Agenda and minutes

Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel
Wednesday, 18th March, 2015 6.30 pm

Contact: Martin Bradford x 6950 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Engert and Cllr Marshall.

2.

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.

3.

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.

4.

Deputations

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

Minutes:

None received.

5.

Community Engagement with Planning pdf icon PDF 284 KB

To receive a 6 month update on the implementation of recommendations of a scrutiny review which was completed in April 2014 and was approved by Cabinet in September 2014.

Minutes:

5.1       The review of Community Engagement with Planning Services was completed in April 2014 and considered by Cabinet in September 2014. The Assistant Director for Planning Services presented an update to the implementation of recommendations that had been agreed by Cabinet.

 

 5.2      It was noted that although the Planning Service had not been successful in its bid to fund 3D modelling software (which would support public understanding of proposed developments), it was hoped that this tool could still be provided through contributions from developers.  A new IT platform is expected to go live from April 2015, which will support a more developed electronic relationship with planning services.

 

5.3       The Policy Member Advisory Committee was not established to avoid duplication as the Regulatory Committee is fulfilling most of the expected functions.

 

5.4       Members of the panel noted that it was increasingly difficult to contact the Planning Service via telephone.  The panel heard that the department was dealing with an unprecedented increase in workloads with a 15-20% rise in planning applications received.  To assist response, the phones were also being switched through to the Customer Service Centre.

 

5.5       The panel noted that the weekly list of planning applications was still being circulated to all members.  Although this was useful, it was felt that further guidance should be issues to members on how they can respond to planning applications.  It was agreed that an information note would be sent to members.

 

Agreed: That the AD for planning would provide a note to members on how to respond to planning applications.

 

5.6       It was noted that there were inconsistencies in the report templates and styles used by the Planning Service which was confusing. Although a new standardised approach had recently been adopted, it was clear that this was taking time to fully implement.

 

 5.7      Members of the panel questioned how reducing the volume of planning notification letters being sent to adjacent properties would impact on effectiveness of planning consultations.  In response it was noted that this medium generates a very poor response (1%), attracts many complaints (non-receipt), is not auditable (e.g. delivered via Royal Mail) and current distribution levels exceed what is stipulated in the Statement of Community Involvement.  Given this (and in the context of the need for cost savings) alternative consultation methods were being tested and trialled.

 

5.8       The panel noted that in addition to facilitating responses, planning notification letters were also a mechanism to inform the community of proposed development and caution should be exercised in moves to restrict this.  It was noted that with th development of the My-Haringey, local residents would automatically receive notification of planning developments in the locality where they live, or where they specify.

 

6.

Cabinet Q & A

The Cabinet Member for Housing & Regeneration to attend to respond to panel questions within this portfolio.

Minutes:

6.1       The Cabinet member for Housing & Regeneration attended to respond to panel questions within this portfolio.  A summary of the main issues covered in this discussion are presented below.

 

6.2       The Cabinet member reported that there continues to be good progress on housing and regeneration projects with a number of new recent achievements:

 

Regeneration

i) Cabinet has given approval to proceed with High Road West development scheme and decanting has already started.  Existing tenants have visited Brook House (a Newlon Development) and were enthusiastic.

iii) Archway Metals have dropped the planning appeal against the Stadium development, which means Tottenham Hotspur can proceed with CPS’s to progress development;

iv) A bid for £1.3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been successful which will support the development of shop fronts in Tottenham;

v) The area in front of Bruce Grove Station has received funding for improvement;

vii) The Housing Zone bid for Tottenham Hale has been successful, with Haringey receiving the largest allocation of any London authority.  This will enable the creation of an addition 1,500 planned for the site.

           

Housing

i) Phase 1 of the Council new build have progress through planning.  The majority of these are social rented properties, with 1 property being set aside for private sale to support development costs.

ii) The panel considering future options for Homes for Haringey is continuing to meet and gather evidence.  It has also undertaken a benchmarking exercise to assess performance against other social housing providers.  A written briefing will go out to members ahead of Purdah with an in-person briefing planned for after the election.      

iii) New Haringey Housing Strategy will be published and consulted upon for a 6 week period after Christmas.

           

6.3       In discussions about the Future of Housing Review (future options for Homes for Haringey) it was noted that all data collected from this work (including benchmarking data) would be published on the council intranet.  The final review report would also be published, which will set out the options for Homes for Haringey to members.

 

6.4       The panel discussed the level of affordable housing within planned developments and the problem in reaching the new target of 40%.  It was noted that viability discussions with developers presented a number of problems, particularly as there was no national planning guidance for to support these.  It was suggested that developers had in some instances, paid too much for the land which meant that this needed to be recouped through private sales.  Whilst some sites fell below the 40% threshold, others attained higher levels (e.g. Brook House was 100% affordable).

 

6.5       The panel noted that the planned development at APEX house would proceed with 40% of units being made available being affordable, though these would be at various discounted levels of market rent (e.g. 50%, 60% and 80% of market rent).  The panel noted that with current level of subsidy there it is difficult to build at 30% of the market rent.

