[Report of the Strategic Director for Planning, Regeneration and Development. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Regeneration.] In line with the provisions of the S106 agreement for the planning permission for 500 White Hart Lane, this report proposes the Council acquires affordable residential properties as part of the development; budget allocation from HRA Stock Acquisitions Reserve and Right to Buy Receipts.
The Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Planning introduced the report which sought authority to acquire the 29 affordable homes at 500 White Hart Lane and also sought delegation to the Director of Regeneration and the s151Officer, after consultation with the Cabinet Member to agree the purchase price and the final terms of the acquisition of these affordable homes.
1. To agree to the future acquisition of 29 affordable homes for housing purposes to be constructed on the Site for a maximum total sum of £5m plus acquisition process costs and that the monies for the purchases shall be from:
a. Housing Revenue Account (“HRA”), including but not limited to the ‘HRA Stock Acquisitions Reserve’ which currently has a budget of £6.4m
b. Right to Buy (“RTB”) capital receipt retained budget
2. To give delegated authority to the Director of Regeneration and the S151 Officer, after consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Planning, to agree the purchase price for each of the properties and the final heads of terms of the acquisition which will be based on the terms of the s106 Agreement found at Appendix 1.
Reasons for decision
Supporting the Council’s housing objectives
The acquisition will increase the Council’s housing stock. Increasing the Council’s housing stock will help address the significant housing demand and housing waiting list in the Borough. Even if some of the properties are used to rehouse Love Lane residents, it will mean that the replacement affordable homes in the High Road West Scheme can be freed up to rehouse residents on the housing waiting list. It will also mean that the Council has a wider variety of unit sizes and typologies, which will provide residents with greater housing choice.
As the Council will be setting the specification of the homes, the Council will have control over the physical quality and performance of the homes. It will also have control over the quality of housing management. All of which support the Housing Strategy objective to drive up the quality of Council homes.
Supporting the High Road West Scheme and responding to residents’ aspirations
By acquiring these homes and ensuring that Love Lane residents have the opportunity to move to them, the Council is increasing Love Lane residents’ rehousing choice and responding to their request for new homes which are owned and managed by the Council.
The costs of acquiring all of the 29 affordable homes will be c.£4.5m. These acquisitions will qualify for the use of retained RTB capital receipts to fund 30% of the cost of the scheme provided they are affordable rented housing. If the Council does not spend the RTB receipts within 3 years of the receipt, the money will be returned to DCLG together with interest. Therefore, acquiring the 29 affordable units at 500 White Hart Lane ensures that the Council can spend RTB receipts on new affordable homes for Haringey.
Alternative options considered
The s106 Agreement for 500 White Hart Lane sets out two options for the affordable homes; the Council acquires the 29 affordable homes, or a Registered Provider (“RP”) acquires the 29 affordable homes.
Officers have considered the implications of a RP acquiring the affordable homes and have chosen not to recommend this option for reasons which are set out below.
If the Council choose not to acquire the properties, the S106 Agreements ensures that the Council would be able to approve the RP and approve the ‘Affordable Housing Scheme’ which sets out the tenure and location of the affordable homes. This provides some comfort regarding the quality of the landlord and the affordable housing which will be delivered.
However, the Council would not have as much control over the tenure, affordability and type of housing products as it would if the Council owned the homes. If an RP acquires these properties, the Council can only exercise its planning controls as the Council does not have a direct contractual agreement with the RP. Council control is important, especially if these homes are used to rehouse Love Lane residents, or residents affected by regeneration schemes as the Council needs to be able to meet its rehousing commitments and be able to flex the tenure to meet the needs of residents.
As an example, the s106 Agreement states that the 29 affordable units will comprise of the following;
· 17 social rent units
· 6 intermediate units
· 6 social rented and/or affordable rented and/or intermediate
It also states that if an RP were to acquire the affordable homes, the last 6 units referred to in the bullet above are likely to be intermediate units.
The number of intermediate properties and the intermediate product type is important in facilitating the rehousing of Love Lane resident leaseholders who will be seeking the most affordable housing product.
Whilst it may be possible for the Council to negotiate with the RP to secure exactly what it wants in terms of tenure, product and affordability it may be that the RP would seek a financial contribution from the Council.
If the Council were to acquire the affordable homes, it would have control over the tenure and products of the intermediate properties and could flex the product to meet the needs of Love Lane residents or other priority need.
 Subject to agreement of a Local Lettings Policy for the 29 affordable homes which prioritises Love Lane residents