Report of the Head of Economic Growth and Housing
The Cabinet considered the report of the Head of Economic Growth and Housing in relation to the proposal associated with Sefton Council re-entering the social housing market through the provision of Council housing for rent. The report set out the plan in achieving the proposal.
The Leader of the Council highlighted the milestone that had been achieved in the proposals of Sefton Council re-entering the social housing market and the benefits that this would create for both Sefton Council and it’s residents.
The Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, Councillor Hardy referred to all the hard work that had been undertaken by Officers and Members to achieve the aspiration of Sefton Council in re-entering the social housing market and thanked Officers for all their hard work in what was an exciting and historical moment for Sefton Council.
Decision Made: That:
(1) the strategic case for Sefton Council re-entering the social housing market through the provision of council housing for rent as set out in the report, be agreed;
(2) authority be granted to negotiate the terms to acquire one block, comprising nine apartments, as the start of its future stock of council housing from Sandway Homes, as part of Sandway’s development at Buckley Hill Lane Netherton, be agreed;
(3) approval to register Sefton Council with the Regulator of Social Housing as a social housing provider, be agreed;
(4) authority to apply to Homes England to become an Investment Partner, be agreed;
(5) officers be instructed to develop a Business Plan for council housing provision which sets out greater detail for the operational requirements, including financial modelling and management arrangements, be agreed;
(6) authority be granted to pursue the procurement of a suitable housing association to provide the required housing management services, and delegate authority to the Head of Economic Growth and Housing in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Communities & Housing to appoint a management agent;
(7) the procurement and appointment of suitable consultant(s) to assist undertake associated tasks set out in this report and arising from the recommendations in this report, be agreed. The costs will be met from within the existing budget for the Economic Growth and Housing Service. The appointment of the consultants be delegated to the Head of Economic Growth and Housing in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, be agreed; and
(8) note that a further report will be submitted to Cabinet setting out the terms to acquire the council housing stock from Sandway Homes, and which sets out the Business Plan and proposed operational arrangements.
Reason for the Decisions:
to pursue the actions and recommendations set out in this report to Cabinet approval.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected:
The Council could opt not to provide council housing, but this would limit the opportunity to increase the pace and scale of (affordable) housing delivery. It would also rely on Housing Associations to be the primary provider of social housing. While the provision of HA Affordable Rent housing is generally welcomed, provision of council housing can offer a complimentary alternative which can maximise the use of available and ringfenced resources.