 

6.6       In relation to the planned development at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Tottenham Regeneration pdf icon PDF 241 KB

To receive an update on plans for the Regeneration of Tottenham (corporate programme).

Minutes:

7.1       A report was received on plans for the regeneration of Tottenham.  This report contained a summary of key achievements to date in addition to future project milestones.  The panel noted that this was a 20 year programme and that there were two key documents which outlined the work to regenerate Tottenham both of which were agreed by Cabinet in 2014:

·                     The Strategic Regeneration Framework for Tottenham

·                     Delivery Plan for Tottenham regeneration.

 

7.2       The panel noted the scale of the ambition and the need to invest in a support team to deliver on corporate ambitions.  In accordance with the Medium Term Financial Plan, 4 additional project workers have been recruited to support local area managers.

 

7.3       The panel also noted that it was important that Tottenham Regeneration Team were based in Tottenham, and as a result, the team would be moving to Tottenham (639 High Road) by the end of May 2015.

 

7.4       The Chair thanked officers for the preparation of the report and for attending for this item. Members of the panel

 

8.

Housing Unification and Improvement pdf icon PDF 271 KB

To receive an update on the Housing Unification and Improvement Programme.

Minutes:

8.1       An update was received from a report that was presented earlier to the panel on 3rd November 2014.  It was noted that the corporate programme ‘Housing Unification and Improvement Programme’ had been renamed to ‘Housing Improvement Programme’ to reflect the merger of Homes for Haringey with the Council’s ‘Community Housing Service’.

 

8.2       The panel noted that the ‘Housing Unification and Improvement Programme’ was being implemented in 5 phases:

a)    housing unification;

b)    housing strategy;

c)    housing innovation and transformation;

d)    Align with Customer Service Transformation and Business Improvement Programme;

e)    Future housing delivery.

 

8.3       The panel noted that phase i) and phase ii) will be complete when the housing strategy is published and consulted upon in early summer 2015. Extensive work was being undertaken to review and improve the operation of the service and to streamline business areas.  The panel noted that £9million of savings was needed from this area, £3million of which was from the Housing Revenue Account and £6million from the general Fund.

 

8.4       The panel noted that an interim report, with some initial appraisal of the housing options for Homes for Haringey will be available in May 2015.  It was agreed that this initial options paper may also be presented at a future meeting of the panel in the next municipal year.

 

9.

Selective Licensing

To receive a verbal update on plans to introduce selective licensing in Haringey.

Minutes:

9.1       An update was presented to the panel, further to the successful appeal against the introduction of Selective Licensing in Enfield.  It was noted that the successful appeal in Enfield was the result of an inadequate consultation process (10 weeks instead of 12 weeks) and not in relation to the principles of the proposed scheme.  It was noted that dispersal a likely result, consultation should have been conducted in a wider area.

 

9.2       The panel also noted that there were two additional legislative reforms were expected which would shape and inform the implementation of selective licensing in Haringey. 

 

9.3       A statutory instrument is being prepared which expand the criteria under which councils can set up selective licensing.  To date, selective licensing has been allowed under 2 criteria; prevalence of anti-social behaviour and low housing demand.  Once implemented there will be four additional criteria:

a)    Poor condition of housing

b)    High inward migration

c)    High levels of deprivation

d)    High levels of crime

 

9.4       Although the criteria for which selective licensing may be introduced will expand, the geographical area in which it can be applied will be restricted.  Currently, selective licensing can be introduced borough wide, though new regulations will restrict this to just 20% of the geographical area of the borough (equivalent of about 4 local authority wards).  If local authorities want to introduce of selective licensing in a larger area, this would need to be approved by the Secretary of State to assess the merits of the case.

 

9.5       A consultant had been appointed with specialist selective licensing knowledge to assist the Council in the preparation of its selective licensing application.  The consultant is currently gathering together all the necessary evidence needed to support the application (for example, prevalence and location of poor housing and ASB).  It is expected that an interim report will be available by the end of April 2015 which will set out future options. 

 

9.6       It is expected that a full public consultation on the introduction of selective licensing will take place in autumn 2015.  This consultation will set out clear and precise plans for the scheme (such as the licensing conditions and fees) and the anticipated impact (for example, the expected outcomes and how these will contribute to local strategic priorities).  A final decision would be taken by Cabinet after the consultation had been completed.

 

10.

Council led development

To receive an update on the panel project looking at Council led development.

Minutes:

10.1    An update was provided to the panel on the progress of this project.  It was noted that evidence gathering had been successfully completed with officers working in the following services:

·                     Housing enablement team

·                     Planning Policy

·                     Finance

·                     Legal services.

 

10.2    Evidence gathering with other local authorities had commenced with Hackney, Barking & Dagenham and Ealing all having contributed.  There are plans to consult further authorities and additional evidence gathering sessions are planned for April 2015.  It is expected that a final report will be produced for the first Overview & Scrutiny Committee of the new municipal year.

 

11.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 188 KB

To agree minutes of the last panel meeting held on January 22nd 2015.

Minutes:

11.1    The minutes from the 22nd January were agreed.