To consider a report on the draft Housing Strategy (Pre-Decision Scrutiny)
The Director for Assets and City Housing introduced a report on the City Housing Strategy. As had been agreed at the previous Panel meeting, when a report had been received on the draft strategy, the full Housing Strategy was now before the Panel for pre-decision scrutiny.
The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy commented that the three key objectives for the 2019-2024 strategy were more and better homes, safe and healthier homes and access to a secure home. The strategy set out how the Council and its partners would drive forward the improvements that had been identified as required over the next 5 years.
The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy remarked that an internal consultation had been conducted, where they had met senior leaders and Managers within the Council and various Leadership Teams. An external consultation had also been completed, this had taken the form of an on-line survey, which was also available in hard copy. In addition, they had been to a variety of forums including the Youth Council, Better Homes Board and the Equality Forum. A significant amount of feedback on the draft strategy had been received. Over 150 responses had been received to the online survey, with 80% of the responses coming from residents. Appendix 2 to the report, circulated with the agenda, provided a summary of the responses received from the consultation and how they had responded to them. They had made some changes and strengthened certain areas as a consequence of the consultation.
A Member of the Panel raised a point about mobility. He wanted to ensure that access was made as easy as possible, as in the past the Local Authority had built on land that was cheap with bad access and poor transport links. The Director for Assets and City Housing confirmed that it was a key part of the planning policy and it was a key part of the affordable housing programme. All of the plans were also subject to approval from the Council’s Planning Committee. As part of the larger regeneration schemes they were also looking at spatial planning for health to ensure there was suitable access for community services such as GPs and medical centres.
A Panel Member praised the Housing team for the work they had been carrying out with rough sleepers in the City. The Council was beating the national trend by reducing the number in the City rather than it increasing.
A Member of the Panel asked how the Housing team were engaging with the third sector to help rough sleepers in the City. The Director for Assets and City Housing confirmed that they had a number of stakeholder forums, and had some commissioning arrangements. The relationships were positive and they were a key part to delivering their services.
There was a discussion about how the Council assisted people to downsize to a house which was more appropriate for their needs.
A Panel Member asked for it to be noted that no points had been raised about development on Greenbelt land during the meeting.
Resolved: That the City Housing Strategy 2019-2024 is submitted to October 2019 Cabinet for adoption.