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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 27/03/2007
Affordable Housing; Sandy Hill, Farnham



APPENDIX O
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
EXECUTIVE - 27TH MARCH 2007

Title:

AFFORDABLE HOUSING; SANDY HILL, FARNHAM
[Ward Affected: Farnham Upper Hale]

Note pursuant to Section 100B (5) of the Local Government Act 1972

An annexe to this report contains exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded during the item to which the report relates, as specified in Paragraph 3 of the revised Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, namely;-

Summary and purpose:

This report recommends using monies from the Council’s affordable housing programme, in order to support the purchase and refurbishment of 6 x three bedroom family houses in Sandy Hill, Farnham, for rent.

These homes will be acquired by Pavilion Housing Association and will be available as affordable homes for rent for applicants on the Council’s Housing Needs Register.

Environmental implications:

The acquisition and refurbishment of an existing property avoids the need to develop on a greenfield site and is exempt from the restrictions on new-build developments which fall in the Special Protection Area, currently affecting many parts of Farnham.

Social/community implications:

The properties are all existing dwellings in a well-established mixed tenure residential area. The homes are all set in sustainable locations, with nearby schools (Hale County Primary, Farnham Heath End) and a Doctors’ Surgery (Farnham Centre for Health).

E-Government implications:

The properties will be available through the Council’s Choice Based Lettings Scheme; ‘Home Choice’, which applicants may choose to access through the internet.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no legal implications arising from this report.

The resource implications relate to the application of capital resources held by the Council, which are designated to support the development of affordable housing in Waverley. In the absence of other grant funding, Council resources are required in order to make the purchase and refurbishment of street properties for affordable housing for rent economically viable.
Background 1. The Council’s Housing Needs Register demonstrates a significant need for affordable housing, especially in the Farnham area. As at 7th February 2007, 2,215 households were seeking accommodation. 483 of these households indicated Upper Hale as one of their preferred areas for rehousing. 2. Supply is limited, with Waverley Borough Council owning 1,322 homes in Farnham (as of 1.4.06) and Registered Social Landlords owning some 752 homes. Of course, all these homes are occupied and it is not until a vacancy arises that a household from the Council’s Housing Needs Register can be re-housed in one of these dwellings.

3. Pavilion Housing Association intends to purchase six three bedroom houses on the Sandy Hill estate to let to people on the Council’s Housing Needs Register. According to the Council’s Housing Needs Register, (as of 6.2.07) 53 households have expressed an interest in a three-bedroom home in the Upper Hale area. The Council was only able to re-house 1 family into a three bedroom Council property in Upper Hale during 2005/6. 4. The only scheme for affordable housing with planning permission in the Farnham area is at Farnham Hospital, which includes 6 x 3 bed rented homes. Completion of these homes is still some way off. Therefore, the purchase and refurbishment of these six properties provides an opportunity which would enable an additional six families in housing need to be re-housed in the near future.

Sandy Hill Properties

5. The properties will all be owned and managed by Pavilion Housing Association, who has an existing management presence in the local area. A charge of 104 pw rent will be charged for each of the six homes. This is within the Housing Corporation’s Target Rent Levels.

6. Pavilion Housing Association will be using private finance to help fund the development but requires 240,000 of subsidy to find the balance of the scheme (see (Exempt) Annexe 1).

7. The association has already approached the Housing Corporation for grant funding. Competition between associations for allocations is fierce, the programme is heavily over-subscribed and Pavilion’s bid was unsuccessful on this occasion.

8. Pavilion has approached the Council for a grant of 240,000 in order to make this scheme financially viable. This works out at a subsidy from Waverley of 40,000 per rented unit, which is comparable to sums being awarded by the Housing Corporation and represents good value for money.

Using Waverley monies to refurbish six properties in Sandy Hill

9. The sum of 240,000 can be met from capital provision held by the Council for supporting new affordable housing.


Financial Implications

10. Historically, Waverley Borough Council had made available Local Authority Social Housing Grant and was reimbursed by the Housing Corporation for these grant payments to RSLs. The Local Government Act 2003 abolished this mechanism of reimbursement although under Section 25 of the Local Government Act 1988, Local Authorities can continue to give Social Housing Grant to Registered Social Landlords to achieve affordable housing provision.

11. Pavilion Housing Association will fund cost over-runs and will return to the Council any underspend.

Conclusion

12. A contribution from the Council would support the refurbishment of 6 affordable family houses for rent, which will be available for local families in housing need. Combined with private finance, the project represents good value for money for the Council. Without subsidy, the homes will have to be provided as shared ownership, which will not go towards meeting the most pressing housing need in Farnham.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive approves making a grant of 240,000 to Pavilion Housing Association to support the refurbishment of six properties on Sandy Hill, Farnham.

Background Papers (DoH)

Correspondence from Pavilion Housing Association.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Alice Baxter Telephone: 01483 523096

E-mail: abaxter@waverley.gov.uk




Comms/exec/2006-07/318