Waverley’s Housing Strategy is an action orientated plan with a clear vision and commitment to realising people’s aspirations to be housed. The document is divided in to thirteen sections:
Sections 1, 2 and 3 -Forward
These sections include the Foreword, Executive Summary and Introduction
Section 4 – Wider priorities and partnership working
This section describes the role of housing for Waverley in the context of other Council strategies and plans, as well as the wider regional, sub-regional and national context. This section also describes the Council’s approach to partnership working.
Section 5 – Supply and Demand
This section looks at the current local housing market, supply and demand for housing within the Borough, the profile of housing stock and its condition This section focuses on housing in both the public and private sectors and address the housing needs of a variety of groups.
Section 6 – Housing Stock Condition
This section will look at the condition of the housing stock in the Borough, both affordable and private sector housing. It also focuses on the Councils initiatives for improvements to housing as well as current performance.
Section 7 - Resources
This section looks at how resources are allocated to housing, identifies resources available for future investment and outlines the investment priorities for the lifetime of this strategy.
Sections 8, 9, 10 and 11 – Priorities Options and Action
This section focuses on our priorities for the future, discusses why these priorities were selected while others were discounted and sets out how the strategy will be monitored. The action plan sets out how these priorities will be achieved.
Section 12 and 13 Progress to Date and Appendices
The final section reflects on the Council’s achievements arising from the previous Housing Strategy. A glossary of terms can be found in Appendix 1.
The Borough of Waverley covers an area of 345 square kilometres in southwest Surrey and is the largest district by geographic area in the county. The Borough is predominantly rural; three-quarters of the area is agricultural land and woodland, 61% is Green Belt and 80% is covered by environmental protection policies including the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Waverley is 35 miles from central London and is served by good strategic road and rail links, but has a predominantly rural road network and limited public transport.
Waverley has a population of 115,665 (2001 census), of whom three-quarters live in the Borough's four main settlements; Farnham, Godalming, Haslemere and Cranleigh. The proportion of young people (0-15 years) is 19% and is close to the regional and national averages. The district has 20% of the population above pension age, which is higher than the national figure of 18%. There is higher than average life expectancy in the district compared with regional and national averages. The population of Waverley is estimated to increase by at least 10,000 people by 2026.
The proportion of people from ethnic groups other than 'white British' is 2.6%; this compares with 8.7% for the South East and 13% for England. This is a significantly lower representation than the national average. Because of this relatively low level of ethnic groups in the Borough, the Council is conscious that the needs of these groups are not inadvertently overlooked.
Waverley is a prosperous borough. The local economy includes financial services, agriculture, some manufacturing and service industries, research, the professions and administration. 53% of residents are economically active. Unemployment at less than 1 % is well below the national average.
While many households in Waverley enjoy a comparatively high standard of living there are groups of residents who face considerable disadvantage. This includes individuals with particular needs living in rural areas, older people who find access to services difficult and, most notably, communities in semi-urban areas where there is an accumulation of needs and concerns, particularly relating to families with children and young people. Statistical evidence from, the census data showing the receipt of various benefits and the recent English Indices of Deprivation (2004) has identified areas within the wards of Farnham Upper Hale (Sandy Hill), Godalming Central and Ockford (Ockford, Ridge/Aaron’s Hill) and Godalming, Binscombe as having the most significant concerns. There are also a number of smaller pockets with a similar profile, for example the Chantrys (Farnham Castle).
Waverley is an area of high house prices with first time buyer accommodation and affordable housing in short supply.
4. Wider Priorities and Partnership Working
This section sets out the National, Regional and Local policy framework through which housing provision is influenced and is an important context for Waverley as it strives to secure additional affordable housing locally.
4.1 National Context
Sustainable Communities; Homes For All (2005)
This five year national plan sets out the Government’s housing strategy and contains targets for a number of key priorities which affect Waverley Borough Council. This includes housing supply, the planning system, social inclusion and achieving decent homes for all. The Plan established Regional Housing Boards, which decide how funding is distributed at a regional level. For more information, please go to http://www.odpm.gov.uk
The Housing Act 2004
Reforms arising from the Act include changes to the Right To Buy regime, which the Government believes will help to safeguard the supply of affordable housing in Waverley. The Act also provides the Council with additional tools to tackle anti-social behaviour. Other provisions included are the licensing of private landlords and Houses in Multiple Occupation and introduction of home information packs aimed at simplifying the buying and selling of property. More information about the Act can be found at http://www.hmso.gov.uk
The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004
Officers in housing and planning work together very closely to facilitate the development of affordable housing. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires all local authorities to produce a Local Development Framework (LDF). The Act also replaces regional planning guidance with regional spatial strategies, involves the community at an early stage in the planning process and makes revisions to the appeals process. Further details of the Act can be found at http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk
Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA)
All Councils in the country are subject to Audit Commission CPA inspections in order to help councils improve services for their communities. CPA looks at how well the council delivers its services and considers how well the council is run. Waverley received a ‘good’ rating following an inspection of the Council in April 2004 The Council was also reported to have made good progress on the provision of affordable housing, which is a key issue facing all districts in Surrey. The full CPA report and further information about the CPA process is available from the Corporate Development Officer on (01483) 523148 or on our website at http://www.waverley.gov.uk
4.2 Regional Context
The Communities Plan - Sustainable Communities in the South East
Waverley understands the priorities contained within the Southeast version of the Communities Plan, which include initiatives to improve the supply of housing and make housing more affordable. House prices in Waverley are very high, which has resulted in many local people being unable to purchase a home in the Borough. Sustainable Communities in the South East aims to counteract this by building more homes, making better use of land and developing more cost effective building methods. A full copy of the plan can be downloaded from www.odpm.gov.uk
South East Regional Housing Strategy 2006-2008
With house prices and rents in the region beyond the reach of many people on average incomes, the South East Regional Housing Strategy sets out priorities for investment in the region and a framework for allocating resources. Waverley has contributed to the development of the Regional Housing Strategy through a range of forums at both officer and member level. We raised the need to increase the level of Housing Corporation subsidy towards rented accommodation, a locally prescribed definition of what constitutes a ‘Key Worker’ and demonstrating that the Borough is an area of high housing need, due to high income to house price ratios. Many of these issues fed back during the consultation period have been represented in the final regional strategy. The South East Regional Housing Strategy divides the South East region into 21 sub regional housing markets and Waverley is split between 2 regions. One is the Blackwater Valley sub-region, (which includes Farnham) and the Guildford and Woking sub-region, (which includes the remainder of Waverley).
The South East Regional Housing Strategy highlights 3 key areas of concern:
· The supply of affordable housing in the region.
· The general condition of housing stock in the region
· That vulnerable people are living in unfit or non-decent homes.
All of these issues are addressed at a local level within Waverley’s Housing Strategy.
Surrey Supporting People Strategy 2004-2009
People at risk of violence, young people and care leavers, people with multiple and complex needs, frail elderly people and people with learning difficulties are designated as being in priority need within Surrey. These priorities are largely replicated at Borough level.
4.3 Local Context
Waverley Corporate Plan 2005/06
The Corporate Plan was developed in response to the CPA inspection carried out in 2004, in order to set out the vision, aims and objectives for the Council and identify key priorities. The vision of Waverley Borough Council is to enhance the quality of life in Waverley, now and for the future, through strong local leadership and customer-focused service.
In order to achieve this vision, one of the aims of the Corporate Plan is to deliver good quality local housing.
Housing Targets set for 2005/06 include:
· To work with our partners to deliver affordable housing and identify new opportunities
· To update the Housing Needs Survey
· To promote affordable housing on the East Street development
· To enable 15 households to access home ownership through a Do It Yourself Shared Ownership Scheme (in partnership with Thames Valley Housing Association)
· Work with partners to promote and deliver 15 units of affordable housing for Key Workers (in partnership with Thames Valley Housing Association)
4.4 Waverley: Working in Partnership
This section provides some examples of how Waverley Borough Council works in partnership with other organisations and stakeholders in the development and provision of housing and support services.
Surrey Community Development Trust - Simmonds Court, Farnham
Simmonds Court provides accommodation for 13 single homeless people with support needs. This was developed with capital funding from Waverley, Rushmoor and Hart Councils, the Housing Corporation and revenue funding from the Surrey Supporting People team. First Base for the Homeless (a local voluntary organisation) has also provided significant financial input to this scheme.
The Economics of Social Housing (Knight Frank Study)
The 11 Surrey Local Authorities, jointly commissioned Knight Frank to undertake an assessment of the economics of affordable housing provision in the county.
Key recommendations included the creation of a countywide forum to establish standard Section 106 Agreements, ring fencing commuted sums to support future provision and continued liaison with the Housing Corporation and Regional Housing Board to provide clarity and certainty to developers.
A full version of the study can be downloaded from www.surreycc.gov.uk
Rural Housing Schemes
101 new homes in villages have been provided over the last 12 years and have been developed in partnership with Parish Council’s, the Rural Housing Trust, and Housing Associations. Villages where rural housing has been developed specifically for local people include Alfold, Bramley, Chiddingfold, Dunsfold, Ewhurst, Hambledon, Milford and Wormley. Currently Wyphurst Road in Cranleigh is being developed which is a major exception to planning policy.
Private Sector Landlords Forum
The Boroughs of Guildford, Waverley and Woking have jointly established a Private Sector Landlords Forum, which aims to provide advice, information and support to local landlords and letting agents. Recent meetings have discussed issues including Assured Shorthold Tenancies, Housing Act 2004, Houses in Multiple Occupation and Accreditation & Training. The Forum has helped build strong relationships with private landlords and the Council. Better access to the private rented sector has helped Waverley reduce homelessness and the use of temporary accommodation.
Blackwater Valley Housing Network
The Blackwater Valley Network was formed in 1996, and acts as a formal partnership between nine local authorities covering the area known as the Blackwater Valley.
