Agenda and minutes

Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel
Monday, 3rd November, 2014 6.30 pm

Venue: Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE. View directions

Contact: Martin Bradford x 6950 

Items
No. Item

12.

Webcasting

Please note: This meeting may be filmed for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council's internet site - at the start of the meeting the Chair will confirm if all or part of the meeting is being filmed. The images and sound recording may be used for training purposes within the Council.

 

Generally the public seating areas are not filmed. However, by entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and/or training purposes.

 

If you have any queries regarding this, please contact the Scrutiny Support Officer at the meeting.

13.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Carroll and Cllr Marshall

14.

Declarations of Interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:

 

(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

 

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.

 

A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Members’ Register of Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.

 

Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interest are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

None received.

15.

Deputations/ Petitions/ Presentations/ Questions

To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, paragraph 29 of the Council’s constitution.

Minutes:

None received.

16.

Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business.  Late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear.  New items will be dealt with at the end of the agenda.

Minutes:

None received.

17.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To approve minutes of the last meeting held on 30th September 2014.

Minutes:

6.1       A correction was highlighted in paragraph 7.11 from the previous meeting: in line 2 of the removal of TFL and should therefore read: ‘Members of the panel indicated that that transportation responses were often not accurate or in sufficient detail when included in planning reports’.

 

6.2       Further to the above amendment, the minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

18.

Cabinet Q & A

The Cabinet Member for Housing & Regeneration will attend to respond to questions from the panel.

Minutes:

7.1       The Cabinet member for Housing and Regeneration attended and outlined key developments within this portfolio.

 

7.2       In respect of regeneration the Cabinet member noted that:

·                     The next regeneration ambition after Tottenham is the Wood Green area and its surrounds. This programme would be led by the AD for Regeneration and would entail: 

o   1,000 new homes would be delivered at Haringey Heartlands;

o   The local High Street Offer would be assessed;

o   Buildings around Station Road had been acquired to centralise the Council estate.

·                     In respect of the Tottenham Regeneration it was noted that:

o   The final master-plan had been assessed;

o   A people programme was now in operation to support physical development and The Grange was the focus for some of these activities.  A bid had been lodged with central government for £1m to support the community engagement approach to support the Tottenham redevelopment;

o   In respect of the Spurs Stadium, a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) challenge had been lodged in the court though was due to be considered in January 2015;

o   A community engagement exercise had commenced in the Northumberland Park Area to obtain key community principles to guide and inform development in the area.

·                     For Tottenham Hale regeneration plans it was noted that:

o   The Housing Zone bid had been lodged with the Greater London Assembly;

o   A public consultation is being undertaken in the area which would contribute to the development of the local area plan;

o   The new bus station would be complete on the 9th November;

o   Cabinet agreed to dispose of APEX house and redevelopment would commence in 2015/16.

 

7.3       The Cabinet member also highlighted recent key housing developments for the borough:

·         Principles for a new Housing Strategy had been agreed by Cabinet and were not being put out for public consultation;

·         The Council was changing the way that it engages with local Registered Housing Providers, in that 6 local providers would acquire a preferred ‘partner status’

·         The Council had commenced a new house building programme with the first plans agreed by Planning Committee in October;

·         The unification of the Community Housing Service with Homes for Haringey had commenced and most staff and functions had transferred successfully at the end of September 2014

·         It is expected that unification will help to remove service duplication and deliver tangible savings for the housing service;

·         A cross-party panel was being set up to consider the future management of the council housing stock post 2016 when the current management agreement with Homes for Haringey would expire – this would consist of 5 members (4 Lab, 1 Lib Dem) and would be chaired by an independent expert.

 

7.4       The Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration responded to questions from the panel on this portfolio.  The following highlights the key areas of discussion. 

 

7.5       Further to housing unification, the panel noted that Tracie Evans (Chief Operating Officer) is the strategic lead for all housing issues whilst Dan Hawthorn (AD Regeneration) leads on Housing Strategy and Andrew  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

The Unification and Improvement of Housing Services in Haringey pdf icon PDF 297 KB

The unification and improvement of housing services (the transfer of Community Housing Services to Homes for Haringey) is a key priority for the Council.  As one of the six corporate transformation programmes, scrutiny is expected to monitor progress.

