Agenda and minutes

Housing Sub Committee - Monday, 22nd March, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: This meeting will be conducted remotely using video conferenceing software. A link to the live stream is below.

Contact: Emma Fagan, 0191 643 5313  Email: democraticsupport@northtyneside.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

HO24/21

Appointment of Substitute Members

To be notified of the appointment of any Substitute Members.

Minutes:

There were no substitutes reported.

HO25/21

Declarations of Interest

You are invited to declare any registerable and/or non-registerable interests in matters appearing on the agenda, and the nature of that interest.

 

You are also invited to disclose any dispensation in relation to any registerable and/or non-registerable interests that have been granted to you in respect of any matters appearing on the agenda.

 

Please complete the Declarations of Interests card available at the meeting and return it to the Democratic Services Officer before leaving the meeting.

Minutes:

Cllr Matthew Thirlaway declared a non-registerable personal interest in Item 6, Empty Homes Standard, as his father works for North Tyneside Council.

HO26/21

Minutes pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 23 November 2020.

Minutes:

It was agreed that the minutes of the meeting held on 23 November 2020 be confirmed as a correct record.

HO27/21

Affordable Homes Programme pdf icon PDF 547 KB

To receive an update on the delivery of the Affordable Homes Programme.

Minutes:

The sub-committee received a report which provided details of changes to the Affordable Homes Programme and an update on the delivery of affordable homes in 2020/21, along with plans for 2021/22.

 

Members were informed that a policy intention of the Our North Tyneside Plan was to deliver more quality affordable homes.  At a meeting in October 2013, Cabinet set out a commitment to deliver 3,000 affordable homes over the following 10 years.  The programme had been a success to date, with 1650 affordable homes expected to be delivered by the end of 2020/21, including over 500 homes directly delivered by the Authority.  Delivery in the first 7 years of the Affordable Homes Programme was more than double the number of affordable homes delivered in the 10 years prior to the commencement of the programme.

 

Building on the success of the programme and considering the external challenges including the global pandemic, Cabinet, at a meeting in January 2021, approved a report ‘Supporting the Ambition for the Borough through Housing Growth’.  The plan provided an extension to the Affordable Homes Programme to align delivery to the Local Plan in 2032.  The revised plan increased the delivery target from 3,000 homes to 4,000 new homes.  The Cabinet also approved an ambitious 10-year delivery plan for the Council that would see a further 350 new affordable homes directly delivered or empty homes brough back into use and around £50.000m worth of investment.

 

In 2020/21, 90 new affordable homes will have been delivered.  This figure was significantly lower than originally planned, due to delays to delivery caused by the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020.  A full breakdown of the overall delivery programme was appended to the report.  This included the number of houses delivered: directly by the Council; working with registered/care providers; by the North Tyneside Trading Company and via Empty Homes.

 

The sub-committee was informed of the challenges to delivery that were in place.  It was noted that the largest volume of homes within the programme were delivered by private developers who were subject to ever changing market conditions.  The decision on when to bring forward large sites was not within the Authority’s direct control and initial assumptions of when the strategic sites at the Murton Gap and Killingworth Moor had to be reprofiled with the planning application not coming forward as quickly as expected.  Aligning the Affordable Homes Programme to the Local Plan would allow for greater certainty of delivery numbers by developers. 

 

The unprecedented global pandemic had led to construction work halting across the country and there have been delays due to ongoing social distancing requirements on construction sites and problems throughout the supply chain.  Whilst the construction sector had shown considerable resilience to the situation and housing market had rebounded due to pent up demand, it was likely that the economic volatility, high unemployment and continued uncertainty would make it difficult to accurately predict delivery in the short-term.

 

A member of the sub-committee asked the presenting officer how North Tyneside  ...  view the full minutes text for item HO27/21

HO28/21

Empty Homes Standard pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To look at the impact Covid-19 has had on the Empty Homes Standard.

Minutes:

The sub-committee received a presentation which provided an update on the Moving in and Moving out standards and the impact that Covid-19 has had on the standards.

 

The officers had last attended Housing Sub-committee in relation to the Empty Homes Standard on 27 January 2020, when previous reviews of the Empty Homes Standard had been discussed.  A further review took place during February and March 2020 and involved both tenants and Elected Members.  This had involved pre and post inspections of properties and a workshop event to look at data and propose changes going forward.  The sessions had been well attended and well received by those involved.

 

The sub-committee was informed that the review group found during pre-inspections (tenants leaving property) that conditions in properties were poor, they did not meet the Moving Out standard and in some instances still contained the furniture of previous tenants.  Key findings from the post inspections visit (once works had been completed following a tenant leaving) found that the properties met the Moving In standard, repair works had been completed to a good standard and the amount of decoration needed was overwhelming in some properties.  It was also noted that there were too many tenant repairs that needed to be completed when new tenants moved into a property and that these had been missed during the repair works.  It was acknowledged that there would always be some level of new tenant repairs but that more could be picked up and completed prior to a tenant moving in.  Members were informed that repairs to doors and windows, live electrical tests and toilet repairs were the most common new tenant repair jobs.  As part of the review, it was noted that by working more closely with housing management, damage to properties could be identified at an earlier stage if a council officer reports any damage they see when visiting a tenant at their property for any reason.

The review group also looked closely at the paint packs provided by the local authority to tenants when moving into a property.  This was a high cost service that was not always well received by tenants and therefore it was suggested that something different be offered.  The recommendations from the group were to reduce the paint pack offer to support decorating works to be undertaken prior to a tenant moving in.  This included painting of any newly plastered walls and ceilings, painting of new timber (doors and skirting) and the removal or repair of damaged wallpaper.  A further recommendation from the review group was to carry out additional cleaning of communal areas of buildings, to help improve the look and to also identify any necessary repairs.

 

The presentation also included information on the impact that Covid-19 had on the Empty Homes Standard.  It was noted that repair works were suspended on 23rd March 2020 in line with the national lockdown.  This resulted in a backlog of 93 empty properties and the average time to turn around an empty  ...  view the full minutes text for item HO28/21