Partners include Hampshire and Surrey County Councils, Bracknell Forest and Wokingham Unitary Councils and Guildford, Hart, Rushmoor, Surrey Heath and Waverley Districts. The area includes the larger towns of Aldershot, Camberley, Farnham, Farnborough and Fleet, together with several smaller settlements, including Ash, Ash Vale and Tongham in the Borough of Guildford. The partnership works together on issues including land use, environment, transport and the economy affecting the Blackwater Valley. It has a particular interest in the impact of major development such as the Aldershot Urban Extension.
Following affordable housing negotiations on the Farnham Hospital site, the Council worked with its health service colleagues to secure 40% affordable housing. This 40% quota is 10% above the Government’s 30% target. In the spirit of the Local Strategic Partnership, the increased affordable homes element is to help address the needs of Key Workers. Half of the affordable homes allocation will be designated to Key Worker accommodation for health service staff in the first instance and the remainder will be nominated from the Council’s housing register.
Choice Based Lettings
The Council is currently working with the Guildford, Rushmoor Council and Hart Councils; to develop a choice based lettings system for Waverley. This partnership was successful in attracting a grant of £100,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government to support this initiative. Waverley hopes to implement its choice based letting scheme in 2007
Housing and Planning
Housing staff provide colleagues in planning with a clear view on tenure mix and unit sizes required on all new applications in the context of local demand and supply before signposting developers to Registered Social Landlords. The Housing Department plays an active role in the development of the LDF and are working in close partnership with the Planning Department on the development of a Housing Development Plan Document. Other partnership work includes joint responses to formal consultation, monthly liaison meetings, weekly pre-application discussion meetings, and the organisation of a Housing and Planning Conference in March 2005.
A copy of the draft Housing Strategy and feedback form has been available on the Council’s website, www.waverley.gov.uk with alternative formats available on request. Feedback has been received from Farnham Town Council in support of the priorities identified in this Strategy. The Council held a one day Housing Strategy Conference on 16 September 2005 to which stakeholders and partners were invited. The conference was attended by 40 delegates from agencies including local Banks, Parish and Town Councils representatives from Citizens Advice Bureaux, Housing Associations, Tenants’ Panel, Surrey County Council, and developers. As a result of the conference:
· It was agreed that the suggested priorities were indeed all key issues for Waverley
· Sustainability and working with disadvantaged people should begiven greater priority
· Homelessness moved down the priority list in the light of the Council’s achievements and ongoing work
· The Energy efficiency priority was absorbed by social, economic and environmental sustainabiliity priorities.
Waverley Borough Council is committed to meaningful consultation with residents, partners and other stakeholders. Waverley has a strong track record of proactive consultation on both a corporate level and a service level. The Council has consistently sought to engage the community on key issues and provide local people with the opportunity to influence important policy decisions. Traditional surveys have been used, as have more innovative techniques. Examples of ongoing consultation and listening to the community include:
· Facilitating a range of groups including the Registered Social Landlord Forum and the Multi-Agency Homelessness Steering Group in order to improve and develop joint working with our partner agencies
· Listening and responding to the concerns of our tenants and stakeholders through our Options Appraisal process
· Acting as a partner to the Community Incident Action Group to work towards making Waverley a safer place
· Jointly establishing and managing a Private Sector Forum in partnership with Guildford Borough Council and Woking Borough Council.
· Postal surveys on proposed capital and revenue expenditure
· Using market stalls and community bazaar’s to give and seek feedback on corporate and community strategies
· Introduction of Planning Forums in 2005
· Using ‘Planning for Real’ on major developments
· Involving tenants on re-modelling housing estates
· Supporting Councilors in ward events to identify key local issues as part of their community leadership role and the development of the Community Strategy
· The Citizens’ Panel, (which consists of 700 residents representing the community) offers consultation and feedback on policy matters, such as the Council’s cultural strategy, and service-related reviews which are used to challenge existing policy and practice as well as to test new ideas.
· Making good use of its Tenant Panels, the Waverley Business Forum, and regular meetings with the Town and Parish Councils to comment on and shape how services are delivered
· The LA21 strategy and the Replacement Local Plan involved a significant level of consultation that was tailored according to the groups being consulted (i.e. the timing and nature of the consultation was appropriate to the community or business groups including evening and weekends where needed).
· Co-ordinating public sector consultation exercises through the LSP
Local Best Value Reviews
Best Value reviews of housing services were undertaken between April 2001 and February 2002. In order to carry improvements forward, the Housing Department has established six Performance Improvement Groups to cover key areas of the service. These are:
· Voids and Lettings
· Rent Collection and Arrears
· Allocations, Tenancy Management and Supporting People
· Environmental Works and Estate Management
· Resident Participation and Customer Care
· Repairs and Maintenance.
Key achievements include:
· The production of a Tenants’ Handbook in partnership with the Tenants’ Panel, which was distributed in February 2003
· The achievement of Level 1 of the Equality Standard for Local Government 2004/05
· As part of our e-Government approach, repairs can be requested and council tax and rental payments can be made on line
· Fit for Purpose HRA Business Plan 2004
· Successful completion of the stock options appraisal before July 2004 deadline
· Consultation with tenants on a stock transfer proposal 2005
· The appointment of a Tenant Participation Officer in 2004
· The appointment of an Anti-Social Behaviour Officer in 2005
· The production of a suite of housing advice leaflets in 2004/05
· The production of a regular newsletter for applicants
· A departmental complaints handling procedure was implemented in July 2002.
5.1 Affordable Housing Demand
The 2001 Housing Needs Survey calculated the annual shortfall of affordable homes was 590 units per year. By the time an update was carried out in 2005, the annual shortfall of affordable homes had risen to 622 units per year. This figure represents the number of affordable new homes which would be needed each year to clear the backlog of those already in need and for those new households that are forming year on year, with the majority of homes being required for rent. Details of how these figures are calculated can be found in Appendix Five.
Waiting List applications have been steadily increasing over the past five years. In 2001/02, there were 1120 general needs applicants on the register. By the end 2005/06 this had risen to 1,651 general needs applicants (see Appendix Two). Changes in legislation that has given people living outside of Waverley a right to apply for housing has certainly contributed to this increase. However, the number of households accepted as homeless has been falling over the same period. In 2001/02, 148 households were accepted as homeless; during 2005/06, 53 households were accepted as homeless, as illustrated in Figure 5.1.1.This is, in part due to homeless prevention initiatives, such as increased levels of housing advice and assisting people to access other private accommodation through programmes such as the Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme. Families with children and families expecting children represent 82% of homeless households on the Council’s Housing Needs Register (taken from an average over 5 years between 2002 and 2006).
5.2 Affordable Housing Demand from Concealed Households
The 2001 Housing Needs Survey identified 1,600 ‘concealed’ households, which are defined as households living with friends or relatives who are currently unable to access the market, but will be moving in the next five years. The 2005 Survey update identified 2,805 concealed households requiring accommodation over the next 5 years. Figure 5.2.1 illustrates that34.5% of concealed households indicated their preference for Council rented accommodation, 9.4% housing association rented homes and 7.3% homes for shared ownership and 39% for owner occupation. Despite a large number of concealed households expressing a preference for Council rented accommodation only 17% of the concealed households are registered on the Council list- raising the question as to why they have not bothered to register. In addition while 39% of concealed households expressed a wish to own their own home according to the Housing Needs Survey only 10% of concealed households have sufficient income to do so clearly demonstrating an affordability gap.
5.3 Private Sector Demand
As has been previously mentioned, the demand for houses has increased the price of accommodation to levels that makes owner-occupation unaffordable for most newly forming households in Waverley. There is a relatively small private rented sector in the Borough, (8% of households) and a large proportion of this market is aimed at the executive luxury end of the market , which contributes to high rents.
The 2001 Housing Needs Survey found that there was high demand for rented property in the Borough, especially highlighted was the inadequate supply of two and three bedroom properties. However, demand for private rented accommodation amongst concealed households was low (10%) Of those concealed households seeking a one bedroom flat, only 27% could afford the average rent in the private sector and no concealed households could afford the rent for a 2 bedroom flat. It can therefore be concluded that the private rented sector makes very little contribution to the provision of affordable housing in the borough. This sector is not in the main accessible to lower income households unless assistance is received (i.e. rent deposit scheme) or they contribute a very high level of their disposable income.
5.4 Housing for People with Support Needs
In order to work towards meeting the needs of people with housing and support needs, Waverley Borough Council has undertaken a mapping exercise to identify supply and demand, in order to prioritise action required. This is summarised in the following table.
Table 5.3.1 Need, supply and action toward providing services for people in housing need who also have support needs
It is generally acknowledged that Key Workers in Waverley and people who are key to public service or the local economy are experiencing increasing difficulties in obtaining a home of their own. Key Worker housing need was evidenced by the update to the Housing Needs Survey carried in 2005, which demonstrated that a household income of £30,000 is required in order to afford even the cheapest property in Waverley.
The Government has introduced the Key Worker Living (KWL) Initiative, for health workers, teachers, police and a small number of social workers to try and address some of these difficulties. 23 Key Workers who work in Waverley were assisted through the KWL scheme during 2004/05, for which Thames Valley Housing Association act as zone agents. There are currently a number of developments that will go a significant way towards meeting Key Worker Housing Need, including homes at Farnham, Wormley and Cranleigh.
The current definition of keyworker is restrictive and it has become apparent that there are a number of other vital workers who are not eligible to access the Key Worker Living Initiative. A local definition of Essential Workers has therefore been adopted, which includes “person or persons who live or are employed in the Borough of Waverley who provide essential services which are beneficial to the community, for example health, education, care, rescue or police or other local services as agreed by the Director of Housing of the Council.” Waverley Borough Council has supported a scheme, which embraces this wider definition and aims to assist 15 Essential Workers during 2005/06.
