees that:

 

a)  Delegated authority be given to the Director of Regeneration and Place, in consultation with the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee, to secure co-investment between the Council and Registered Provider of £15m pa total over a 5 year period.

 

b)  Co-investment between the Council and a Registered Provider be targeted at achieving a 50% market share of the S106 affordable housing market in Maidstone.

 

c)  A programme of engagement with Parish Councils be commenced, to gauge the appetite for bringing forward rural exception sites for affordable housing, on a Parish by Parish basis.

 

d)  Further consideration be given to choosing an appropriate Registered Provider partner.

Voting: For – 8 Against – 1 Abstentions – 0

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