 

A report is provided outlining the plans and progress for the unification of housing services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

8.1       The panel noted that the transfer of the Community Housing Service to Homes for Haringey was agreed by Cabinet in March 2014 and would involve approximately 200 staff.  There were five waves to the Housing Unification and Improvement Programme (HUIP), the first being the transfer of staff which was successfully completed on 29th September 2014.  The second phase was the creation of a new local Housing Strategy which would provide the overall strategic framework and direction for the newly unified housing service.

 

8.2       The panel noted that Homes for Haringey management structure was getting to know and understand those teams that had moved over, and that improved working /operational relationships had already been recorded as a result. It was envisaged that unification would result in some significant cost savings in the region of £2.97m to the General Fund (GF) and £3.8m to the HRA by March 2017.

 

8.3       The final phase of the HUIP would assess the best model for the management of the Council housing stock.  The current agreement with HfH will run until 2016, and that a cross party panel will be established to explore future options for the Council beyond this date. The panel would consist of local councillors, tenant’s representatives and chaired by an independent expert.  The panel would consider all the possible options available: retention of the ALMO, winding down HfH, development of an ALMO Plus model, transfer of stock to a RHP, formation of a housing cooperative (etc.). The established panel would also consult with other local authorities and expert opinion in making its recommendation. 

 

8.4       The panel sought clarification as to the position of the Council in respect of the placement of families outside the borough (and more specifically out of London).  The panel noted that temporary accommodation figures for the council were still high and costly and would continue to be challenging as there were limited short term solutions to the high level of demand for housing and the council’s obligations to house those in need. It was noted that the availability of temporary accommodation to the council had reduced as private landlords can obtain greater yields on the open market, and the cost of what was available (nightly rate) had increased.  Funding this was costing the Council approximately £2.5m per annum.

 

8.5       In the context of the above, the panel noted that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find accommodation for people in Haringey. It was noted that a Placement Protocol setting out the temporary accommodation options for local people, using options outside of the Borough, was currently in development, and would be considered by Cabinet for approval in January 2015.

 

8.6       The Chair thanked officers for the report and for attending to respond to member questions.

 

20.

Homes for Haringey pdf icon PDF 185 KB

A report is attached outlining arrangements for contract management and performance monitoring of Homes for Haringey.

 

(Head of Commissioned Services together with the Managing Director of Homes for Haringey).

Minutes:

9.1       The panel noted that monitoring of the contract with Homes for Haringey is undertaken in a number of ways including regular meetings to assess key performance indicators as well as specific meetings for collaborative projects. 

 

9.2       The panel praised the contribution of Homes for Haringey staff in the consultation arrangements for the Tottenham regeneration and development programme, though expressed a concern that this was not undertaken at a cost to front line housing services.

 

9.3       The panel sought clarification as to whether HfH would seek alternative sources of income which could be invested in housing services, such as the payment for parking services and permits.  It was reported that HfH would adopt a common sense approach to this and would identify income streams where these were practical and appropriate.  It was suggested that additional income from reviewing fees and charges for garages and parking could realistically contribute £0.5m to revenue to the service, and this is part of the planning for future budgets.

 

9.4       The Chair thanked officers for the preparation of this report and for responding to member questions.

 

21.

Haringey Housing Strategy pdf icon PDF 108 KB

The approach and key principles for the development of a new Haringey Housing Strategy (2015-2020) were agreed at Cabinet on 14/10/14. 

 

The Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny panel is being consulted as part of the public consultation exercise agreed as part of this strategy development process.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

10.1    The panel received a presentation on the principles and process for agreeing a new housing strategy for Haringey.

 

10.2    Whilst the panel acknowledged that the housing strategy contained the overall strategic framework for the development of housing services it sought clarification of when more detailed sub-strategies and action plans would be published following agreement of the overarching housing strategy (e.g. policy regarding selective licensing of private landlords, older peoples housing strategy, design guides etc).