5.6 Black & Minority Ethnic Needs
According to Census data, 2.61% of the Waverley population do not consider themselves to be White British. The Council has systems in place to monitor applications from and lettings to BME applicants. According to the figure returned for 2004/05 4.9% of applications came from households who considered themselves to be BME, with 3.5% of lettings being made to BME households.
The Council offers a face-to-face interview with an interpreter and over the phone translation services for housing customers through the Language Line. Customers can also request written information to be translated into a range of community languages.
In terms of customer satisfaction, Waverley completes the statutory STATUS tenant satisfaction survey on a three yearly basis. This shows that satisfaction with the overall landlord service is very similar for BME and non-BME tenants, and satisfaction with opportunities for involvement in the service is higher among the BME tenants. In addition we carry out individual satisfaction surveys for service areas, including the repairs service, complaints handling, and new tenants, which record ethnicity. These show no disparities with the levels of satisfaction between different groups. However it is important to be cautious with regards to these figures as the numbers of responses are very small and it would be wrong to be complacent. As part of the next Housing Needs Survey further work is to be undertaken to investigate the housing needs of BME groups within Waverley.
At a corporate level the housing department has a representative who works with the Council- wide Equal Opportunities group. The group is working on improving the monitoring of BME service users, developing an updated race equality scheme for the council, and implementing race equality impact assessments for new policies. In addition the Council has achieved Level 1 of the Equality Standard for Local Government, and a 40% score for its race equality scheme at the end of 2004.
5.7 Older People
At the time the 2001 Census figures were collected, 10,479 people in Waverley were over the age of 75. It is predicted that southwest Surrey will see the largest rise in the county of the number of people aged over 85 years, by 2010. These trends have implications for policy and provision, as greater demands will be placed upon housing, health and support services. On a countywide basis, the Surrey Supporting People strategy has identified Extra Care schemes as a priority, particularly services for frail elderly people and persons with dementia. A report carried out by Laing and Buisson in 2004 estimated an extra 278 extra care units will be required in Waverley by 2010. The development of extra care housing is highlighted as a priority at national, county and local level within the Extra Care Sheltered Housing Strategy for South West Surrey. This is a multi agency document, which has been developed by Guildford Borough Council, Waverley Borough Council, Surrey Council and Guildford and Waverley Primary Care Trust.
Due to the large geographical spread of Waverley, sheltered housing with enhanced care needs to be strategically delivered to ensure there is a service available locally to older people. The Council carried out a mapping exercise into the demands placed on housing stock held in the Borough. This revealed an oversupply of ordinary sheltered housing in the area. Subsequently, two existing sheltered schemes have been re-designated as Extra Care facilities. Two hard to let sheltered schemes have been decommissioned in order to achieve a balance of general needs and sheltered housing which is more closely matched to needs.
The Council supports older people to live independently in their own homes through schemes including Care and Repair, the Care Line service that supports over 1,000 people in the private sector, and the provision of Meals-On-Wheels. The Council also provides a Community Supporting People service to over 900 older and vulnerable tenants to enable them to remain in their own homes, through initiatives including Telecare, sensors and alarms. A pilot project established in April 2005 and managed in partnership between Waverley Borough Council and the Surrey’s Adults and Community Care Team provides enhanced care in two sheltered schemes, which meet the needs of frail elderly people.
5.8 Gypsies and Travellers
Waverley currently has around 280 travellers living on 9 gypsy sites and 2 showman sites in the Borough. Another site with four plots is being promoted and will be considered by the Council in due course. In line with requirements placed upon emerging LDFs and contained within the Housing Act 2004, work is presently underway to speak to all gypsy and traveller families in the Borough, to discuss their changing needs, in terms of family household composition altering over time. A mapping exercise will then take place to assess the capacity of existing and potential sites to meet these expressed needs. At a Surrey wide level, Waverley officers are involved in carrying out a county wide assessment of Travellers' housing needs; to identify how many residential, transit and temporary stopping places are needed, where they are needed and how big they will need to be. It is hoped that funding will be secured at county level, with a specific post designated to co-ordinate this work and take forward the recommendations made in the ‘Strategic Assessment of Travellers needs in Surrey’ (2004).
5.9 Lone Parents
According to the 2001 Census the percentage of lone parent households with dependant children in Waverley is 3.7%. This has almost doubled since the previous Census of 1991 but still remains well below the national average for England and Wales of 6.5%. Of the 1,738 lone parent families most single parents are women (1,551) but a small number (178) are men. Reasons for the increase include demographic changes such as increased divorce and separation rates. Currently 305 single parent families are registered on the Councils housing register and this represents 13% of households on the register.
Nearly half of clients using our Domestic Violence Outreach Service are single parents. Of the 7 households re-housed during 2004-5 following domestic violence, 3 are single parent families. The Housing Service offers home visits to people who may find it difficult to come into the council offices and appointments throughout the day to assist people who may need to make alternative childcare arrangements. A Tenancy Support Officer provides extra advice and information to residents who may need added assistance. As an employer, Waverley Borough Council offers flexible working conditions and assistance with childcare costs in order to help staff with childcare arrangements.
5.10 Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)
A mandatory DFG is available to home-owners and tenants to cover the cost of any works required to meet the needs of a disabled person. The eligible works are listed under Section 23 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 and includes works to provide access to and from the dwelling, to the principal family room, bedroom, bathroom, w.c. and kitchen and to assist in the use of facilities s by the disabled person. The maximum cost of works under the grant is £25,000.00 and the grants are means tested. Discretionary grants (e.g. to provide facilities for employment at home) are no longer available.
There has been an increase in demand for Disabled Facilities Grants despite the fact that discretionary works are no longer eligible. In 2003/04 33 Disabled Facilities Grants were completed with a spend of £219,000. In 2004/05 these figures rose to 42 grants at £300,000. According to latest figures, 22% of Waverley residents are over 60 and 9% are over 75 – which is the highest proportions in Surrey. A significant proportion of these people are or will soon become disabled. In recognition of this clear increase in need, the Council has increased the DFG budget for 2005/06 and 2006/07 by £100,000 to £325,000 and to £400,000 in 2008/9.
6. HOUSING SUPPLY
6.1 The Local Housing Market
House prices in Waverley are currently significantly above the average for the South East region as a whole. For example, according to land registry figures the average cost of a terraced house in the South East is £174,710, whereas a terraced house is Waverley is £207,258. House prices have risen across all properties types since 2000 by an average of 37%. The income required to purchase an averagely priced flat in Waverley is £37,000. According to the 2005 Housing Needs Survey Update, more than 75% of existing households in Waverley have an income below this level.
Access to the market is clearly dependent on availability. This factor is particularly critical for low-income households who can only enter the market where there is an adequate supply of affordable homes. Although the average price of flats/maisonettes is £201,127(according to the Land Registry), entry-level sales vary across the Borough with lowest prices for a one bedroom flat starting at around £97,213 in Haslemere, rising to £139,950 in Waverley Central.
Findings from the Housing Needs Survey Update 2005 indicate that over 90% of concealed households have an income of less than £30,000 per annum. As a result, the vast majority of concealed households are unable to afford to purchase a property on the open market. Private rented accommodation was not a popular choice amongst concealed households and high rent levels mean that only less than half of those who expressed a preference for private rented accommodation could actually afford it.
On average, there are 2,604 private house sales each year. 2004/05 saw slightly fewer sales, which probably reflects the general slow down in the housing market nationwide. The Council has a housing stock of just over 5,100 properties and for the last 2 years, the Council has had just over 300 new lettings each year. According to the Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix 2004/5, other social housing providers (such as Registered Social Landlords) have a further 1,476 properties within the Borough, around 100 of which become vacant each year. In the private rented sector anecdotal evidence suggests that in the region of 1,200 homes become available each year, encompassing a range of property types. Highest demand is reported to be for 2 bedroom properties.
6.2 Profile of the Housing Stock
The housing stock across the borough comprises 48,500 homes of which, 42% are detached, 26% semi-detached, 14% terraced, and 15% flats/maisonettes. There are fewer smaller homes, terraced homes and flats, than the national average. The majority of homes are post war, with 46% built between 1945- 1980 and 11% built after 1980, with 12% built before 1900, 7% built between 1900- 1914, and the remaining 23% between 1918- 1939.
Owner occupation is the dominant tenure, with a higher proportion of the Waverley population owning their own home, in comparison to the English average. Of the Borough’s total housing 76.46% is owner occupied, of which only 0.73% is in shared ownership. Homes rented from the Council make up 10.15% of the overall stock. Homes managed by Registered Social Landlords account for a further 2.87%. 8.13% of respondents to the 2001 census stated that they were living in privately rented homes. It should be noted that 2.38% of people stated that they were living rent-free. The table below illustrates that owner occupation in the district is around 7% above the average for England and both the rented sectors are slightly below the national average. A full breakdown is contained in Appendix Two.
Figure 6.2.1 Tenure of households Waverley and England
Small households are predominant in the Borough, with 67% of homes containing one or two people. The most common household types are couples with no children living with them (27%), pensioners (26%) and single person households (13%).
13% of households are economically retired and 12% are in receipt of some form of means tested benefit. 14% have an annual income under £11,900.
6.3 Affordable Housing Supply
The number of homes owned by the Council is reducing as a result of the Right to Buy scheme. The Council’s housing stock has reduced from 8,000 homes in 1980; to 5,100 homes in 2005. The table below shows the profile of the total Council general needs and RSL stock in the Borough, by area and number of bedrooms.
Table 6.3.1 General Needs Council Stock and RSL Affordable Housing by Parish as at 1.4.06
7.1 Decent Homes Investment Strategy
The stock of all public landlords is required to comply with the Government’s Decent Homes Standard by 2010.
