A report from Sarah Cary, Executive Director Place is attached. (Key decision - reference number 4841)
(Report No: 166)
Councillor Nesil Caliskan (Leader of the Council) introduced the report of the Executive Director – Place (No.166) presenting the Housing and Growth Strategy.
1. That the Housing and Growth Strategy set out the overarching vision and direction of the Council in relation to delivering housing growth and balanced housing markets in Enfield for the benefit of all residents.
2. The key aims of the Strategy as set out in the report which sought to address the housing crisis within the Borough. The last Strategy had been produced in 2012.
3. Members discussed the current housing situation and highlighted the rise in private sector rents in proportion to the average salary and the significant rise in homelessness.
4. That this Strategy was ambitious and sought to increase more and better housing provision in the Borough; to address current inequalities; provide a more balanced housing market; and enable local people to access good quality housing.
5. The five bold ambitions of the Strategy as set out in section 4 of the report and summarised below:
· More affordable homes for local people
· Invest in and be proud of our council homes
· Quality and variety in private housing
· Inclusive placemaking
· Accessible housing pathways and homes for everyone
6. The principles of the Strategy as set out in section 4 of the report. The Strategy set out a new ambitious and radical approach with significant targets to increase the supply of new homes in the Borough. This represented a part of the overall work being introduced by the Council in addressing housing needs including; homelessness services; private sector licensing; housing repairs service; estate regeneration; and partnership working.
7. The Council’s priority regarding the importance of housing provision in the Borough was discussed and highlighted.
8. Members expressed their support for the Strategy and were proud of the progress being made in the provision of safe, secure and affordable homes. The Council had also committed to improving its existing housing and sought to continue to raise standards in housing provision.
9. Questions were invited and a detailed discussion took place. Issues raised included the provision of specialist housing to meet the needs of residents with additional needs to allow them to live independently in their own homes. The measures being taken to improve affordability of housing and how this would help to shape the local housing market. The work being done by the Council to reduce and prevent homelessness. The provision of accessible housing for families and young people with long-term physical needs and the work currently being undertaken in reviewing the Council’s housing allocations priorities. Members were advised of the variety of measures in place and planned.
10. In addition, Members were advised the appropriate housing support services would be based within the community to support residents and respond to areas where high levels of risk were identified. The current issues including a population growth in the Borough; and an increase in the cost of rents and residential housing; and, an increase in homelessness. The requirements of the new London Plan were outlined. The Council would continue to work with its partners and the private sector to seek to increase the supply of affordable housing within the Borough.
11. That the Council would be proactive in seeking to achieve the aims set out in the Strategy.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, that as the Housing and Growth Strategy was not a statutory document, an option considered was to not replace the Council’s existing strategy. However, in the context of the national housing crisis, rising homelessness in Enfield and significantly increased housing targets, it was unlikely that the Council would be able to address the scale of this challenge without a renewed strategy setting out a clear approach to address new challenges and new ambitions.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed to
1. Recommend the approval of the Housing and Growth Strategy to full Council.
2. Delegate authority to the Leader of the Council, as the portfolio holder for new housing supply and regeneration, to approve measurable targets to deliver the strategy.
3. Note that key metrics would also be monitored in the 2020 Corporate Performance report submitted quarterly to Cabinet.
4. Note that the targets would be published as an appendix to the strategy once these had been finalised, with a planned date for publication being April 2020.
Reason: NOTED, the following reasons for the above recommendations:
· Increasing homelessness; a growing private rented sector which in many cases was offering sub-standard accommodation; a growing population and ambitious new housing targets mean that we require a bold new approach to deliver more and better homes in Enfield.
· This new strategy set out the Council’s approach for guiding future housing decisions, giving an overarching vision and guiding principles that would channel efforts across relevant council departments and set out how the Council would work in partnership to achieve the Council’s vision. The strategy provided the opportunity for new ways of working and increased partnership across the Council, with stakeholders and with local people in our communities.
(Key decision – reference number 4841)