 

Agreed: The panel requested a list of those sub strategies/ delivery plans that ‘fall’ from the overarching Housing Strategy with their approximate dates for completion/ publication

 

10.3    The panel were concerned that given the level of housing needs in the borough, there was no explicit priority in the strategy at present given to increasing the provision of housing in the social rented sector.  It was noted that this is a draft of the strategy and could yet be included in a final strategy depending on the consultation feedback received. It was noted that there was a manifesto commitment to increase social housing no intention of reducing the level of such stock.  Similarly, given the ambition to create mixed and diverse communities, the council would support the delivery of all tenures of stock where appropriately planned.

 

10.4    The panel discussed the Estate Renewal Programme and the number of affordable shared ownership properties available in these schemes.  There was some discussion as to what constitutes affordable housing and in reality, how affordable these were to local residents, particularly as this may require an income of £60-80k.  The Panel noted that in respect of Love Lane Estate Regeneration all those residents that would be moved would be re-provided within the new build programme at the same site.

 

10.5    In respect of the planned consultation for the Housing Strategy, it was suggested that given the importance of this strategy and its implications for all households (irrespective of tenure) this should include all residents.  In addition, the consultation framework should include Homezone, those on the Housing Register email and should maximise the contacts and networks of local councillors.

 

Agreed: The panel recommended that the consultation framework should be extended so as to reach a wider audience, in particular residents from wider range of tenures, as well as those with specific housing needs and should incorporate the use of: Home Zone, Housing Register email and Haringey People.  The panel also recommended that the networks and contacts of local Councillors should be utilised within the consultation process.

 

10.6    The panel sought clarification as to whether the Council had applied for £60m of funding that was available through the Greater London Assembly for the Care and Support. It was noted that whilst the Council had not applied directly, it had supported the bid of a local RHP.

 

Agreed: The panel will collate its responses to the Haringey Housing Strategy and formally submit these to the consultation and Cabinet member.

 

Agreed:  A report would be provided back to scrutiny as to the outcome  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Haringey Preferred Partnership Agreement pdf icon PDF 105 KB

An update will be provided on the Preferred Partnership Agreement between the Council and a number of local Registered Housing Providers.

Minutes:

11.1    The panel noted that there were in excess of 50 RHPs providing housing services to over 13,000 local households.  RHPs have been and continue to be key partners in the provision of new affordable housing, specialist housing support and other tenures to local residents.  The number of providers however was however challenging for local engagement. As such, the Council was preparing for a more strategic working relationship with six key providers.

 

11.2    An initial invite was circulated to all RHPs and from resulting expressions of interest, a short list of nine was agreed.  Following interview, six preferred partners were agreed which were:

·         Family Mosaic

·         Newlon

·         Notting Hill

·         Sanctuary

·         Circle

·         London and Quadrant

 

11.3    Members were keen to understand what criteria had been used to select RHP preferred partners.  It was understood that those selected were already active in development and the council would seek to build on this.  A number of those selected also had a local presence in Haringey, one had its head office in Tottenham Hale and another had its South Eastern head office in Wood Green.

 

11.4    The panel noted that as there was no legal obligation for RHPs to work with the Council, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was being developed to create a framework for the council and preferred partners to work together.  There will be one MoU for all 6 partners. A dedicated web page would be provided on the council website detailing local arrangements with RHPs and a performance report would be compiled. It was agreed that this performance report would come to Overview & Scrutiny at a future date once in operation:

 

Agreed: Once the Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed between the Council and preferred partners and in operation, a performance report for the RP sector will come to scrutiny.

 

11.5    The panel noted that there were a number of ongoing issues with a few local RHPs which needed to be resolved, which included:

·         Failing to provide local walkabouts with councillors to identify housing management issues;

·         Failure of RHPs to work cooperatively on multi-landlord estates

·         A reluctance to provide houses at social rent despite being funded by central government to do so;

·         A local provider which did not meet CQC standards for some of its supported housing;

·         A provider which had implemented security structures which made residents feel like they were living in a prison.

 

Agreed: Further details of issues with Register Providers highlighted by the panel would be passed to the lead officer for further enquiry (and report back).

