Agenda and draft minutes

Strategic Housing Board - Friday 28 January 2022 2.00 pm

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Kite and also on behalf of Jackie Pye and Sonia Collins.


The Board recorded its sadness over the passing of Councillor Ann Allen MBE since its last meeting and noted that the Chairman would be discussing future membership of the Board with the Leader of the Council in due course.


The Chairman welcomed Gus Zogolovitch, Director of Unboxed Homes, who was attending the meeting remotely via Zoom to inform the Board of his experience of the self-build, custom-build and property development with social impact housing market.



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 by the Chief Officer & Director  of Corporate Services.


There were no declarations of interest.


Confirmation of the minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Housing Board held on 13 October 2021 and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 225 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Housing Board held on 13 October 2021 as an accurate record.


The Strategic Housing Board considered the minutes of the meeting held on 13 October 2021.


Under matters arising, the Chairman said that he had contacted Brian Downton to see whether progress had been made over establishing a web site for the panel of local Independent Mortgage Advisors and getting this up and running with a view to linking this to Signpost. He understood that, whilst progress had been made this was taking longer than originally anticipated and was not yet ready to launch. The link would be established once the new web site went live. 





That the minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Housing Board held on 13 October 2021 be confirmed as an accurate record.




Urgent Items


There were no urgent items.


References from Other Committees

There are no references from other committees.


There were no references to from other committees.


Self-build, Custom-build and Property Development with Social Impact

At the invitation of the Chairman, Gus Zogolovitch, from Unboxed Homes, will discuss his experience of the self-build, custom-build and property development with social impact housing market.


The Chairman provided some context about the local housing market in Dartford and explained that there was significant ongoing development across the borough and at Ebbsfleet Garden City. He explained that it had been anticipated that this would have included opportunities for some custom-build and self-build projects but that there had not been much evidence of this having happened. He explained the new build projects being carried out by the Council and the constraints posed by the lack of suitable Council-owned land for development and wondered whether there might be opportunities arising from the custom-build/self-build sector to develop niche sites or how the Council could assist in promoting this in the Borough.


The Board received a presentation from Gus Zogolvitch, Director of Unboxed Homes, on his experience of the self-build, custom-build and property development with social impact housing market (copy appended). Mr Zogolvitch advised the Board of his background as an award winning custom-build and self-build specialist who served on the executive board of the National Custom & Self Build Association and described some of the projects that he had been involved in, including building his own home, and his consultancy work on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and for the London Legacy Development Corporation. He explained the difference between custom-build, where the purchaser customised their own home by buying a serviced plot, a shell or customisable turn-key but didn’t take all of the risk, and Self-Build, where the purchaser took all the decisions and risks, purchasing the plot and building themselves. He explained that custom-build more often took place on a multi plot development whereas self-build was more likely on a single plot development but that sometimes a purchaser would purchase a multi-plot site and sell the plots individually for self-build.


The three main models of delivery for custom-build accounted for around 95% of such projects in the UK. Where the purchaser bought a serviced plot the developer would establish the planning permissions and put the infrastructure and landscaping in place before selling individual plots. Where the purchaser acquired a shell, the developer would build the fabric of the property and the customer would fit out the interior, and where the purchaser bought a customisable turn-key they would be involved in agreeing the specification and design but the developer would carry out the building. Custom and self-build was currently uncommon in the UK but was widely used in many other countries. Custom-build offered many advantages, including faster delivery and take-up, helping to create more cohesive communities and stronger commitment to the area, generally better design and build quality, and more environmentally friendly outcomes. Custom-build created additional demand for housing and speedier outcomes whereas current mainstream house building options did not deliver quickly and were often of limited quality as their construction was profit-driven rather than focussed on quality. Where customers were involved in the design and build decisions they tended to choose better design, materials and delivery and better locations. This meant that custom build communities were better for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Sign Post (Dartford Strategic Housing Mosaic) - Update

The Chairman will provide an oral update on progress on ‘Sign Post’ (Dartford Strategic Housing Mosaic).


The Chairman provided an update on the Sign Post project. He noted that

the Communications Team had promoted Sign Post via Dartford Together and that there would be ongoing promotion to ensure that people were aware of the availability of Sign Post as it evolved and developed.




That progress on the Dartford Signpost be noted.



Council New Build Housing Programme Update pdf icon PDF 124 KB


The Head of Housing presented an update on the Council’s new build housing programme. Since 2012 the Council had developed three sites, within its ownership, providing 86 new homes for local people, all of which were fully occupied. A further four new build sites totalling 32 new housing units had received planning permission. 3 x 1 bedroom bungalows, all wheelchair accessible units, had been completed in August 2021 on the site of the former Mead Crescent depot and new tenants had moved in. However there had been delays to work on other sites due to the national shortage of materials, delays to deliveries and a shortage of labour. Despite this there had been significant progress. The 3 x 3 bedroom houses at the former garage site at Milton Road were now in the final stage of snagging but the 2 x 2 bedroom and 2 x 1 bedroom flats had been delayed due to Highways issues and lack of materials, although these had now been resolved. The homes were now due for completion in March 2022. Kitchens and bathrooms had now been installed and work on floors was in progress on the 4 x 2 bedroom flats and 2 x 1 bedroom flats at the former Keary Road garage site and these flats were also scheduled for completion in March 2022.  As previously reported, work at the former garage site at Gilbert Close had been delayed due to the need for further archaeological investigations and problems with the design of the foundations. The borehole drilling required by Kent County Council had commenced on 10 January 2022 and reptile fencing had been installed and was being monitored, and there was some progress on meeting pre-start planning conditions.  However, at present, there was still no firm date for starting building work.


