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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Contact: John Bardens (02083149976) 

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2017 pdf icon PDF 207 KB

Decision:

Resolved: the Committee agreed the minutes of the last meeting as a true record

2.

Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 201 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Slater is a member of the board of Phoenix Community Housing

 

Councillor Coughlin is a member of the Brockley Tenants’ Co-operative

3.

Responses from Mayor and Cabinet

4.

Models of delivering new housing - evidence session pdf icon PDF 121 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: the committee noted the witnesses’ evidence.

Minutes:

Jeff Endean (Housing Strategy and Programmes Manager) briefly outlined Lewisham Council’s approach to joint venture housing development. The following key points were noted:

 

4.1       The council’s joint venture development in Besson Street is a 50/50 equal partnership between Lewisham Council and a private-sector partner.

 

4.2       The approach at Besson Street is to create a new joint venture company in which the council invests its land and secures matching investment from its partner. The development is funded 50/50 between the council and its partner, and the council benefits from 50% ownership of the final development. Both parties to the joint venture will have the right to buy out the other partner or sell out its interest. 

 

4.3       The Besson Street development is expected to cost around £75m to build. This is one of the main reasons the council wanted to attract a partner. The joint venture approach allows the council to share the development risk with a partner and to benefit from a portion of the development’s profits.

 

4.4       The Besson Street development is expected to provide around £500k a year income.

 

4.5       The development will provide 232 new homes, all of which will be rented. 35% will be let at London “living rent” levels, which are set according to the local median income. The development will also include a GP surgery and office and commercial space.

 

4.6       The allocation of tenancies is expected to work in a similar way to other affordable housing schemes, with priority being given to people who live or work in Lewisham.

 

Nick Porter (Local Government Association, Senior Policy Adviser, Housing, Planning and Homelessness) provided evidence to the committee. The following key points were noted:

 

4.7       The LGA is supporting a number of councils who are considering direct delivery of housing. The drivers for many councils include: generating revenue to reinvest in other services, adding quality and affordable private rented sector housing, and addressing gaps in the market for key workers.

 

4.8       Councils are exploring many different models, including housing companies and joint ventures. The LGA has been funding options appraisals on direct delivery for a number of councils to assess the local landscape and identify the best route for councils to intervene. The suitability of the model ultimately depends on the individual circumstances of the local authority.

 

4.9       For a number of councils considering setting up housing companies, the LGA has recommended taking more time to consider the best route to direct delivery for that particular area. Joint ventures may be more suitable than housing companies for some areas. Some smaller districts, for example, have not had the critical mass for housing companies.

 

4.10    Some councils do come across barriers to direct delivery. The key barriers councils often face are skills and capacity. There are also barriers around change of land use.

 

4.11    Affordable housing means affordable for that area, but it can be problematic to apply a definition of affordable to a housing market which the Government has acknowledged is broken.

 

4.12    London Living  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Homelessness and temporary accommodation pressures pdf icon PDF 458 KB

Decision:

Resolved: the committee noted the update.

Minutes:

Genevieve Macklin (Head of Strategic Housing) introduced the report. The following points were noted:

 

5.1       Lewisham’s homelessness trailblazer project aims to trial the use of predictive analytics to prevent homelessness. It involves data-driven identification of households at risk of homelessness and more targeted upstream intervention/prevention work. The council has more than 45 million rows of data to analyse.

 

5.2       The project has received £985k funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for three years.

 

5.3       As things stand, the council’s homelessness prevention work only starts when someone approaches the council with an eviction notice. One of the main aims of the trailblazer project is to identify common traits among those at risk of homelessness to be able to start prevention work much earlier.

 

5.4       Officers also want to change the council’s approach to homelessness from one based on process to one based on problem solving with more conversational and motivational interview techniques.

 

5.5       Officers will work to ensure that there is consistent messaging across the borough from all partners on the council’s approach to preventing homelessness.

 

5.6       The committee noted its previous in-depth review of mental health and housing and suggested that many of those being evicted and made homeless are people with mental health needs.

 

5.7       The committee noted that more data and intelligence would help with identifying those at risk of homelessness who are experiencing mental ill health.

 

Resolved: the committee noted the update.

6.

Key Housing Issues pdf icon PDF 352 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: the committee noted the report.

Minutes:

Rachel Dunn (Housing Policy and Partnerships Manager) introduced the report. The following points were noted:

 

6.1       The Chair informed the committee that the Sustainable Development Select Committee had written to him, following consideration of an update on fire safety in tall buildings, to express its concern about the lack of information available in relation to some of Lewisham’s registered housing providers. The Sustainable Development Select Committee asked the committee to consider if there are further actions that should be taken to ensure that providers share information.

 

6.2       In response, the committee suggested that officers could write to tenants informing them of the problems the council has had obtaining important fire safety information from their landlord.

 

Resolved: the committee noted the report.

7.

Select Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 186 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: the committee agreed the work programme.

Minutes:

John Bardens (Scrutiny Manager) introduced the report. The following was noted:

7.1       The Scrutiny Manager informed the committee that arrangements were being made to hold the next meeting of the Housing Select Committee at Phoenix Community Housing. This would include a tour beforehand of the new Extra Care housing at Hazelhurst Court.

Resolved: the committee agreed the work programme.

8.

Referrals to Mayor and Cabinet

Minutes:

There were none.