Agenda item

Report on the Council’s Housing Delivery Programme

[Report of the Director for Housing, Regeneration and Planning. To  be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal.]


The  report will request  Cabinet’s approval for a number of sites in Haringey to enter  the Council’s delivery programme.


The Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal introduced the report which sought approval to include nine Council-owned sites in the Council housing delivery programme in order that their feasibility and capacity for the delivery of new Council homes can be determined.

The Cabinet Member referred to the relatively restricted levels of Government grant for building Council homes, and the need for the Council to make the best use of land owned by the Council to support this programme. The identified sites would support the Council’s initial programme to deliver a thousand new homes by 2022 and would also enable putting in place a pipeline of sites to support a long-term sustainable programme of Council house building. The Cabinet Member advised that this type of action would become a core part of what the Council did to support the required increases in housing needed to further help the 10,000 households on the Council’s waiting list for a decent affordable home.


In response to questions from Councillors: Chandwani, Palmer, das Neves, Gordon and Cllr Rice the following information was provided by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal:


  • In relation to the sites used by community organisations, set out at paragraph 6.10, there was previous awareness of their potential addition to the Council’s housing development programme. There had been ongoing conversations, over a number of years, before this programme had been initiated and an understanding of their potential for housing site development. The Cabinet Member could not comment on the enthusiasm of the community organisation related site holders for these potential decisions but had no reason to believe that they were not aware and informed of the potential progress with these sites.


  • In relation to consultation, it was important to note that this report initiated the start of the engagement and consultation process with stakeholders and the community. The Cabinet Member gave assurance that this was being undertaken in an open and transparent manner to avoid misunderstandings and ensure residents and community stakeholders were continually aware and involved in plans. This report initiated the conversation with stakeholders and councillors and set out to the public that the Council would be starting consultations.


  • The Cabinet Member explained that, where sites already contained housing, this factor would be included in the feasibility work completed. If it was found that the site was suitable for housing development, there would then still be further consultation with residents and stakeholders. Overall, any decisions relating to demolition would require a section 105 consultation and if it involved building a large number of new homes, then there would need to be an estate ballot.


  • The Cabinet Member was aware that that some ward councillors had not received an email about a meeting on the sites contained in the report but this had been rectified and invites had been sent to councillors in all wards affected since publication of the report. The Cabinet Member was keen to enable councillors and residents to receive information at the same time and was making this available at an early stage.


  • The Cabinet Member highlighted that one of the sites listed at section 6.10 of the report, Reynardson Court, was subject to a previous consultation in 2014 and would need to have renewed consultation. It was not felt prudent to base a future feasibility study on consultation information obtained 6 years ago.


  • The Cabinet Member appreciated the comments on Reyanardson Court and the issue that this block had not received decent homes works in the past. She reiterated that it was important to restart the conversation about the site and had asked to be sent a briefing on this particular block. Correspondence should now have been received by ward councillors about meeting with the Cabinet Member in relation to this site.


  • In response to concerns about the lack of trust that residents in this court had about plans for their homes, the Cabinet Member assured councillors that she was genuine about the use of the word ‘potential’ and any housing development had to be with the agreement of residents. The consultation process which had been followed in the 2014 consultation had indicated overwhelming support for additional homes but there was a need to consider the questions asked at the time of the consultation to help ensure the information was current and reflected the current resident’s views and opinions.


  • In relation to Decent Homes works, although 85% of the Council housing stock met Decent Homes standards, Reynardson Court was in the group of sites which had yet to receive these works.


  • It was clarified that appendix 1, which contained the plans of additional sites, included existing properties within the red line. This was to convey the area on which the developments could take place but did not mean any of the sites in the red line area would necessarily be demolished.


  • In response to the concerns of residents at Reynardson Court about the plans for their homes, the report was clear that the decision being taken, at this meeting, was to consult on the potential sites for addition to the housing delivery programme. In response to the question on demolition of this block, there was no decision in the report on this issue. The Cabinet Member apologised to residents if the report had been misinterpreted. However, she did not believe there to be anything in the report to suggest that the current housing in this site was indicated for demolishment. The report was clear that this is just the first of 3 decision making stages and was just agreeing to go ahead with initial engagement, feasibility study and further consultation. Therefore, residents and councillors would be involved in two of the three stages. The Cabinet Member reiterated that the Cabinet could not legally take a decision, at this meeting, to demolish the court in the absence of a s105 consultation.


  • With regards to the financing of the additional sites for the Council’s Housing Delivery Programme, the February 2019/20 budget report included an expansive Housing Revenue Account business plan which responded to the housing aspirations of the administration. This Business Plan had been further revised and included in the draft budget report considered by Cabinet in December and included resourcing for these additional sites. The final budget report in February would further contain this information.



  1. To agree to add the nine Council-owned sites listed in paragraph 6.9 and shown in Appendix 1 to the Council’s housing development programme in order that their feasibility and capacity for the delivery of new Council homes can be determined.


  1. To note that the potential costs of carrying out the preparatory work up to a Planning Application for each individual site are expected to be within the delegated authority of the Director of Housing, Regeneration and Planning, although the cumulative costs of all these sites would be in excess of this.


  1. To agree to delegate authority to the Director of Housing, Regeneration and Planning, in consultation with Director of Finance, to approve the costs of progressing these nine sites to Planning Application, except where the costs on any individual site exceed the existing delegated authority of the Director.


  1. To note that this is the first of three stages at which Members can take formal decisions in relation to each site in the programme. If any one of these sites is determined to be suitable for housing development, the next stage of formal Member oversight would be at the Planning Sub Committee. Finally, if planning is consented, a detailed report would be brought back to Cabinet for a decision on whether to commit finances to housing development or acquisition on the site.


Reasons for decisions

The Council is committed to delivering a thousand new Council homes at Council rents by May 2022 and this decision is an essential next step in achieving this aim.

The sites listed in paragraph 6.9 have been identified as potentially suitable sites on which to build new Council homes. It is provisionally estimated that these sites may have the potential to deliver up to 380 homes. Each site listed has undergone initial assessment of its potential suitability and capacity for housing development. In order to assess that suitability and capacity further, a range of work now needs to be undertaken in relation to each site. In some cases, this will require the engagement of external contractors.

Alternative options considered

Not to assess these sites for their development potential

The Council has no statutory duty to develop these sites. However, the Council’s has set as its top priority the aim to deliver 1,000 new Council homes by May 2022, and to develop a pipeline of schemes beyond that. It is provisionally estimated that these sites may have potential to deliver up to 380 homes. To exclude them from the development programme would therefore significantly undermine this core ambition, so this option was rejected.

To rely solely on purchasing affordable homes available under s106 agreements, rather than the Council building out its own sites, or to postpone identifying new sites until new funding is announced

The former option would not be acceptable, as purchasing homes from developers, rather than the Council building them itself, means that controls over quality, cost and certainty of delivery are weakened and the new homes would not always be additional affordable homes for the borough. The second option was not pursued because waiting to identify further sites until there is more funding announced could result in the Council not being in a position to put forward a credible bid, which may result in a significantly smaller share of the available funding than it was awarded in the current GLA funding round.



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