Assets, Culture & Housing Cabinet Member – Minutes – 12 November 2015

15 (15) COMMUNITY RIGHT TO BID – NOMINATIONS REGISTER AS AT 23/09/2015 – The Director of Places submitted a report updating the Cabinet Member on the progression of the Community Right to Bid process in North Lincolnshire.

The Community Right to Bid initiative allowed local community groups or parish councils to nominate buildings or land for listing as Assets of Community Value under the Community Right to Bid initiative.

For a local group to successfully nominate an asset it would have to show that:

 it was based within the local authority area (or a neighbouring authority); and

 it was a group that was qualified to make a nomination.

Listed assets must either improve, or had recently improved, the community’s social wellbeing or social interest. They must also be likely of doing so in the future.

The Nominations Register set out the progress made for each nomination from the date it was received through to the listing review, as applicable. The Nominations Register was appended to the report.

Resolved – That the latest information held within the Nominations Register be noted.

16 (16) APAPTED ACCOMMODATION PILOT – The Director of Places submitted a report setting out a proposal for an adapted accommodation pilot to provide new homes for clients who required a major property adaptation.

There was a growing demand for adaptations to residential property funded via Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG). This was due to the impacts of an ageing population, longer life expectancy of people with disabilities and an expectation that people would be able to remain in their homes for longer with or without the support of specialist care services. Each year the number of applications for major property adaptations such as two storey extensions was increasing.

The council received a set amount of mandatory funding each year towards the provision of DFGs from the Government as part of its statutory duty. The funding grant was now received as part of the Better Care Fund (BCF) that was introduced via the Care Act 2014 as part of a £220m national allocation.

The council approved a discretionary amount of supplementary funding towards DFGs as a top-up for projects that exceed the mandatory cost threshold of £30,000.

A DFG grant helped towards the cost of adapting a home to enable a disabled person of any age to continue living there. A DFG was carried out following a recommendation by an Occupational Therapist that adaptations were “necessary and appropriate” to meet the needs of the occupant. An assessment was then completed to ensure that it was “reasonable and practicable” to carry out the relevant works having regard to the age and condition of the dwelling.

The report and accompanying appendices gave full details, including financial implications, of the proposed pilot project.

Resolved – (a) That option 1, including the lease of the three council sites with provision for one unit per site to North Lincolnshire Homes for 65 years on a peppercorn rent, as set out in paragraph 2.17 of the report, be approved; (b) that investment by the council of £15,000 per new unit into the pilot project, subject to the appropriate nomination rights being provided to the council by way of a legal agreement, be approved; (c) that North Lincolnshire Homes’ Homes and Communities Agency bid for specialist accommodation for resident with disabilities, be supported, and (d) that regular update reports on progress with the project, be received.

17 (17) STRATEGIC HOUSING MARKET ASSESSMENT – The Director of Places submitted a report which set out a proposal for a fully updated Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), in order to meet the council’s requirement to have a clear understanding of housing need in the area.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) stated that local planning authorities should have a clear understanding of housing needs in their area. Paragraph 159 stated that local planning authorities should prepare a SHMA to assess their full housing needs, working with neighbouring authorities where housing market areas cross administrative boundaries.

The NPPF specified that a SHMA should identify the scale and mix of housing and the range of tenures that the local population were likely to need over the plan period which:

  •  met household and population projections, taking account of migration and demographic change;
  •  addressed the need for all types of housing, including affordable housing and the needs of different groups in the community (such as, but not limited  to, families with children, older people, people with disabilities, service families and people wishing to build their own homes);and
  •  catered for housing demand and the scale of housing supply necessary to meet this demand.

The purpose of a SHMA was to establish the housing need through a comprehensive understanding of what was required to address demographic change, taking into account an area’s achievable economic potential. The SHMA was primarily an analytical examination of current and future housing market conditions.

The report gave full details of methodology and the time table for the production of the SHMA.

Resolved – (a) That the production of a Strategic Housing Market Assessment using the methodology set out in the report, be approved, (b) that regular reports on progress with the production of the SHMA be received by the Cabinet Member.

18 (18) ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROJECTS 2015/16 – The Director of Places submitted a report outlining the current projects and targeted help for energy efficiency and affordable warmth assistance available for North Lincolnshire residents during the current financial year.

Nationally there were a number of funding opportunities available in this financial year to secure money to target fuel poverty.

Submissions to a number of schemes, in partnership with North East Lincolnshire and others have been made, to secure money for North Lincolnshire. The aim was to help residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes, reduce the cost of keeping warm and improve their health by living in a warmer home.

The report and accompanying appendices outlined a summary of the main targeted schemes.

Resolved – That the report and accompanying appendices be noted.

19 (19) HOUSING ADVICE AND HOMELESSNESS – PERFORMANCE UPDATE – The Director of Places submitted a report providing an in-depth analysis of the performance of the Housing Advice Team over the last three years.

The report provided an in depth analysis of the prevention work undertaken by the Housing Advice Team following on from the performance report presented in June. The June report gave the results for the three main performance indicators of homelessness acceptances, homelessness preventions and the number of new contacts to the service.

For the purpose of the report, homeless prevention meant providing people with the ways and means to address their housing and other needs to avoid becoming homeless. This was achieved by either helping people at risk of losing their home to stay put, or when this was not possible, alternative accommodation was sought.

Overall, the number of contacts to the team continued to increase. Around 50% of clients contacted the service again on at least one occasion, either to provide additional information or to seek further help.

The report and attached appendices gave full details of the work undertaken by the Housing Advice Team over the last three years.

Resolved – That the Housing Advice and Homelessness performance report, be noted.

The corresponding report of the following item (Minute 20 refers) contains exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

20 (20) 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