In June 2003 the Council began a stock condition survey of all of its housing stock. As at April 2005, the Council had inspected the stock condition of 90% of the stock. From this information it has been established that 53% (2,757 dwellings) of Waverley owned homes are currently non-decent, 76% are potentially non-decent and if no work were undertaken by 2010, 90% of the stock would be non-Decent. The table below shows the number of homes that are or will be non-Decent by element of failure.
Table 7.1.1 Decent Homes Failures by element of failure
7.2 Private Sector Housing
A study, undertaken in 1995/96 found that 3% of properties within the private sector were statutorily unfit and a further 6% in serious disrepair. An additional 14% had problems with dampness and condensation. According to housing stock projections contained within a report prepared by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in February 2005, 30% of the private sector stock is non-decent, failing any one of the four components, the majority of which (23%) were due to inadequate thermal comfort. The report also states that vulnerable people occupy 4% of dwellings that do not meet the Decent Homes Standard. Standard Assessment Process (SAP) ratings of less than 30 affect 7.5% of dwellings and fuel poverty affects 7% of occupiers.
The BRE Housing Stock Models, which were provided in March 2005, have provided information on:
· Non-Decent homes and its four components
· Non-Decent homes occupied by vulnerable groups
· Dwellings with a SAP less than 30
· Households in fuel poverty.
The Council believes the data provided to be informative and reliable. However we recognise the need for this data to be supplemented and to a certain extent validated by a survey of the condition of the private housing stock. We intend to use the model projections to design a sample for a house condition survey, which will focus on areas of interest and reduce standard error to a minimum. The survey will take place during 2006, in partnership with Guildford Borough Council
7.3 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
The HMO surveys carried out in 1991 and 1992 estimated that there were approximately 250 HMOs in the Borough. 20% of these were self-contained flats, which were mainly in good condition and low risk. A further 26% were smaller shared houses. As a result of subsequent case law, it became unclear whether these smaller houses met the definition of an HMO or whether the occupants lived together as a single household. 33% of the HMOs in the Borough were considered to be higher risk bedsits or hostels. Since the surveys were completed the Council has maintained a database of HMOs. New properties have been added to the database following notifications from other departments or the public and properties have been removed following demolition or change of occupation, but overall there has been little change.
The Housing Act 2004 has introduced a new definition of HMOs, which includes the majority of shared houses but excludes most of the self-contained flats. It is estimated that this will reduce the number of HMOs in Waverley to approximately 200. The new legislation has also introduced a scheme of licensing of HMOs. Mandatory licensing is being introduced for the larger “higher risk” HMOs of 3 or more storeys and 5 or more people. There are estimated to be approximately 30 of these properties in Waverley. Additional licensing of other HMOs is available to local authorities where they consider that a significant number are being managed ineffectively and giving rise to problems to the occupants or members of the public. There are no plans to introduce additional licensing at this stage.
The Council is working to update the database to ensure that the list is current and the licensable HMOs are identified. A proactive inspection programme starting with the higher risk properties will follow this.
7.4 Vacant Homes
The number of empty homes across tenures is relatively low with only 1.7% of all dwellings in Waverley standing empty at any one time, compared to the national average of 3.4%. The reasons for properties being empty are generally those associated with prosperity (particularly second homes or ancillary accommodation on large country estates) rather than with deprivation (abandonment and serious disrepair).
However, there are a very small number of abandoned and derelict houses in Waverley, as well as empty flats, particularly over commercial premises, which could, potentially be put to residential use. Empty properties in rural boroughs can have a real impact upon the vitality of local communities. The number of households owning second homes across the country jumped 15% in 2003/4 compared to the previous year with an estimated 295,000 households in England owning a second home. Given the limits on opportunities for new development, any empty property in Waverley is the waste of a very scare resource.
As the enabling authority for Waverley, the Council has a role to use its power and influence to improve housing supply and housing conditions across all tenures. Bringing empty homes back into use is one of many contributions Local Authorities can make. In order to facilitate bringing empty properties back into use, Waverley Borough Council has developed a range of initiatives including:
· A yearly mail out in to over 300 owners of empty properties, offering support and advice to help bring their property back into use
· Developed a Rental Deposit Guarantee Scheme and Living Over the Shop Project
· Implemented a policy of charging owners 90% of Council Tax for their empty property
· Refurbished a 3-bed house in Farnham as part of a supported housing scheme for young people
· Redevelopment planned for East Street and Farnham Hospital, which currently includes a number of empty properties
· Lobbying NHS Estates, Department for Communities and Local Government and English Partnerships to use the empty properties at Milford Hospital
· Participated in a Surrey wide bid to support an RSL to bring empty properties back into use across the county
· Increase awareness and raise profile of Empty Homes issues in Waverley through range of mediums including leaflets, newsletters, press releases and posters
· Improved reporting mechanisms to record empty homes through a variety of forums, both internally and externally
· The Council has demolished a hard to let sheltered scheme and is currently consulting on what should be built on the site.
7.5 Private Sector Renewal
The introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) Order 2002 brought the Renovation Grant Scheme to an end and empowered each local authority to introduce its own form of assistance. Waverley Borough Council therefore introduced a new policy targeted towards assisting the elderly, disabled and low-income households. The policy also takes into account the Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA) Strategy, Local Agenda 21, Crime and Disorder Strategy and Government Guidance on Housing Renewal. The intention of the Regulatory Reform Order was that the responsibility for maintaining privately owned property should rest first and foremost with the home-owner.
The Council adopted the new Home Improvement Policy on 4th February 2003. The main strands of the policy are as follows:
· Loan finance
· Home Improvement Grants
· Equity Sharing
· Advice and Information
· Care and Repair Agency.
More Details about the new Home Improvement Policy can be found in Appendix Seven.
7.6 Review of Policy
Spending on housing renewals during 2004/05 dropped considerably compared with previous years. In 2003/04, 42 renovation/home improvement grants were completed at a cost of £230,000. The following year, only 27 grants were completed at a cost of £112,000. At the same time there has been no take-up of equity release loans or the equity share scheme. There has been a marked resistance by homeowners in Waverley to giving up part of the equity of their properties in order to pay for repairs and improvements. With renovation grants no longer available, the only uptake of assistance has been for the Waverley Home Improvement Grant for works costing no more than £5,000.
In view of the low uptake of elements of the Home Improvement Policy and in recognition of the results of the BRE project and the target for the Decent Homes Standard in the private sector, Waverley Council intends to overhaul the Home Improvement Policy. It is hoped that the revised policy will commence in September 2006 and will focus on areas of highest need with a more accessible approach.
7.7 Performance in Key Service Areas
The Council monitors performance in key service areas such as allocations and repairs. The following tables demonstrate the Council’s performance over the last three years.
Allocations and Housing Register
8.1 Sources of Capital income
Capital resources that come into the Borough are derived from a number of sources e.g. the Regional Housing Board/Housing Corporation (which provides grants to housing associations); commuted sums from new housing developments; sales of council homes under the Right-to-Buy; land disposals; and some grant funding from the government – which contributes towards Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs). For many years, the Council has always taken the approach that capital receipts arising from housing should be reinvested in housing programmes.
Previously, a major source of income to the Council is Right To Buy Capital Receipts. The Council has always invested these receipts in housing in Waverley. However, the Local Government Act 2003 introduced a requirement for Local Authorities, like Waverley, to surrender 75% of these receipts to the Government for redistribution across the country. This reduces Waverley’s ability to achieve Government objectives e.g. meeting the Decent Homes Standard and enabling more affordable housing. Nevertheless the Council’s current policy is to invest 50% of the Right to Buy receipts it is allowed to keep in the Council’s own stock and 50% in the provision of grant aid to RSL’s to enable them to provide more affordable homes.
The rate of Right to Buy is currently slower than during the last two decades. In 2004/05, 35 properties were sold, generating a capital receipt of £3.9 million. During 2003/04, 81 homes were sold under the Right to Buy scheme, which generated a capital receipt of £8.29 million. This was higher than during 2002/03, when only 55 sales were completed and a £5 million capital receipt produced. The change was probably as a result of tenant concerns over a reduction in Right to Buy discounts. Our projections assume 18 sales per year by 2011/12.
The Council also utilises the Major Repairs Allowance fully on HRA Capital Funding of £3.5m per annum.
Section 106 Planning Agreements have taken on an increasingly important role in the delivery of affordable homes. In exceptional circumstances where development will not go towards meeting local need, policy H5 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002 makes provision to allow a commuted sum to be offered which will support the development of affordable housing on an alternative site. In such cases, the applicant will be required to demonstrate why is has not been possible or desirable to provide the affordable housing on site. The applicant will also need to show that other options, such as cross-subsidy between rented and shared ownership units and providing the affordable housing on another site, have been considered and why they were discounted. Where it is appropriate to use commuted sums, this funding will be used to support the development of affordable housing on more suitable sites.
In some cases our partner Housing Associations have been able to bring their own resources to new housing schemes. As well as raising funds through borrowing, housing associations have also been able to part fund new homes using their own reserves, for example through Recycled Capital Grant Funds collected through tenants stair-casing up through Homebuy schemes.
Though, on the face of it, these funding streams appear to generate significant sums, the capital investment needed to meet our objectives simply outstrip the resources generated. However, in recent years available funding has reduced as a result of the abolition of the Local Authority Social Housing Grant (LASHG) system; and because the Government now takes 75% of all Right-to-Buy capital receipts from the Council to redistribute across the country.
A key priority locally is trying to meet the need for affordable homes. We also have an increasing role in private sector regeneration. An additional challenge the Government has given all councils that own housing stock target that they (along with other social landlords) should meet the Decent Homes Standard by 2010.
We therefore have to prioritise our expenditure carefully to try to balance competing housing demands.
Detailed information regarding the Council’s resources in its role as a landlord can be found in the HRA Business Plan.
