Asset Management, Culture & Housing Cabinet Member – Minutes – 1 April 2014

86 (37) CULTURAL SERVICES FEES AND CHARGES – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking agreement for the principles for setting the remaining fees and charges for Cultural Services, fees and charges had already been set for Normanby Hall Country Park admissions.

The council needed to set fees and charges for a range of services at a level to meet required income targets.  Fees and charges had to be flexible to respond to changing market conditions.

Last year, broad principles were set to establish fees and charges rather than specific sums for each service.  It was proposed that the same approach be taken to the setting of fees and charges.

Resolved – That the principles for setting fees and charges, as outlined in the report, be approved.

87 (38) FEES AND CHARGES 2014-2015 ASSET MANAGEMENT, CULTURE AND HOUSING CABINET PORTFOLIO – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking to fix the level of fees and charges for the financial year 2014-2015 in relation to the council’s Asset Management, Culture and Housing Cabinet Portfolio.

Services were required to consider fees and charges on an annual basis.  Fees and charges should be considered in line with the relevant charging policies.  Changes to fees and charges should take into account recovery of cost and budgeted inflation wherever possible.

The proposed fees and charges could also be influenced by service/council objectives.

Resolved – That the fees and charges, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be approved.

88 (39) AFFORDABLE HOUSING – The Director of Places submitted a report advising the Cabinet Member of the government’s 2015-18 programmes for supporting affordable housing, and seeking approval to offer some support to housing associations to help build new homes.

The council worked with housing associations and others to meet local needs as stated in the housing policy.

The council’s planning policy was that up to 20% of new homes in the Scunthorpe urban area on sites above 15 units should be affordable.  Elsewhere in North Lincolnshire 10% of new homes should be affordable.

The government was making £1.7bn available to help provide affordable housing in England.  The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) was managing the funding.  Guidance on how to obtain funding was set out in a prospectus.  The guidance was summarised in Appendix 1 to the report.

The HCA would not award funding unless the local authority confirmed that there was a need in the area.  The HCA would also take into account the Strategic Economic Plans of the Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The guidance “strongly encouraged” councils to consider how they could make their own land or funding available to help develop new affordable homes.  Discussions with housing associations providing homes in North Lincolnshire indicated that there could be a number of schemes where council support could prove key to enabling local needs be met.

The deadline for housing associations and others to submit bids was 30 April 2014.

Resolved – (a) That the new government prospectus be noted; (b) that Option 3, as set out in the report at paragraph 3.3, be approved, and (c) that further reports be submitted to the Cabinet Member as housing associations sought support for affordable housing developments.

89 (40) INVESTMENT IN HOUSING LED REGENERATION – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking approval to help fund two empty property schemes and meet local housing need.

A funding plan for New Homes Bonus was approved in February 2012 (minute 1 refers).  One of the three priorities was housing led regeneration.  It was agreed that the Property Trading Account would fund housing schemes when setting the council’s budget for 2013/14.

The housing market remained tough.  Extra costs arose for special schemes that would not go ahead without council help.

The council worked with housing associations and others to meet local needs as stated in the housing strategy.  The council could give vital funding that enabled schemes to go ahead.

It was proposed that funding be provided for two housing schemes, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.  The council had offered to help organisations who had secured funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government to bring properties back into use to meet local need.

Resolved – (a) That the proposal to provide up to £148,500 from the Property Trading Account managed schemes general fund budget towards the schemes set out in Appendix 1 to the report, over a three year period, be approved in principle; (b) that the final level of support be determined following consideration by officers in the Asset and Estate Management team, and (c) that further reports be submitted to the Cabinet Member as other housing schemes are developed to fulfil the council’s housing strategy.

The corresponding reports of the following items (Minutes 90 and 91 refer) contain exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

90 (41) COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY PORTFOLIO – DISPOSAL STRATEGY AND ANNUAL REVIEW 2012/13 – The Director of Places submitted a report informing the Cabinet Member that the Disposal Strategy and Annual Review document 2012/13, relating to the council’s Commercial and Industrial property portfolio, had been completed.

The council was committed to the efficient and effective management of its property and landholdings.  The aim was to maintain the quality and capacity of the council’s retained land and property holdings, to provide accommodation for the development of business, and to address market failure an provide income in support of the council’s wider priorities.

Effectively managing the portfolio required that the performance of the most significant premises be reviewed annually in order to assess whether they should be retained and invested in.

The performance and review of the portfolio was summarised in the Commercial Property Portfolio Review and Disposal Strategy 2012/13, appended to the report.

Resolved – That the report and accompanying appendix be noted.

91 (42) PROPERTY TRANSACTION SCHEDULE – The Director of Places submitted a report for consideration, and where necessary, approval of a schedule containing the terms of all recently negotiated property transactions.

The schedule covered both operational and commercial property.

Resolved – That the schedule appended to the report be approved.

92  HOUSING ADVICE AND HOMELESSNESS – ANNUAL PERFORMANCE UPDATE – The Cabinet Member requested that thanks be given to the Housing Advice Team for their work and efforts over the last year.

Note: Reports are in Portable Document Format (PDF) and therefore require a suitable reader to view them. A reader can be downloaded free from the Adobe website (full instructions for downloading the reader are provided on the site).

Where there is no report this is because it is exempt, as it contains information which is considered to be of a confidential nature, as detailed in the Local Government (Access to Information) Act.