In addition to new build housing, the Council had, since July 2021, acquired 22 properties on the open market for affordable social housing. The Council had recently purchased a 6 bedroom property for council housing and was hoping to buy a 4 bedroom property in the coming week. The Council had also been successful in negotiating for the acquisition of land at Westgate Road, when this had returned to the market following the Council’s earlier unsuccessful bid, and this was currently at the conveyancing stage, which should be completed by the end of March 2022. The Council would look to design a suitable scheme for affordable housing for this site.


The report also reminded the Board of changes to the regulations governing the pooling of housing receipts, including an increase in the proportion of a replacement home that could be funded from Right-to-Buy receipts from 30% to 40% and an extension to the timeframe for spending the receipts from 3 to 5 years. To date, as a participant in the 1-4-1 scheme the Council had successfully spent £13.9m delivering 86 new homes for local people and a further £6m on the purchase of 22 market properties and land since July 2020.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Update on the Development of a Private Sector Renewal Strategy pdf icon PDF 221 KB


The Head of Housing provided an update on the development of a Private Sector Renewal Strategy (PSRS) following the stock condition survey carried out in 2021. Since then, the Private Sector Housing and Policy and Development teams had made further progress with the development of the PSRS and a draft document was currently being finalised prior to consultation.


The PSRS would address the need for housing renewal in the Dartford area and explain how the Council intended to meet this need. It would build upon the work already carried out in the implementation of the previous renewal strategy, developed in 2009, and set out the Council’s aims for private sector housing renewal from 2022 onwards to ensure that Council resources are targeted at areas that need it most and to assist in tackling fuel poverty.  The PSRS would also set out the types of assistance available to households for housing renewal, such as grants to assist in bringing properties up to a decent standard and help with renewable energy initiatives/works. It was expected that the PSRS would be presented to Cabinet in May 2022, following a formal consultation exercise.




That the Board notes the progress being made on the preparation of the new Private Sector Renewal Strategy.



The Charter for Social Housing - White Paper 2021 - Update pdf icon PDF 319 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Housing presented an update on progress being made in preparation for the proposals contained in the Government’s Charter for Social Housing – White Paper 2021, which reflected some of the biggest changes that the social housing sector was facing in recent years. The Board was reminded of the contents of the White Paper which set out what social housing residents should be able to expect and the obligations of their landlords and expected standards. Although the content of the final charter was unknown, and further information had not been released, the Government was keen for authorities, and the Housing Associations on which it was focussed, to progress this work quickly.


The Housing Service had developed a detailed draft Action Plan to address the actions emanating from the White Paper. The Action Plan followed the themes of the White Paper and was being monitored by a working group of key officers, chaired by the Head of Housing. The working group was meeting regularly to discuss progress, provide assurance that important milestones were mapped and delivered in preparation for the changes being proposed under the White Paper.


The table below detailed achievements already delivered on the seven key themes contained in the White Paper:


To be safe in your home


·     An initial HRA compliance review has been completed with a number of actions identified that will inform a compliance strategy on the safety of the housing stock (i.e. gas servicing, electrical testing, fire safety, lift safety. Asbestos, legionella and water systems).

To know how your landlord is performing


·     A response is being drafted to the Regulator of Social Housing’s consultation on a proposed set of tenant satisfaction measures. 

To have your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly


·     A complaints page on the housing section of the Council’s website has been set up to raise awareness to residents of how to make a complaint and the role of the Housing Ombudsman

·     A new process for logging complaints has been set up for the Housing Service

·     A new process for measuring resident satisfaction with complaint handling has been set up

To have your voice heard by your landlord


·     A resident engagement survey has been drafted to inform a future strategy on resident engagement

·     A review of the ways the Housing Service can assist to address loneliness is nearing completion.

·     A review of the Vulnerable Adults’ Housing Policy, including a review of the support available for vulnerable residents, is nearing completion.





To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in


·     A new Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator post is in the process of being recruited to who will, amongst other duties, be tasked with developing a Domestic Abuse Housing Policy.

To be supported to take your first step into ownership


·     A review has been undertaken to consider how the new Right to Buy receipt flexibilities will be used.


The White Paper was also proposing the introduction of a stronger social housing regulatory regime which moved away from the current co-regulatory approach, whereby  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Date of Next Meeting and Future Items

The next meeting is scheduled to take place at 2.00pm on 13 April 2022.


It was noted that the Board’s next meeting was scheduled to take place at 2.00pm on 13 April 2022.


Due to the Board’s commitment to consider the draft Charter for Social Housing - White Paper 2021 Action Plan, future Board items would potentially support this action.