The Council’s Stock Condition Survey at 2006 indicated that, to meet the Decent Homes Standard by 2010, the Council needs to spend £37m and £18m on Statutory, Health and Safety Works. The Council estimates that it has £27m.
8.2 Sources of Revenue Income
The Council’s greatest source of income for affordable homes comes through rent income from the 5,100 homes it owns. In 2006/07, it anticipates receiving in the order of £20,844,740. However, because of the way in which the ‘Housing subsidy’ scheme works nationally, Waverley will again receive a ‘negative subsidy’ – which means that the Council will have to pay money to the Government from its rental income. In 2006/07, this will be £8,660,000 (by way of comparison of the negative subsidy for 2005/06 was £8,082,000). For 2006/07, the Council increased tenants rents by the Government’s guideline figure of 5%, which generated an additional £658,000; however, because the negative subsidy figure increased by £578,000, the Council only generates a cash increase of £80,800 to spend on tenants’ homes. Were this subsidy system not in operation, the Council would be well able to meet the Decent Homes Standard.
8.3 Service Expenditure
As mentioned above, in addition to its current role as landlord, the Council has a strategic housing role within the wider community. As a strategic body it has responsibility for:
· Housing Advice
· Housing the Homeless
· Maintaining the Housing Needs register
· Private Sector renewal (by way of grants)
· Enabling Affordable Housing.
Council Tax from within the Council’s General Fund funds these services. The table below (7.2.1) illustrate what has been spent recently or what it is currently planned to spend on these strategic areas.
Table 8.3.1 General Fund Revenue Programme
Table 8.3.2 General Fund Capital Programme and Projections
Table 8.3.4 Spending on Affordable Housing
£2,000,000Estimated right-to-buy receipts available
Committed to developing social housing at East Street£0
Housing Corporation Housing Capital Allocation
The table below shows the Council’s Housing Revenue Account spending with actual against estimated costs for the previous two years and details the projected spend for the current year.
Each year the Council’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget is considered by Council Members in parallel with its General Fund budget, culminating in the setting of rent and council tax levels for the forthcoming year. In considering its HRA budget each year the Council has regard to the level of service it is able to provide to help it achieve its stated aims and also how the service can be improved whilst still containing rents at a reasonable level and within the confines of the Government’s rent restructuring guidelines.
8.6 General Fund Asset Management Plan 2002
The Asset Management Plan has been implemented in order to ensure the Council takes a corporate and strategic approach to managing its corporate assets.
Housing related objectives include:
· The maintenance of land and property records on computerised terrier
· Continuous review of reasons for current use and retention of property
· Identification of opportunity cost for all uses of council owned property
· Review of planned maintenance programmes to ensure adequate and accurate budget provision
· Investigation of alternative uses for surplus property and vigorous marketing, if disposal is determined
· Ensuring that all service occupiers of corporate property have clearly defined maintenance responsibilities
· Continue to seek methods of imposing energy efficiency and sustainable development.
The property service has adopted new property performance indicators to enable monitoring of performance year on year and to allow realistic targets to be set.
8.7 Housing Revenue Account Asset Management Strategy
A Housing Revenue Account Asset Management Strategy is currently being prepared. Fundamentally it will balance the economic value of the stock against the social and economic needs of the residents.
The scope of the strategy is intended to achieve the following objectives:
· To define Waverley Borough Council’s position on asset management as a core HRA business objective
· To define the property stock, its condition and identify the investment required to sustain the building to meet the needs of current and future tenants over the next 30 years
· To identify the risks and issues relating to the assets and how these can be mitigated and dealt with
· To define the methods and ways that implementation of the Asset management strategy can be carried out
· To establish frameworks and templates for monitoring recording and evaluating performance.
Accompanying the Asset Management Strategy will be a database of all properties, which will incorporate structural and financial information on the property together with its Housing Need index rating.
This mix of information will produce a red, amber or green reinvestment status for each individual property, enabling investment decisions on future maintenance and or redevelopment to be taken in a consistent way.
The Asset Management strategy will include the following strategies and policies:
· Stock Condition Survey report
· Decent Home Analysis
· Procurement strategy and Policy
· Void Standard
· Terms of reference for the Reinvestment Panel.
8.8 Waverley Capital Strategy
The Capital Strategy recognises the key role of capital investment in achieving delivery of Waverley’s corporate and service objectives. Together with the Asset Management Plan and this Housing Strategy it seeks to ensure that optimum benefit is obtained for the residents of the Borough from the limited available capital resources.
The Housing Services' requirement for capital resources attempts to find a balance between the Council’s roles as:
· A steward for the local community and environment for the present and future generations
· Strategic Housing Authority for the whole of the Waverley area;
· Landlord for some 5,100 dwellings;
· Housing enabler in the Waverley area
· Partner to Registered Social Landlords through providing grants and land;
· Partner to private-sector landlords and homeowners though providing Home Improvement Grants Disabled Facilities Grants and enabling equity share/release loans.
The housing element of the four-year Capital Strategy is based on the Council’s Housing Strategy and Housing Investment Programme. These documents have been developed in consultation with tenants and a wide range of partners in the statutory and voluntary sector including the Government Office for the South East and the Housing Corporation. It takes into account the Council’s Corporate Strategy and service-related information such as the Tenant Participation Compact; Housing Needs Survey information that is regularly updated; the Local Authority Housing Stock Condition Survey information that again is regularly updated.
The priorities for housing for the lifetime of this plan reflect the changed nature of the housing service provided by the Council. The priorities are ranked in order of importance, with the highest priority as number one.
1. Facilitating the provision of affordable housing
Why is this a priority?
As had been discussed in detail in the Housing Needs section of this Strategy, local house prices in Waverley are significantly above the average for the South East region, making it more difficult to access good quality, affordable housing. Our partners in the statutory, voluntary and private sector regularly tell us in consultation exercises, that the availability of affordable housing is an issue. As an employer, Waverley knows how difficult it can be to recruit staff because of the high housing costs in this part of the country. Consequently the provision of affordable housing is a high corporate priority, has been highlighted as an area of concern by the Local Strategic Partnership in the Waverley Community Strategy and has been ranked as the highest priority for this housing strategy,
An update to the Housing Needs Survey (carried out in 2005) concluded a yearly household income of £37,000 is required to purchase an average priced flat in the area is. 75% of local households earn less than this amount. The Council’s Housing Needs register held 2,259 applications as at 1.4.05. Right to Buy has depleted the Council’s stock and ability to re-house people in housing need. Furthermore, private rented accommodation at an affordable level is in short supply. The 2005 update to the Housing Needs Survey estimated an annual shortfall of 622 affordable units every year.
Therefore, facilitating the provision of affordable housing in Waverley is considered the highest priority of the Housing Strategy.
2. Meeting Decent Homes Standard
Why is this a priority?
Not only should people be able to access affordable housing, but also that housing should be of a good standard; regardless of tenure.
The Council believes that every tenant deserves to live in a decent home. A decent home is at the heart of a sustainable community. The Government is challenging local authorities to meet the Decent Homes Standard in public housing by 2010. Waverley faces a number of challenges, which makes meeting the Decent Homes Standard a key priority. 53% of all the council housing does not currently meet the Decent Homes Standard. Following a rigorous Options Appraisal in 2004 the Council then balloted its tenants on whether or not the stock should be transferred to a newly-created RSL in order to take advantage of the financial freedoms that would have been enabled the DHS to have been exceeded. Tenants voted against this proposal and the Council now faces the difficult task of attempting to meet the Government deadline with extremely restricted resources whilst still delivering a good quality service to its tenants.
Within the private sector we have to rise to the government’s challenge of ensuring that by 2010 70% of vulnerable owner-occupiers have a decent home. It is estimated that 30% of the private sector stock in Waverley is non -decent and that 2,211 households are occupied by vulnerable households. This clearly is an issue that Waverley needs to address. Additionally, while relatively small in numbers, Houses in Multiple Occupation need to be individually inspected in order to ensure that they meet the mandatory licensing requirements.
3. Sustainable Communities
Why is this a priority?
A high priority of this strategy is to facilitate the development of places where people want to live, which are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. With rolling wooded hills, heath lands, farmland, good transport links and vibrant towns and villages, Waverley is an attractive place to live and work. It is a Corporate priority to ‘maintain an attractive and sustainable environment’ in order to retain the special character of the countryside, towns and villages in Waverley.
It is a balance to protect and enhance the Borough's environmental quality and jobs, infrastructure and services without undermining the value of built, natural and man-managed environmental resources; work continues across Waverley in order to respond appropriately to local need whilst preserving the unique characteristic of the Borough. For example, a key corporate objective is to encourage energy efficiency, especially in housing.
Even though Waverley remains one of the safest places to live and work in England and Wales, many people in the Borough are worried that they will become victims of crime and feel that their quality of life is impaired by factors in their social environment such as speeding traffic and vandalism. Consequently, the promotion of community safety and addressing crime and the fear of crime through is a high priority; both for the housing department and the council as a whole. Waverley is ranked low on the indices of deprivation, at 340th out of 354 English councils. Despite Waverley’s relative wealth there are still pockets of deprivation in wards such as Godalming North East and South West. 4% of wards in the district fall within the 50% most deprived wards nationally.
It is believed that a commitment to promoting sustainable communities is a vital component to the Housing Strategy for the foreseeable future.
4. Working with disadvantaged and vulnerable people
Why is this a priority?
Many people living in the Borough need support or assistance in their day-to-day lives. Services to meet these needs could be provided in a range of ways, including round the clock intensive services, through to less intensive services such as floating or outreach support. Support may be required in order to meet a range of support needs including multiple or complex needs and learning difficulties, mental health problems and physical and sensory impairments. Census data demonstrates that the elderly population of the Borough is steadily increasing with the greatest increase in people over 80. This has implications for the provision of support for people within their own homes and specialist accommodation in the future. Within the private sector there is a significant and increasing number of elderly people who are capital rich but revenue poor.
