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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 16/10/2001
Waverley Homes - Business Plan 2002 and beyond



ANNEXE 3
WAVERLEY HOMES
BUSINESS PLAN 2002 and BEYOND

Preface

In 2000, the Government laid a requirement on all local authorities which own and manage housing for rent to produce a ‘Business Plan’ which considers all aspects of the landlord role and function.

This document is the second such ‘Business Plan’ and builds on the work undertaken last year. It relates to the Council’s Housing Revenue Account activities. This document provides the framework through which the Council’s landlord ‘business’ will be further developed and sets out the strategic direction.

Guidance from the Department of the Environment, Local Government and Regions requires HRA Business Plans to expressly comment on the various options open to the Council in relation to stock investment, including stock transfer. In looking at the issues facing the landlord role – not least dealing with backlog repairs in the housing stock – the Council considered the option of stock transfer in 1999. In July 2000, tenants voted to remain with the Council as their landlord. This Business Plan, therefore, is developed on the premise that stock transfer is not an available option.

In the summer of 2001, the Council resolved to restructure the Housing Department and to make a clear distinction between its role as a landlord and its role as a strategic housing authority - this is described more fully in this Plan. For purposes of distinguishing the Council’s landlord role from its other housing functions – of enabling, housing advice and homelessness and private sector housing – we have called the housing management function ‘Waverley Homes’. Throughout this document, therefore, the term ‘Waverley Homes’ relates to the Council’s role as a landlord and the activities it carries out which are funded through the Housing Revenue Account. Waverley’s Housing Strategy Statement covers the Council’s wider strategic intent as a statutory housing authority.

We would welcome any comments or observations from our tenants and other partners on this Business Plan and how we can improve its usefulness in the future.

David L January FCIH
Director of Housing
Waverley Borough Council
The Burys
Godalming
Surrey GU7 1HR

Tel: 01483 – 869361
Fax: 01483 - 869050
email: djanuary@waverley.gov.uk
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THE BUSINESS - WAVERLEY HOMES

Purpose

The main purpose of Waverley Homes is to manage, maintain and improve affordable homes for people in the Borough of Waverley who need them.

The prime role and function of Waverley Homes is the ownership and management of housing and related properties which involves the following:-

Tenancy Management
Sheltered Housing
Community Warden Service
Tenant Involvement
Lettings
Transfer Applications
Rent Arrears Recovery
Day-to-day Repairs
Programmed Maintenance
Cyclical Maintenance
Adaptations for People with Disabilities
Voids Management
Right-to-Buy
Service Charges

Property

At 31st March 2001, Waverley Homes owned 5,333 properties to rent. There are also another 98 shared-ownership properties in management. In addition, the HRA owns and manages some 1,360 garages and four shops.

Waverley Homes also manages 10 houses on behalf of the Council’s General Fund and a further 16 bungalows on behalf of the Council as Trustee of the Ewart Bequest.

Annexe A is a map of the Borough and illustrates the distribution of properties across the Borough. Generally speaking, it is relatively easy to let property, as there is a considerable demand/need for housing. There are virtually no long-term void properties as a result of difficulty in letting them.

Nearly 35% of the homes managed by Waverley Homes are designated for the elderly. Of the 5,333 properties, 404 are sheltered housing and a further 831 are part of Community Warden schemes for the elderly – this comprises some 23% of the stock. In addition, there another 628 properties – usually bungalows and low-rise blocks of flats which, historically, have been designated for the elderly. Some of the elderly persons accommodation is proving difficult to let – especially bedsits and flats on the first floor or above without lifts.

Waverley in Context

Waverley is one of eleven district councils in the County of Surrey. It is situated in the south-west corner of the county and covers approximately 133 square miles (33,534 hectares) and has common boundaries with Hampshire and West Sussex. The Borough is predominantly rural in character, but with a blend of historic towns, attractive villages, heather-clad commons, dense woodlands and rolling hills. There are four main areas of population - Cranleigh, Farnham, Godalming and Haslemere and sixteen rural parishes.

The Local Economy

Waverley is a prosperous place with less than 1% unemployment. The local economy includes agriculture, some manufacturing and service industries, research, the professions and administration. Being within easy commuting distance of London and other large regional towns, a high proportion (47%) of residents work outside the Borough. Around 50% of the working population are employed in the service sector. The Borough has demographic characteristics typical of the outer metropolitan area and a high proportion of households are in the professional and managerial categories (56.3%).

Health and Social Well-being

The population enjoys a relatively good level of health, with higher than average life expectancy than in England and Wales as a whole. NHS Performance Indicators: Standardised morality rates – Compendium of Clinical Health Indicators: July 2000 Whilst the Jarman Index (which measures deprivation in populations) indicates little deprivation, there are pockets of social deprivation. Public transport links across Waverley are generally poor, leading to potential isolation for older people and for people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities. Accessing services can, therefore, be a real issue for some people.

Population

Waverley has a resident population of 113,212 (1991 Census). The mid-year estimate for 1995 shows that 114,700 people live in Waverley. This indicates an increase in population of 1,488 (1.3%) over a four year period. Population distribution: