Report of the Head of Economic Growth and Housing
The Cabinet considered the report of the Head of Economic Growth and Housing that sought approval to proceed with the acquisition of homes at Buckley Hill Lane, Netherton through the provision of 13 homes for social rent and shared ownership.
(1) the Business Case for the acquisition of 9 homes for social rent and 4 homes for shared ownership from Sandway Homes at the Buckley Hill Lane development in Netherton be agreed and the Council be recommended to approve and financially support as a capital scheme committing the use of Section 106 affordable housing receipts and Historic Right to Buy receipts to fund the purchase;
(2) authority be given to the Head of Economic Growth and Housing in consultation with the Cabinet Member - Communities and Housing and Cabinet Member - Regulatory Compliance and Corporate Services to negotiate and agree the financial terms with Sandway Homes as identified within the Business Case and formally submit an offer to acquire the homes subject to the Council being able to secure grant funding from Homes England to cover the viability gap;
(3) authority be given to the Head of Economic Growth and Housing in consultation with the Cabinet Member - Communities and Housing and Cabinet Member - Regulatory Compliance and Corporate Services to submit a bid to Homes England for capital grant funding through the Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26 supporting the acquisition to cover the viability gap and subject to grant offer to enter into contract with Homes England;
(4) authority be given to the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer to negotiate the contract terms and finalise all associated legal documentation for the purchase and acquisition;
(5) officers be instructed to develop the operational requirements for the new council homes as set out in the Cabinet report and Business Case and delegate authority to the Executive Director - Place in consultation with the Cabinet Member - Communities and Housing to approve the details;
(6) the intention to seek Council approval for a Supplementary Capital Estimate once negotiations have concluded and the overall costs of the scheme are known, be noted; and
(7) the intention to seek Council approval for the net rental income from the scheme, including that received during the initial payback period, is reserved and reinvested into the Council Housing Programme, be noted.
Reasons for the Recommendation(s):
To progress with the delivery of council housing at Buckley Hill Lane through the acquisition of 9 apartments for social rent and 4 houses for shared ownership from Sandway Homes and apply for Homes England Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) 2021-26 grant funding to support the acquisition (Option 3 in the Business Case).
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected: (including any Risk Implications)
Option 1 – Do Nothing, choose not to provide council housing
The Council could choose not to provide council housing at Buckley Hill Lane, however this could limit the opportunity to provide new social housing aimed to meet identified housing need in Netherton and does not align with the strategic case for Council housing delivery. Further, this option would remove the complimentary offer of additional social housing provision thereby relying on Housing Associations to meet housing need.
Option 2 – Acquire 9 apartments for social rent with grant funding
Acquiring 9 homes for social rent would support the Council’s ambition to provide affordable housing to households in housing need in Sefton. Applying for grant funding would enable the scheme to be financially viable to deliver. However, the further 4 shared ownership homes would need to be delivered by another Registered Provider.
Option 3 – Acquire either mix without Homes England grant funding
The Council could proceed with approval for the acquisition of homes at Buckley Hill Lane based on the Business Case but choose not to apply to Homes England for grant funding through the AHP and instead fund solely from its own financial resources. This option is not recommended on the basis that acquisition would not be financially viable for the Council to deliver.