A range of support initiatives have been developed but it is recognised that more research is required into the needs of vulnerable groups. In addition, more work is required build upon existing work between local providers in order to ensure more seamless services are provided to the disadvantaged and vulnerable. Waverley Borough Council recognise a number of gaps exist in housing provision for people with support needs and so has prioritised cross borough partnership work with housing and support providers to develop housing and support services.
Funding through the Supporting People programme is limited and consequently the Surrey Supporting People Strategy has a clear commitment to prioritising funding to those most in need. This is resulting in the need for resources to be reallocated and Waverley is committed to working in partnership to facilitate this. For these reasons working with the disadvantaged and vulnerable is a high priority for Waverley.
5. Continuing to reduce and prevent homelessness
Why is this a priority?
Tackling homelessness has been central to the Government’s social inclusion agenda and all local authorities have a role to play. Waverley has been successful in meeting the Government’s targets regarding the use of B&B and is now focused on meeting the Governments target to reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation by 2010. Whilst the issue of homelessness in Waverley is no longer critical due to the success of recent work it still remains an overall priority for Waverley Borough Council.
To date Waverley has been successful in meeting the government’s target in not having homeless households with children in B&B for more than 6 weeks. The Council has embraced the prevention of homelessness agenda and has been successful in opening up private renting opportunities for households threatened with homelessness through effective use of its deposit bond and cash deposit schemes. In the quarter April -Jun 05 the Council has achieved a reduction in homeless applications and a reduction in homeless acceptances compared with the same quarter last year. These encouraging figures, if maintained throughout the year, will help the Council meet the Governments target in reducing by 50% the number of households in temporary accommodation by 2010 and continue a downward trend in homeless applications, decisions and acceptances.
There has also been a significant improvement in homelessness decision times and the number of families with dependent children in temporary accommodation has fallen.
There has not been a significant reduction in length of time households with children are in hostel accommodation. The Council’s ability to achieve a reduction is dependent on a number of factors outside of its control including the number and type of vacancies that occur and the fact that in giving homeless households a choice of where to live, this can greater extend the length of time a household may have to wait for a suitable vacancy. A new allocation policy will help give some additional priority to homeless households who have been in temporary accommodation for a while to help reduce the time scales but this has to be done in a balanced may so as not to disadvantage non homeless applicant in housing need.
The following tables illustrate a range of options which have been considered by the council and why they were subsequently discounted.
Appendix One Glossary
Affordable housing – housing provided with a subsidy and made available in perpetuity to local people who cannot afford to rent or buy housing appropriate to their needs in the open housing market.
ALMO – Arms Length Management Organisation – a vehicle for managing the council’s housing stock whilst retaining ownership.
ASB – Anti Social Behaviour.
Assured shorthold tenancies – A tenancy agreement with a private landlord for a period of 6 months that can be renewed.
Audit Commission - A body appointed by the Government to be responsible for (amongst other things) the appointment of local authority’s external auditors and best value inspectors (Including the Housing Inspectorate), and promoting the best use of public money in local government.
Beacon council status - The Beacon Council Scheme identifies excellence and innovation in local government.
Best Value - The new duty, under the Local Government Act 1999, for a Local Authority to ensure that it is securing best value in all of its functions. A local performance plan must be published each year.
BVPI’s – Best Value performance Indicators.
Capital Expenditure - Broadly, this is expenditure, which will have a value over more than one year, and is therefore for the purposes of investing in a Council’s assets. In the Housing context, this will mean expenditure in the acquisition or construction of housing, and in substantial repairs and improvements. Capital expenditure can be funded through Credit Approvals, Capital Receipts, Government Grants, Contributions from a Council’s partners, or RCCO.
Capital Receipts - The receipt arising from the sale of an asset, for example the sale of a house under the Right to Buy. In the case of the sale of HRA assets, Government rules prescribe the proportion of the receipt which is reserved, and that which is usable.
Choice based lettings – A new method for Council’s allocating homes, which give applicants more choice in where they live. The approach is similar to that of an estate agent.
CPA – Comprehensive Performance Assessment, a rigorous assessment of the quality and impact of a council’s services.
Commuted sums – a cash payment arising through a planning obligation, in lieu of a planning application, which has to be applied for the benefit of the community.
Decent Homes – Decent Homes is a government target that all Council and Housing Associations must achieve by 2010. A Decent Home is a home that is warm, weatherproof and has reasonably modern facilities.
Department for Communities and Local Government – Newly created Government department, replacing the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, with a remit to promote community cohesion and equality and responsibility for housing, urban regeneration , planning and local government.
DIY shared ownership – Where an individual purchases a property on the open market where either a Council of a housing association makes part of the purchase.
Egan Agenda - arose in response to the Rethinking Construction report of the Construction Task Force. Designed to improve the way the construction industry operates with a customer led focus concentrating on continuous improvement through innovation partnering, benchmarking, supply chain management and driving out waste.
Essential worker – Waverley’s definition of an essential worker is designed to compliment the term Key Worker and can include a wider range of people who are important to the provision of local services and the local economy than the Government definition, for example refuse collectors, ambulance drivers, hospital cleaners.
General Fund - The Local Authority account that records the revenue income and expenditure for all of its functions, except the landlord function as owner of housing stock.
HB – Housing Benefit.
HMO – A dwelling occupied by more than one or numerous households.
Homebuy (previously known as Shared ownership) – A form of low cost home ownership in which a household buys a portion of property (usually between 25% and 50%) and pays rent to a housing association.
Housing Association – A non profit-making organisation formed to provide housing.
Housing Corporation - The Non Departmental Government Body that is responsible for the registration, regulation, and to some extent (through the ADP) funding of RSLs.
Housing Register – The Council’s register of households who have applied for housing.
HRA - Housing Revenue Account (HRA) - This is the landlord’s account, which shows all of a Local Authority’s income and expenditure arising from its role as the owner of Housing, plus (currently), the income and expenditure related to rent rebates for Council tenants. The account is “ringfenced”; that is, no transfer can be made between it and the rest of the Council’s accounts, the “General Fund”. Other powers and duties of a Housing authority, for example the duty to the homeless, the “enabling” role in promoting Housing Association activity in the area, and grants for private sector housing are General Fund activities.
Housing Strategy - A Housing Strategy should be an over-arching document that reviews housing-related issues in a local authority's area, sets out its housing objectives, establishes priorities for action both by the local authority and by other service providers and stakeholders, and sets out a clear Action Plan in agreement with the council's local partners.
Investors in People Award - The Investors in People Standard is a business improvement tool designed to advance an organisation’s performance through its people.
Key Worker – A term used by the Government to define people they consider to be important to provide public services, such as police, nurses, teachers.
Key Worker Living – A Government funded initiative providing assistance to Key Workers to allow them to secure a home.
LA21 strategy – Waverley Borough Council’s environmental strategy.
Local Development Framework – The LDF replaces the old system of Local Plans and sets out the Council’s plans for all land use and development in the Borough, along with its policies for planning issues such as affordable housing.
LSP – Local Strategic Partnership, a single body comprising representatives from all sectors for the planning of local services.
Low cost home ownership – A broad term, which includes homebuy, equity sharing and DIYSO which enables people to get on the housing ladder.
Major Repairs Allowance (MRA) - A new element of Housing Subsidy, which helps council’s to maintain their stock in a good state of repair.
Metropolitan greenbelt – A broad swathe of land surrounding London where planning policy restricts development in an attempt to retain the green belt.
Options Appraisal - Government led process to establish how stock holding council’s can meet the Decent Homes Standard.
O&S – Overview and Scrutiny Committee
PI – Performance Indicator.
PFI – Private Finance Initiative (PFI) - A method of procuring a service from a private sector partner for a given period of time, in exchange for annual payments, in place of buying an asset now. The capital investment in assets is undertaken by the private sector partner rather than the authority.
RSL – Registered Social Landlord - A social housing organisation that is registered with the Housing Corporation.
Regional Spatial Strategy – Statutory planning document setting out policies for the development and use of land in a region.
Rent restructuring - a new formula for rent setting that will bring council rents and housing association rents in line. Rents will be based on the property size, location and condition of your home.
RTB - Right to Buy - The right of Council Tenants to buy their home (after five years as a tenant) at a discount.
Ringfencing – to ensure finance can only be applied to a particular area, item or activity.
SAP - Standard Assessment Procedure; Energy Efficiency ratings, in new dwellings
Section 106 – Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows for agreements between landowners/developers and local authorities, e.g. for social facilities or affordable housing to be included within or contributed through the development of a site.
SIG – Special Interest Group.
Stock Transfer - The transfer of a Local Authority’s entire Housing Stock to one or more RSLs.
Stakeholders – the individuals and groups of people with an interest in a given subject. In the case of housing stakeholders are usually tenants, leaseholders, Council members and staff but also includes contractors, voluntary agencies and other local authorities.
Supporting People - The Supporting People programme provides housing related support services.
Tenant Compact - The agreements which authorities are required to enter into with bodies representing tenants and leaseholders on how they will be fully involved in the running of the housing service.
TMV – Tenanted market valuation.
TPO – Tenant Participation Officer.
Webcammed – Device to allow people to participate via the Internet.
Zone Agents – The organisation that is responsible for the co-ordination of the Key Worker Living and Homebuy scheme in a given area.
For further information on the Council’s Options Appraisal, please visit www.waverley.gov.uk/housingoptions
Further information regarding the stock condition survey can be accessed by contacting the Asset and Information Manager on 01483 523129.
