Agenda and minutes

Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel
Monday, 14th September, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: MS Teams

Contact: Dominic O'Brien, Principal Scrutiny Officer, 020 8489 5896, Email: dominic.obrien@haringey.gov.uk 

Note: Use the link on the agenda front sheet or paste the following into your browser: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_ZDZjMTI1M2ItZDM0YS00YTg4LThjZDAtNDhlYTE4ODlhMGMw%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%226ddfa760-8cd5-44a8-8e48-d8ca487731c3%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22d1dc05de-ecbd-4e6c-b7b3-3a52b6175baf%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

FILMING AT MEETINGS

Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on. 

 

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.

 

The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members noted that the meeting was being streamed live on the Council’s website.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Bob Hare.


Apologies for lateness were received from Cllr Daniel Stone.

 

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 as noted below).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

 

4.

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 Register of Members’ 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 interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

 

5.

Deputations/Petitions/Presentations/Questions

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

 

6.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 303 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Referring to item 51 (Local Plan) of the minutes of the previous meeting, Cllr Gordon raised a number of matters arising:

·         It had been stated that a Member Working Group would be set up to provide a ‘sounding board’ for developments on the new Local Plan. Asked for an update on this and on the process of reviewing the Local Plan, Rob Krzysowski, Interim AD for Planning, said that the Councillors on this group were the same as those on the Regulatory Committee and Planning sub-Committee because they have had the relevant training. There had been an all-Member briefing on the Local Plan review which will also have various stages of public consultation that will provide opportunities for all Members to feed into. He also confirmed that, through this process, there would be scope to make changes to policies on issues such as the affordable housing percentage and the child yield calculator while operating within national and regional parameters.

·         Asked about the consultation on how funds raised through Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) would be spent, Rob Krzysowski noted that there had been a consultation in Feb/Mar 2020 on the distribution of the neighbourhood CIL. Following that there had been a decision to allocate neighbourhood CIL on projects reflective of a public consultation that took place in 2018. Information on the specific projects is publicly available on the CIL page of the Council’s website. There was unlikely to be a consultation on Round 2 of CIL spend this year as most of the available CIL funds had been spent through Round 1.

 

Asked by Cllr Brabazon for further details about the child yield calculations referred to in his previous answer, Rob Krzysowski said that a previous paper to the Panel on this topic had set out actions which had now been implemented or were on track to being implemented. This included actions to use the updated GLA calculator rather than the older one which had been the source of concern from some Members. This had been actioned the previous summer and the updated calculator was now being used. The Council had also committed to using the most up to date calculator when drafting the new Local Plan. At national level, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Department for Education (DfE) have committed to producing a national child yield calculator. The Council wanted to ensure that this would be appropriate for use in Haringey and had recently had discussions with the Government on this. The Government was not on track with their original timetable to produce the calculator by the end of 2019 but the Council would continue to monitor this.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting on 3rd March 2020 were approved as an accurate record.

 

7.

Cabinet Member Questions - Housing and Estate Renewal

An opportunity to question the Cabinet Member for Housing & Estate Renewal, Cllr Emine Ibrahim, on developments within her portfolio.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Emine Ibrahim, Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal, responded to questions from the Panel on issues relating to her portfolio:

