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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room B12. View directions

Items
No. Item

10.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

11.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest from Members including the terms of any Grant(s) of Dispensation by the Audit Board or Managing Director.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

12.

Confirmation of the minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Housing Board held on 10 July 2019 and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 359 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Housing Board held on 10th July 2019 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

The Chairman noted that the Board had discussed identifying different categories of housing customers and segmentation along with the possibility of establishing a draft work plan to give direction to the Board’s work. The Strategic Director (External Services) explained that it was important to discuss the segmentation that had been identified and to agree the approach towards this before determining a work programme.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Housing Board held on 10 July 2019 be confirmed as an accurate record.

13.

Urgent Items

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

14.

References from Other Committees

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

15.

Strategic Housing Board Client Groups and Definitions pdf icon PDF 207 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Housing explained that he had used the list of client target groups provided by the Chairman as a starting point in drawing up the target group segmentation for agreement. He noted that some of the groups overlapped and blurred with other categories.

 

The Chairman explained that he wanted to create a mosaic of customer groups,  whittled down to a manageable and realistic list to produce a gant chart whereby the x axis would form the different categories of housing target groups and the y axis would describe the circumstances of the various client groups. His aspiration was to create a tool that could be used by each client to establish precisely where they were positioned in terms of obtaining the different categories of housing tenure in the local Dartford housing economy and thereby what options were available to them. As an example the levels of household income that would be needed to purchase a 2, 3 or 4 bedroomed property or the levels of income needed to rent those properties. To do this it was important to agree the categories and different sets of circumstances that could apply as clearly as possible and then to identify any issues to be resolved.

 

The Vice-Chairman said that this seemed a sensible approach but that he was concerned that the categories currently listed in the report tended to focus on the Council’s housing categorisations and that the role of the Board was much wider. The Board should be focussing on the housing economy including the private sector and the specific needs of other client groups such as families going through the trauma of marital break-up or seeking executive homes and thinking outside the box. It was as much about the needs of those employed in different vocations as those in social need.

 

The Chairman explained that his original list had done this but tended to focus on the categories of people which the Council dealt with directly. The Head of Housing explained that these other groups were reflected in the categorisation  so that those on benefits or equity rich groups were also included but were not identified as separate categories.

 

The Vice-Chairman suggested that once the list of categories had been agreed these should be supported by a short paragraph on each one to clarify the categorisation. The Chairman felt that these could appear along the y axis of circumstances in his model.

 

A Member raised the particular needs of ex-servicemen who were ending their service careers and had no experience of procuring non-service housing. She wondered whether there was any potential for working through the Armed Forces Covenant to obtain funding from the Ministry of Defence for assistance in finding homes to rent or buy.

 

The Chairman said that he was happy to hold a meeting to ‘brainstorm’ these issues and to bring something back to the next meeting and that this could be developed into a leaflet designed to signpost people to the different sources of information, options  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Affordable Home Ownership Options - Briefing Paper pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Minutes:

The Strategic Housing Board considered a briefing paper which outlined the options available for affordable home ownership including Help-to-Buy products such as shared ownership, the existing Help-to-Buy and the New Help to Buy scheme. It also described innovative housing models such as Build-to-Rent, Co-Living and Community Land Trusts. The eligibility criteria and requirements of each scheme were outlined. The Housing Policy & Development Manager explained that much of this information was already available on the Council’s web site.

 

The Chairman wondered where people generally went to obtain mortgage advice when they were considering a Help-to-Buy equity loan and whether the Council could establish a group of mortgage advisers that people could use rather than one arranged through the developer. It was explained that in many cases this was provided through an independent government sponsored agent or the person seeking advice could go directly to an agent rather than to an adviser supplied by the developer (in which case it was recommended that the customer should operate through a solicitor).

 

The Board also considered options for micro-housing which could be a route into home ownership for first time buyers and could be to a high design specification, although it was noted that this would not meet the Council’s current spatial planning requirements.   The Head of Regeneration said that there was already some interest from developers for Build-to-Rent and although there were no developments in the Borough yet there were a couple of sites that could be of interest to developers. The Head of Housing explained that co-living projects in the UK tended to be organised to meet the needs of vulnerable people and in terms of housing this would require resources and skills that the Council currently didn’t have. Also it was not a popular housing model in this country and there was no established tradition of this form of tenure unlike that in some other countries.

 

The Chairman thanked the Housing Policy & Development Manager for producing an interesting briefing note which would support other work being undertaken by the Board.

17.

Future Work Plan and Next Steps

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (External Services) asked whether the Board wanted to identify particular areas of the local housing economy and to drill down on more specific issues. The Chairman explained that he wanted to focus on matters that the Council could influence and that he didn’t want to emulate the practices of other committees which invited visitors from outside organisations to attend to discuss issues over which the Council had no remit. The Vice-Chairman questioned whether there was a need for a Work Plan given that there was a clear direction of travel which would result in an end product and would have opportunities to input to the Local Plan. The Chairman explained that he wanted to identify key deliverables to demonstrate value for the Dartford housing economy. It was agreed that the Chairman would continue to work on the tableaux of housing categories and circumstances and that the Board would evaluate where it wished to go thereafter.