Appendix Two Needs Analysis
Applicants on the Housing Register
Appendix Three Private Sector Renewal
Housing in Waverley is very expensive and therefore many occupiers may have considerable equity even though they may have little disposable income. The Council promotes the Houseproud Scheme, which is run by the Housing Improvement Trust (HIT). The scheme raises low-cost loans from commercial lenders secured against the value of the property and the package includes free financial advice and a guarantee of no repossession. The scheme aims to assist people who are aged 60 or over or are disabled and who are unable to raise a loan through other means. The loans are aimed at repairing and improving homes in order to reduce the number of properties in poor repair or unfit for occupation. The amount of loan ranges from £3,000.00 to £30,000.00. Houseproud loans are also available to top-up mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants, e.g. for extensions to provide ground floor bedrooms (such works typically cost more than £35,000.00 in Waverley) and to provide energy efficiency measures.
Home Improvement Grant
This is available to home-owners who are unable to obtain a Houseproud loan, e.g. where the works cost less than £3,000.00, there is insufficient equity in the property against which to secure a loan, the client is under 60 and not disabled or where the client is refused a loan because of bankruptcy or they cannot afford the repayments. The eligible works are the same as for the Houseproud loan up to a maximum of £5,000.00 and the grant is available to anyone who is below the income tax threshold or who claims an income-related benefit. The grant is also available for minor disabled adaptations, including discretionary works, home security measures and sound insulation.
This scheme is available where the cost of the works is more than £5,000.00 and the home-owner is unable to obtain a Houseproud loan, e.g. because they are under 60 years old or they have been refused a loan because of bankruptcy or they cannot afford the repayments. Under this scheme, the Council will fund the works up to a maximum of £30,000.00 in return for a share of the equity of the property proportionate with the cost of the works compared to the value of the property prior to the works being carried out. Applicants need to demonstrate that they have been unable to secure funding through other means. The benefit of this scheme is that the home-owner can have the works carried out without incurring debt but, when the house is sold at some time in the future, the Council will receive an appropriate amount of repayment, which will be available to use again for the benefit of other people in the same position. The eligible works under this scheme are to repair and improve homes as well as meeting the occupiers’ wishes and aspirations as under the Houseproud Scheme. It is also available to owners of properties who wish to make that property available to people in housing need and can include works to empty properties and conversions of large properties into flats or other types of accommodation for which there is a need.
Advice and Information
In addition to the financial and other assistance identified above, Waverley Council is committed to providing advice, information and technical support in order to assist residents. The following services are provided, either directly or through partner agencies:
· Information pamphlets on the range of grants and loans provided by Waverley Borough Council to improve private sector renewal
· Information booklets on the range of services provided by the Waverley Care & Repair Agency
· Lists of approved contractors for improvements or disabled adaptations
· Promotion of the Energy Care Network and Warm Front scheme for home energy improvements
· Promotion of the local handyman service for minor repairs
· Site visits to identify housing defects and recommend works of improvement.
Review of Policy
Spending on housing renewals during 2004/05 dropped considerably compared with previous years. In 2003/04 42-renovation/home improvement grants were completed at a cost of £230,000. The following year only 27 grants were completed at a cost of £112,000. At the same time there has been no take-up of equity release loans or the equity share scheme. There has been a marked resistance by home-owners in Waverley to giving up part of the equity of their properties in order to pay for repairs and improvements. With renovation grants no longer available, the only uptake of assistance has been for the Waverley Home Improvement Grant for works costing no more than £5000.
In view of the low uptake of elements of the Home Improvement Policy and in recognition of the results of the BRE project and the target for the Decent Homes Standard in the private sector, Waverley Council intends to overhaul the Home Improvement Policy. It is hoped that the revised policy will commence in April 2006 and will focus on areas of highest need with a more accessible approach.
Care & Repair Agency
An unfortunate drawback of living in an affluent area like Waverley is that work is plentiful for tradesmen such as carpenters, plumbers and electricians. Consequently it can be difficult and costly to obtain their services, particularly for smaller jobs. The district has a relatively high and increasing proportion of elderly households, 22%of the population are aged 60 or over, whose houses are generally found to be in worse condition than the norm and who require assistance to adapt their homes as the householders become less physically able.
In 1999 the Council and its partners established a Home Improvement Agency (known as ‘Waverley Care and Repair’) to help meet the needs of elderly or disabled or vulnerable owner-occupiers or private tenants who need assistance. Funding for the agency comes partly from the Department for Communities and Local Government (formerly ODPM) and from Surrey County Council, and the remainder of the income is collected by way of fees. The fee income increased by almost 100% in 2002/03 over the previous year and remains at this level, and the number of cases with all works completed increased by 60% on the previous year.
The service assists grant applicants with completing forms, preparing work specifications, obtaining planning permission and building regulations approval, obtaining contractors’ estimates, supervising the works and certifying payments. The agency is able to help arrange essential repairs or adaptations even in cases where the applicant is not financially eligible for a grant but requires help because of frailty or disability. The Department for Communities and Local Government sets a ‘social priority’ target, that 80% of clients must be elderly, disabled or on a low income. Waverley Care and Repair more than meets this target with 100%.
During 2003/04 the Agency completed 34 cases with a value of works of £229,000. In 2004/5 the Agency completed 35 cases with a value of works of £171,000. Since April 2003 the Agency has been able to increase staffing levels with an additional member of staff for three days per week using additional funding from the Guildford and Waverley Primary Care Trust. . Approximately 75% of the cases handled last year (2004/05) were for disabled clients and this proportion is expected to increase as the Agency targets its efforts more towards the disabled sector.
Appendix Four Strategic Housing and Enabling 2006/7 Service Plans
This Service Plan is in two parts, the first covers Housing Needs and the second Housing Enabling
1. HOUSING NEEDS
Housing Needs Section:
Maintaining the Housing Needs Register, allocation of Council properties in accordance with Council's allocation policy, nominating households to housing association vacancies, providing independent housing advice and help in preventing homelessness, helping those in housing need access accommodation in the private sector through use of rent deposit bond/cash/rent in advance schemes, fulfilling the Council's statutory homelessness duty in assessing homeless applications and arranging suitable accommodation as appropriate, allocation and management of temporary accommodation, maintaining records and databases to provide information on housing need in the borough and performance information to the Council and Central Government, providing an outreach and support service to victims of domestic violence and help develop such services.
SERVICE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The service links to the Corporate aims and objectives 2005 and beyond in:
Promoting Social Inclusion (8), Optimising benefit from management of the Council’s assets (31), Provide effective and efficient support to tenants (23), Support the Homeless (24), Minimise the use of bed and breakfast (25), Protect public health and safety (19), Reduce fear of crime (21), Improve opportunities for young people (5), Improve opportunities for people with disabilities (7), Present key performance & financial information in a clear and engaging way (12).
Other relevant strategies/plans:
Homelessness Strategy, Community Strategy, Housing Strategy, Regional Housing Strategy, Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future
Central Government priorities:
Prevention of Homelessness, Promoting Social Inclusion, Reduce use of temporary accommodation by 50% by 2010, ending use of B&B for families, Reducing instances of homelessness against main causes, promoting customer choice, Introduce Choice Based Lettings by 2010, Reducing instances of Rough Sleeping, Reducing repeat homelessness
Service Achievements 05/06 April -October.
Significant reduction in number of homeless applications and homeless acceptances compared with same period last year. Achieved by effective homelessness prevention through housing advice and helping people access private rented accommodation through the Council's rent deposit schemes.
Involvement in a partnership bid with Guildford, Rushmoor and Hart Council's for additional Government funding to help introduce Choice Based Lettings. Outcome of bid will be known November - December 2005.
Continuing to meeting the Government's B&B target even though a large unit of temporary accommodation is undergoing major refurbishment.
Amendments to Council's Allocation Policy and Points scheme recently implemented.
ACTION PLAN TO DELIVER THE SERVICE IN 2006/07
Reducing use of temporary accommodation and reducing length of stay in temporary accommodation
As reductions occur and when refurbished hostel at cedar lodge becomes available, reduce stock of more costly leased properties.
Continued flexible use of B&B budget and receipt of Department for Communities and Local Government grant to fund deposits
Revenue funding for ongoing service costs, advertising etc. Most CBL schemes are considered to increase customer satisfaction but do require additional resources to cope with increased demand /expectations.
Jan -June 06 produce revised policy, consult with applicants, stakeholders, secure member approval
June 06 - Mar 07 implement new system.
Note: At time of writing this service is subject to a possible merger with Guildford service and being run by a different organisation
Nov 05 - Mar 06 Decision by Safer Waverley as to whether funding available for continuation of Outreach post.
Re-configure service in event of a Yes vote re Stock transfer
Jan - June 06 Agree revised staffing structure and SLA with Weyfold
Appendix Five Affordable Housing Needs Assessment Model
Appendix Six Home Improvement Policy
1. Under the terms of The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance)(England and Wales) Order 2002 the Council is empowered to provide assistance in any form to enable any person:
Ø To acquire living accommodation (whether within or outside the Borough);
Ø To enlarge or improve living accommodation (whether by alteration, conversion, enlargement etc.);
Ø To repair living accommodation
Ø To demolish buildings comprising or including living accommodation;
Ø Where buildings including living accommodation have been demolished, to construct replacement living accommodation.
This assistance may be given in any form.
2. In order to use these powers, the Council has to produce a Policy, which is to be published and be available for inspection. The powers must be exercised in accordance with the published policy.
3. This policy document details the Council’s strategic objectives in the use of the powers and the way in which assistance is to be provided in order to meet those objectives.