  • Cllr Gordon asked for further details about the purchase of 29 homes at 500 White Hart Lane. Cllr Ibrahim said that this related to a Cabinet decision made some time ago and that, of the 29 homes, 6 of them were always going to be shared ownership properties, so only 23 of them were counted towards the Council’s housing target. Her understanding was that this purchase was funded through the Housing Revenue Account (HRA). A proposal to allow leaseholders from the Love Lane estate to be offered the first opportunity to purchase the shared ownership properties would shortly be considered by the Cabinet. However, the tenure of these 6 properties had not been changed as their shared ownership status had been determined by a Cabinet decision made quite some time previously. Cllr Ibrahim said that she would provide details to the Panel of the date that this decision had previously been made. (ACTION) Asked by Cllr Gordon why these 6 homes, which would end up in the private sector, were being paid for through the HRA, Cllr Ibrahim said that the leaseholders would need to purchase their share of the equity so the Council would get the money back for any share of the properties obtained by the leaseholders.
  • Cllr Brabazon said that, according to the original Council report on 500 White Hart Lane, the total cost of the Council’s purchase of the 29 properties was approximately £4.5m, which averages out at around £150,000 per property. Asked if this was accurate and at what price they would now be valued at, Cllr Ibrahim said that she would need to refer to the relevant Cabinet reports for the exact figures.
  • Cllr Say asked for reassurance that there was a procedure in place for the naming of buildings. Cllr Ibrahim said that there is a planning policy and procedure in place which is followed for such matters.
  • Cllr Moyeed asked for details about work to support rough sleepers in the Borough during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Cllr Ibrahim said that she was proud of the work that had been done in this area, with the Council having met the Government’s “Everybody In’ challenge of accommodating all rough sleepers, including those who would not usually have been found to be in priority need. The Council had also developed a Rough Sleeping Discretion Policy to provide support to people who are not covered by the Council’s existing statutory duty, including those who are not eligible for housing assistance due to their immigration status, even after the Government has reverted back to its previous guidance in this area. 
  • Asked by Cllr Moyeed about the Council’s commitment to social rented properties, Cllr Ibrahim said that she and the Council remain strongly committed to social rented properties as they are the most affordable and secure type of tenure.
  • Cllr Brabazon asked about a letter from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Impact of Covid-19 on housing development pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To provide an update on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on housing development, including the Housing Delivery Programme and major redevelopment projects in the Borough.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Robbie Erbmann, Assistant Director for Housing, introduced a report about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Council’s Housing Delivery Programme.

He said that the Council had previously committed to a very ambitious programme of delivering 1,000 Council housing completions by 2022 and that, in order to meet that target, it would have been necessary for everything to go right. However, the onset of the pandemic had adversely impacted on the programme in a number of ways including:

  • Illnesses to a number of key staff;
  • Migrating various procedures online from scratch;
  • Reductions to availability within the supply chain;
  • Suspension of construction work on a number of active sites;
  • A significant shortage of building materials such as plaster;
  • An exacerbation of labour market shortages;
  • A reduction to the speed of construction work on site to around 60-70% due to social distancing;

 

The latest estimate was that the Council would achieve at least 1,000 ‘starts’ by March 2022 and around 800 completions by May 2023. It may now not be possible to reach 1,000 completions until 2024. However, it was not yet known what the impact of a possible second wave of Covid-19 would have on this timetable.

 

Robbie Erbmann and Peter O’Brien responded to questions from the Panel as follows:

  • Asked by Cllr Barnes about whether the ambitious housing target was realistic and whether the impact of Brexit had been factored in to the revised timetable, Robbie Erbmann said that the target was necessarily ambitious and had mobilised resources but that everything would have needed to go right to meet it. He added that the current impact from Brexit is factored into the plans though there is a wide degree of uncertainty over that impact which would need to be closely monitored.
  • Asked by Cllr Gordon whether there was a robust and transparent system of project management of the projects within the Housing Delivery Programme, Robbie Erbmann said the Council had a number of experienced project managers from the local government and housing associations sectors leading the projects. There was a team of 18 with more being recruited to help deliver the projects and he was confident that the skills and the systems required to deliver the programme was in place. He added that they had looked at two points arising from an audit that had been carried out earlier in the year on reporting and on financial management. A new system of software had been introduced and embedded into the management processes along with a new reporting system. Cllr Gordon queried comments made in the auditor’s report which could only give limited assurance that there had been the appropriate monitoring procedures in place due to the speed of the programme. Robbie Erbmann said that the report had identified areas for improvement, all of which had been actioned.
  • Asked by Cllr Gordon for an update about the delivery of new homes at Broadwater Farm, Peter O’Brien reported that architects and viability consultants had recently been appointed and more detailed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Homelessness update pdf icon PDF 233 KB