 

11.6    The panel were reassured that although the Preferred Partnership Status had been agreed with large RHPs, the Council would continue to work with smaller organisations.  The panel noted that the Council would also encourage larger preferred partners to work in partnership with smaller RHPs to further support the provision of housing services in the borough.  It was noted that HfH already works closely with a number of local RHPs in the provision of housing services and in driving  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Employment and Land Supply pdf icon PDF 176 KB

To note a briefing on employment and land supply (as requested from the previous meeting).

Minutes:

12.1    The panel discussed the briefing that was requested at the last meeting.  The panel noted that the Council was in an evidence gathering stage that would ultimately inform the Economic Development Strategy that will be finalised and considered by Cabinet in the New Year (January 2015).

 

12.2    The panel noted that the GLA had placed clear expectations and targets with the council in the delivery of local jobs and housing.  Given the limitations on local land availability it was suggested that both these objectives were over ambitious and would be challenging for the Council to deliver.  The limitations on local land supply also inevitably created tensions between the two strategic objectives of delivering jobs and homes.

 

12.3    It was apparent that a market led approach would not provide a balanced approach to these issues, as the economic viability of development would currently favour housing because of the returns for this type of development (reflecting current housing demand).  As a result, the council would adopt a site-by-site approach to ensure more balanced range of employment and housing development is attained (informed by Local Plan etc). 

 

12.4    The panel noted that the Council does not want to become a dormitory suburb, where local residents predominantly commute to employment outside the borough, but to create genuinely mixed communities.  To this aim, it was noted that there are certain sectors within the borough which are established which the council may wish to support and encourage further (e.g. clothing manufacturing, food manufacturing). 

 

12.5    The panel were keen to understand how class B1 planning categories (e.g. garage spaces, railway arches etc) could be retained and supported further in the borough, particularly as these provided a platform for growing small businesses and were increasingly the ‘backbone’ of local high streets and shopping centres. It was noted that the council would use local planning policies to support such local areas create such opportunities for local businesses.

 

12.6    It was also noted that the promotion and support of local employment opportunities would complement the councils green agenda in that it would help to create sustainable communities where people could work, shop and enjoy recreational activities locally. It was underlined to the panel that it was an ambition of the council to create such integrated communities and to avoid the creation of artificial housing and employment only zones in the borough.

 

12.7    The panel highlighted that with the development and regeneration plans for the borough there were many opportunities to bring additional employment as well as housing to local residents, in particular the provision of local apprenticeships.  It was suggested that in some cases (e.g. Tottenham Hale) regeneration had delivered more jobs than were previously available on the previous industrial / manufacturing site.

 

12.8    The Chair thanked officers for the preparation of this report and for attending to answer panel questions.

24.

Industrial living pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To note a briefing on the Councils approach to sites for Industrial Living (as requested from previous meeting).

Minutes:

13.1    The panel noted the briefing that was provided by the Planning Service on work that was being undertaken in respect of Industrial Living sites in the borough.

 

25.

Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 261 KB

Brief on work programme including the panel forward plan and the Council wide forward plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

14.1    The panel noted the work programme update and the forward plan of work.  The next meeting would be on the 8th December and dedicated to scrutinising budget proposals set out in the forthcoming Medium Term Financial Plan. Included in the agenda for the 22nd January 2015 were the Asset Management Plan and Community Buildings Review.

 

14.2    The panel discussed progress on its project to look at the role of the council in the delivery of affordable housing, in particular the legal and financial structures available to support such delivery.  A date for the ‘scrutiny in a day’ was still being considered and options would be circulated to the panel.

 

14.3    There were a number of relevant conferences that would be of interest to panel members to support this project work taking place in November and December and the details of these would be circulated to the panel.

 

14.4    A full background report would be circulated to the panel detailing the results of a desk review would also be circulated to the panel ahead of the planned meeting.

26.

Date of future meetings

·         18.30 on 8th December 2014 (Budget Scrutiny)

·         18.30 on 22nd January 2015

·         18.30 on 2nd March 2015