4. In establishing the objectives for this policy, the Council has taken into account the following strategic objectives:
o Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA) strategy and Fuel Poverty strategy;
o Local Agenda 21
o Crime and Disorder strategy
o Housing Strategy
In addition, the following Housing Strategy objectives have been considered;
a. enable owner-occupiers of dwellings which are unfit for human habitation to make their homes fit and with a future life of at least five years for the major structural elements;
b. enable owner-occupiers to carry out improvements and repairs to their homes in order to prevent those dwellings from becoming unfit;
c. enable private sector tenants to carry out necessary improvements to their homes but which are not the duty of the landlord to undertake;
d. enable owner-occupiers and private sector tenants to make their homes energy efficient and secure against crime;
e. enable owners of empty properties to make them available for letting to people in housing need;
f. enable people to move from homes which are too large for them or otherwise do not meet their needs, or to convert their homes into smaller accommodation units which meet their needs better and provide accommodation to other people in housing need;
g. support home owners and private sector tenants in carrying out necessary improvements to their homes within the context of the Council’s wider strategic objectives to improve quality of life, health and the environment;
h. enable key workers to gain access to housing in the Borough;
i. to contribute to the Decent Home Standard.
Assistance to be provided
6. The Council is of the opinion that it is the responsibility of owners of property to maintain and improve them as necessary at their own expense, however, it also recognises that this may be difficult for some people. In order to assist people, the Council will:
a. support residents in securing loan finance to carry out necessary works;
b. subject to conditions and where loan finance is not available, provide grants to owner-occupiers and tenants for carrying out works;
c. in appropriate cases, provide funding for necessary works in return for an appropriate proportion of the equity of the property;
d. provide guidance to residents on how to obtain appropriate financial advice in order to secure funding, how to obtain reliable contractors and how to arrange for works to be carried out;
e. provide support to owners in preparing specifications, obtaining contractors’ estimates, securing loans or grants and supervising works on site.
f. arrange special projects and schemes to support Waverley strategies and priorities. This may include negotiating with contractors to offer special packages of measures, which can be offered to residents at special competitive rates.
Assistance into Action
7. The Council has only limited capital funding for home improvements and is therefore only able to assist a small proportion of householders who need assistance. Furthermore, many residents did not qualify for assistance under the old grants scheme because of their financial circumstances although they still needed to have works done but were unable or unwilling to do so for various reasons. Using the forms of assistance outlined above and detailed below, Waverley intends to make better use of the funding it has available and also to free up private funding in an effective and sympathetic way so that many more homes in the Borough may be improved each year.
8. Each of the areas of assistance as listed above is based on meeting the needs of residents and the strategic objectives of the Council and needs specific detailed provisions and arrangements as follows:
iii. The grants will be available to any person whose income is so low that he or she does not pay income tax. This threshold is straightforward to use and enables assistance to be given to low-income households just above the benefits level.
iv. The maximum amount of grant shall be £5,000 until 31st March 2004 and thereafter shall be an amount set annually by the Council’s Executive Committee.
v. Such grants will be aimed at improving and repairing homes. The aspirations of occupiers will be taken into account, however, the Council’s priority will be the long-term condition of the property and its appropriateness for occupation. The key outcome will be the reduction in the number of properties becoming unfit. It is anticipated that, over a period of years, grants will contribute to a measurable reduction in the number of unfit dwellings in the Borough.
iv. This scheme will also be available to owners of property who wish to make that property available for letting to people in housing need. Works that would be funded by this route would include repairs and improvements and would also include conversions of large properties into flats or styles of accommodation for which there is a need.
v. Equity sharing will be aimed at improving, repairing and providing homes as well as meeting the occupiers’ wishes and aspirations. The key outcomes will be the making fit of unfit properties, the reduction in the number of properties becoming unfit, the return of vacant properties into residential use and the provision of additional units of accommodation. It is anticipated that, over a period of years, there will be a measurable reduction in the number of unfit dwellings in the Borough. It is also expected that there would be a reduction in the number of long-term vacant properties and an increase in the supply of affordable housing to those in need.
iii. The Waverley Care and Repair service will provide the advice and information or will redirect enquiries to other agencies, which are better able to provide it. Advice and information will be provided free of charge.
iv. Waverley staff will not provide financial advice. Applicants for the House Proud scheme will receive free financial advice as part of that package. Anybody else who needs such advice will be guided to their own financial advisor or informed how to find such an advisor. It will be made clear to anybody who may need to raise a loan that they should seek independent financial advice before entering into any commitments.
v. A range of information leaflets will be made available to people who make enquiries. These will cover the range of services available under this policy and the details of each of the different options. These leaflets will be available from all Council offices and through other agencies including Citizens Advice Bureaux, Age Concern Waverley, Surrey County Council and the Guildford and Waverley Primary Care Trust.
vi. The provision of good quality advice is aimed at enabling owners and occupiers of property to secure accommodation that is in good condition and meets their needs. It will enable them to secure repairs and improvements to property, to raise funding for such works, to secure the services of contractors and to arrange to move to more suitable accommodation if that is a more appropriate option. The key outcomes will be improved housing conditions, a reduction over time in the number of unfit properties, less demand on other parts of this service (for grants, loans etc.) and other public services (health, social services etc.).
ii. The service will be available to any resident of the Borough who lives in private sector accommodation and is either elderly (60 or over), disabled or in receipt of a means tested benefit and is not able to undertake these tasks for him or herself.
iii. The provision of the Care and Repair technical service is aimed at facilitating improvements and repairs for people who would otherwise be unable to have such works carried out. The key outcomes are improving the quality of life of disadvantaged or vulnerable occupiers and, over a period of time, reducing the number of unfit dwellings in the Borough.
iii. Any such additional projects would be subject to individual approval by the Council’s Executive Committee following consideration by the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
iv. The aims and key outcomes of such projects would be identified in the proposals presented to the Committees but would be in line with the specific strategic objectives that the project was supporting.
Disabled Facilities Grants
9. Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) are not directly affected by the Order except that discretionary DFGs are no longer available. Discretionary DFGs were available for works costing in excess of the mandatory maximum and for non-mandatory works which would be of benefit to the disabled person e.g. to provide facilities for employment at home. Applicants for DFGs will be eligible for assistance under this new scheme in order to raise funding for their contribution to the cost of adaptations or where the works cost in excess of the maximum permitted DFG, currently £25,000 .
11. Waverley will maintain current staffing in the Environmental Health section to process applications and determine what works are appropriate for Council support. In addition to this, Waverley will continue to provide the Care and Repair service with the support of Surrey County Council and the Department for Communities and Local Government (formerly ODPM) provided these funding streams remain in place. From April 2003 the core funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government for home improvement agencies will come through the Supporting People programme via Surrey County Council. The Council will seek ways of securing long-term funding for this service and, if resources can be identified, expand the service to provide support for more people who need it.
12. This is a new piece of legislation and, whilst it replaces an existing regime, it will offer more flexibility and discretion to the Council. The impact on demand is not clear at this stage and will be kept under review, but there is clearly scope for there to be an increase in demands both on revenue and capital resources. The 2001 census has highlighted changing local demography with a significant increase in the numbers of elderly people. This change is also likely to cause increasing demands on the resources for home improvement and adaptation
Access to Assistance
12. Each client needs individual support tailored to his or her needs. Since that person is unlikely to be completely clear what assistance may be available, it is important that access is easy and through a limited number of points. The lead section in Waverley Borough Council will continue to be the Environmental Health section of the Environment and Leisure Department. This section includes the Care and Repair service. People seeking assistance, either directly or via other people or agencies, will all access the service by contacting the Environmental Health section.
13. Information on support that is available will be provided to other agencies including Citizens Advice Bureaux, Age Concern Waverley, Surrey County Council and the Guildford and Waverley Primary Care Trust.
14. The services will be publicised, including contact details, in the Link magazine, the local press and the Waverley website as well as in all Waverley Council offices.
15. All potential clients of the service will be sent details which are clear, unambiguous and in plain English. They will be invited to complete a simple questionnaire but, if they have difficulty with completing such a questionnaire, they will be invited to telephone for assistance. The information and the questionnaire will also be available on the Waverley website. In all cases where it appears that Waverley will be able to provide assistance, it will then be necessary to arrange a personal visit to the client’s home.
16. Where loans are sought, these will be outside of Waverley and therefore free from any conditions applied by the Council.
17. The grants will be subject to the conditions outlined in paragraph 8.b.ii above. All grant applicants will be informed that conditions apply, both before and at grant approval stage. The conditions will be provided in writing. Details of grants and the conditions will be recorded in the Land Charges section and the conditions will be a local land charge.
18. Where equity sharing is undertaken, there will be conditions relating to on-going maintenance and insurance of the dwelling and occupation of the dwelling by the person who entered into the equity sharing agreement. These conditions will also be recorded as a local land charge and occupiers may be required to provide documentary evidence as appropriate. Similarly, the Council will be entitled to inspect the property to ensure that conditions are being fulfilled.
20. It is recognised that any policy is unlikely to take account of every individual situation. Each case therefore needs to be considered on its merits and this policy used as guidance for officers. In cases where officers consider that a decision should be made outside this policy, they will be able to refer it to the Council’s Executive Committee for a decision.
21. Where a person considers that his or her case should be considered as an exception to the policy or where he or she considers that the policy has not been correctly applied, there will be a right of appeal to the Council’s Director of Housing (DoH) who shall consider all of the information. If the DoH considers that the case should be considered outside of this policy, s/he will refer it to the Executive Committee for a decision. Where the DoH considers that the policy has been incorrectly applied, s/he shall direct the case officer in how the case shall be determined.
22. Waverley Borough Council is committed to providing a high quality service within the resources available. To this end, the following key service standards will apply:
o All requests for service will be responded to within 14 days;
o All full applications for grants will be determined within 3 months of receipt subject to sufficient capital resources being available. Where such resources are not available, clients will be advised when it is expected that resources will be available and grant determinations will be made within 3 months of such resources being available;
23. Service standards will be agreed with any partners who are providing loans or other services in partnership with the Council.
24. All service standards will be included in the information provided to clients and potential clients.