To provide an update on the response of the Council and key partners to homelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Robbie Erbmann, Assistant Director for Housing, introduced a report about the Council’s approach to rough sleeping since March 2020. Due to concerns about the significant risk that rough sleepers could be at as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) made a request to local authorities to accommodate anyone who was, or who was at risk of, rough sleeping. This became known as the “Everybody In” directive and the Council had worked with Homes for Haringey (HfH) and partners across the Borough to deliver this. Since March 2020 the Council had provided accommodation for over 700 individuals, only around 50 of which would have been considered to be in priority need. This peaked at around 400 people at any one time. As well as providing accommodation, the Council also provided wrap-around support services and so this had provided an opportunity to get people who had been rough sleeping for a long time into support programmes. About 400 of the people that had been accommodated had now found a long-term solution either through the help provided by the Council or by making their own arrangements.

 

As the Government funding for this policy began to be reduced, the Council introduced a Rough Sleeping Discretion Policy which ensures that anyone at risk with vulnerabilities to Covid would be accommodated. This was more generous that the statutory policy that was followed previously.

 

Around 235 individuals were now being accommodated and the Council was in the process of trying to find longer-term solutions for these people. One initiative towards this is the Ermine Road Modular Project which would involve acquiring 39 modular housing units. These are self-contained homes with their own bathrooms, kitchens and living areas brought together with multi-disciplinary support services.

In addition to rough sleepers there were also around 3,100 households in Haringey in temporary accommodation. The number of families approaching the Council as homeless had reduced by around 34% during the pandemic due to the temporary ban on evictions, though this was due to expire on 20th September 2020.

 

Looking to the future, analysis suggested that there could be 2,062 households in Haringey at risk of homelessness, of which 1,452 live in the private rented sector. Of these, around half of these households are families, suggesting that around 700 families could be at risk of homelessness when the ban on evictions is lifted. However, were this to happen, it could be quite a slow process and it was expected that the Council would be able to cope with the demand.

 

Robbie Erbmann and Denise Gandy, Director of Housing Demand at Homes for Haringey (HfH), responded to questions from the Panel as follows:

·         Asked by Cllr Moyeed whether recent events would have helped towards meeting the Council’s existing commitment to end rough sleeping by 2022, Robbie Erbmann said that the work had undoubtedly helped to get people off the streets who had been there for a long time. However,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Work Programme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 297 KB

To discuss items for the work programme for the Panel for 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Moyeed introduced the Scrutiny Panel’s Work Programme for 2020/21 noting that the High Road West scrutiny review had been suspended due to the pandemic but that it was expected to resume later in the year. A number of priority issues for future meetings of the Panel were also included in the Work Programme.

 

Panel Members suggested additional items to be added to the list of priority issues:

  • Maintenance service level agreements. This was suggested by Cllr Barnes who said that there had been incidents where services hadn’t been carried out within a certain period of time resulting in accidents or problems for residents. It was agreed that this should be added to the list of priority issues. (ACTION)
  • An examination of the number of empty homes in the Borough and how this is tracked by the Council. This was suggested by Cllr Gordon and it was agreed that this should be added to the list of priority issues. (ACTION)
  • An update to provide details on how many local residents had taken up offers that were in place with some of the developments in Tottenham Hale to have the first option to purchase properties. This was suggested by Cllr Gordon and it was agreed that this could be raised during the next Question session with the Cabinet Member for Strategic Regeneration. (ACTION)

 

11.

Dates of Future Meetings

Additional documents:

Minutes:

·         Thurs 5th Nov 2020

·         Tues 15th Dec 2020

·         Tues 2nd Mar 2021