Agenda item

Second Homes Council Tax Monies for Affordable Housing Scheme in Yaxham (Agenda Item 10)

Report of the Executive Member for Planning and Housing.

Minutes:

The Principal Housing Officer (Strategy and Enabling) sought Cabinet approval for the use of the Second Homes Council Tax monies allocated to Breckland to be spent on a Housing Project in Yaxham for 5 affordable units.

 

The project would deliver a new concept in eco homes called Green Gauge Housing, which would achieve the highest energy efficiency level of excellent.  The system would combine modern methods of construction with sustainable materials. The homes would incorporate renewable energy provisions, thus benefiting the tenant through reduced fuel bills.  Other initiatives included rainwater harvesting with collection to be used for washing machines and toilets.

 

Members welcomed the scheme as it embraced the green agenda and should be the standard of all housing.  Further to this the scheme took account of whole life costing providing housing which would cut future energy costs and water consumption.

 

Two options were made available to Members.  The first option was to agree to allocate the resources against the project which would begin on site immediately and be delivered by summer 2008.  The second option was not to agree the allocation of resources to the project and consider other options for the use of resources; although this course of action would limit the resources available to the project and affect the deliverability of the scheme.

 

The reasons for the recommendation were as follows:

 

(1)         The resources had been sitting with the County Council for 2 years and were at risk of being used for other purposes. The resources had levied in match funding from the Housing Corporation and The Housing Association itself which would be lost if the shortage of funding was not met.

 

(2)         Housing was a strategic priority for the Council and this proposal would meet the housing improvement targets the Council had for the Strategic Housing Function.

 

(3)         The Council had a role to meet the housing needs of its community which had been identified through the Housing Needs survey (2007) and Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2007). There was a shortfall of 964 affordable housing units a year for the next 5 years.

 

(4)         In this particular sub area, which Yaxham fell within, there was a shortfall of 81 units per year for the next 5 years.

 

(5)         The Housing Corporation assessed stringent value for money of schemes when allocating funding; this process took into account a weighting for match funding or free land. This scheme was approved by the Housing Corporation because of the opportunity to maximise a match funding opportunity with the second homes resources. If this funding was not available the Housing Corporation would look to reallocate the grant provided; there was no guarantee this would be reallocated in Breckland.

 

RESOLVED that the use of second homes funding for the delivery of affordable housing in the parish of Yaxham be approved subject to:

 

(a)         a funding agreement being in place between the registered social landlord and Breckland Council detailing full requirements and conditions;

 

(b)         payment of grant to be made once all conditions of the funding agreement had been met;

 

(c)         grant payments be monitored by the grant funding team in Finance; and

 

(d)         other funding being confirmed.

Supporting documents: