Cabinet reports appended for information.
The Committee received a report and presentation providing an update on the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan.
From the update the Committee were provided with a summary of Gateshead’s Housing Strategy and an overview of the Health & Wellbeing Strategy to illustrate how the Housing Delivery action plan feeds into each. It was highlighted that the strategic aims of the plan are to:
• Promote the delivery of a range of homes
• Develop more affordable homes
• Enable independent living
• Regenerate places
• Build partnerships
An overview of workstreams was also presented, these were:
It was also explained that quarterly reports would be presented to the Council’s senior management group, Portfolio, Strategic Housing Board and Cabinet. It was also confirmed that there would be ward member briefings on progress being made.
The Committee questioned what steps the Council are taking to engage with property developers. It was noted that there is a development framework for sites. It was also explained that the Council can offer developers incentives such as permissions in principle to build or grant funding to make improvements to existing sites. It was further noted that the Council conduct soft-market testing with developers.
The Committee expressed frustration at the delays witnessed in having some vacant sites redeveloped; a comment was made stating that vacant sites can attract anti-social behaviour and fly tipping. It was acknowledged that some sites have been vacant for longer than the Council would want; the Committee were advised that progress is being made, it was also noted that the business plan for the joint venture is to be reviewed. The Committee also expressed the need to build new housing in light of the current cost-of-living crisis, a comment was made suggesting that many private sector tenants would be turning to social/Council housing due to increased rents and evictions.
A further question was asked regarding developments at Dunston Hill; it was reported that a masterplan has been drawn up for the site that is awaiting developer agreement. The Committee were advised that new housing is important to the Council in terms of new homes bonuses and increased council tax revenues.
The Committee discussed the delays in developments at Gateshead High Street. A comment was made noting that works here seem to have stalled and that many of the empty properties could be put to temporary use. Officers advised that the project manager for the High Street would be providing timeframes before Christmas; it was also noted that discussions with Homes England are to take place soon.
The Committee raised the issue surrounding the use of Section 106; it was agreed that an update on Section 106 would be provided at the next meeting.
(i) The Committee noted the update.
(ii) The Committee requested a report on Section 106 at the next meeting.