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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 16/10/2001
A Housing Strategy for Waverley 2002 and Beyond



ANNEXE 2

A Housing Strategy for Waverley
2002 and Beyond
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27
SUMMARY

Background

Waverley is an area of very high housing costs – both to buy and to rent
Only 3% of the housing stock is in the private rented sector – and it is good quality
Regional Factors e.g. close proximity to London influences the housing market
Staff recruitment and retention is an increasing problem
There is little disrepair, no renewal areas, only 250 houses in multiple occupation – the vast majority of which is in good condition
There is a high level of demand/need for affordable housing
There is an over-supply of affordable housing ‘designated for the elderly’
Low-income home-owners find it difficult to secure tradespeople and to afford them
There is a continuing need for supported accommodation for people with special needs – e.g. people with mental health problems

Key Priorities – Areas for Action

Retaining affordable housing as a key Corporate priority
Giving tenants a voice in decision-making and encouraging new ways of being involved
More affordable housing for families and single people/couples
Housing for Key Workers – securing funding through the Starter Home Initiative
Preventing Homelessness
A significant Local Authority Social Housing Grant programme
Rural housing for villages (with funding from the Housing Corporation)
Working in partnership with those who can help meet these needs
Developing the Home Improvement Agency
Increasing expenditure on Disabled Facility Grants and other grants for home-owners and proprietors of Houses in Multiple Occupation
Promoting Energy Efficiency
Promoting Egan compliant developments
Developing Partnering Arrangements
Housing Revenue Account planned maintenance resources being focussed on ‘worst first’ backlog repairs and areas which are most deprived

A Housing Strategy for Waverley
2002 and Beyond
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Part 1 INTRODUCTION

Waverley’s Housing Strategy:

provides a framework for developing Waverley Borough Council’s strategic role across all housing tenures, with scope to deal flexibly with changing circumstances

it is not a detailed position statement – supporting documents are set out in Annexe 1

explains our priorities

makes links with strategies and policies which have been developed by the Council and other organisations which serve the Waverley community

has a Borough-wide perspective but also reflects the diverse needs of the Borough’s differing communities

has been informed by the views of stakeholders

The Strategy has been developed through:

a clear assessment of need/demand

wide-ranging consultation and listening to our stakeholders and customers

setting clear objectives

the identification of resources available

deciding priorities and appraising options

defining programmes and outcomes

The Strategy will change as time goes on:

to respond to new legislation, initiatives and policies

as a result of monitoring and reviewing our performance, particularly under Best Value

reflecting resources available

to include new priorities identified by the community, needs assessments and agencies working to improve the well-being of the people of Waverley



The Council’s Housing role:

Strategic – taking a broad and objective view of the local housing market and the quality/standard of accommodation. Considering related issues – e.g. Crime and Disorder, regeneration, community renewal. Assess local housing need and how it might be best tackled – in the private and public sectors

Statutory - assessing housing needs, maintaining a Housing Needs Register, determining applications from people who present themselves as homeless and providing temporary accommodation; private sector housing grants – advice and support

Enabling – working in partnership with a wide range of housing and service providers: liaising on day-to-day service issues; making a direct contribution to housing developments (land, grant, premises etc.) co-ordinating initiatives (regeneration – e.g. East Street, Farnham, Kilnfields, Haslemere)

Service – managing 5,333 rented homes, 98 shared-ownership homes, letting homes and nominating to RSLs, renovation grants for home-owners, ‘Care and Repair’, sheltered housing, community alarms, housing advice etc.

Strategic/Landlord Split

In 1999, Council considered the option of stock transfer to deal with the issue of backlog repairs to the Council-owned housing stock and to generate further resources to direct towards providing more affordable housing. In July 2000, tenants voted to remain with the Council as their landlord. This Strategy, 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. The Housing Service is led by the Director of Housing, David January. The strategic/enabling/statutory function is headed by John Swanton, the Assistant Director of Housing. Waverley Homes – the landlord function is divided into two divisions within the Housing Department:

Housing Management – headed by Bernard Nichols; and
Repairs and Maintenance – headed by David Simmons.

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.

Main Challenges:

enabling/providing affordable housing to address high levels of identified need

securing resources to support a significant programme of affordable housing

ensuring services meet changing needs

maintaining and improving the Council’s housing stock and tackling backlog repairs

responding to the Governments agenda – restructuring HRA rents; the implementation of ‘Supporting People’;

balancing competing demands for finite resources

ensuring that stakeholders and tenants voices are clearly heard in decision making

Priorities and Action Plan
This is a working document with clear objectives and priorities against which performance can be monitored. Action points are identified throughout the document and are detailed in Part 10 of the Strategy.


Part 2: DEVELOPING THE HOUSING STRATEGY

A meaningful Housing Strategy cannot be developed in isolation. We have worked with our partners, listened to our community and involved various groups who are concerned with housing and related issues in developing this strategy. Annexe 2 details organisations which have been involved.

Community Strategy
The Council held its first ‘Community Strategy’ meeting in the spring. This involved representatives from a wide range of voluntary, business and public organisations who were asked to identify key issues, which the Waverley community needs to address over the coming years. A clear message came from the meeting – that affordable housing was a high priority:

it is increasingly difficult to recruit staff and key workers locally;
the Waverley needs a better ‘demographic balance’ to remain sustainable; and
so that families can remain together to provide mutual support.

Housing Strategy Conference
In March of this year, the Council hosted a Conference to assist in the development of the Housing Strategy. The main themes which emerged were:

the significant supply/demand gap and need for more affordable homes – for rent and low cost home ownership;
the need for key worker accommodation;
that rural housing schemes were important to village communities;
to maximise affordable housing opportunities through the planning system;
the importance of energy saving devices in homes – reducing heating costs for tenants and caring for the environment;
the opportunities to use new and more efficient methods of construction.

Waverley Housing Panel
The Council hosts a regular meeting with providers of special needs housing and representatives of organisation that make referrals to it – for example, the Community Mental Health Teams, Social Services, Probation Service. The Panel considers that there needs to be:

more supported accommodation for young people – 16/17;
more accommodation for people with mental health problems;
better access to self-contained accommodation – where there can be peripatetic support;
a hostel for single homeless people.

Partners Strategic Priorities
In our strategy, we are striving to ensure that we assist other public bodies by being consistent with their strategic priorities. These are detailed at Annexe 3.



Part 2: WAVERLEY IN CONTEXT

Location
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.

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:
Ethnicity
The ethnic profile shows a predominately white population with all other ethnic groups making-up only 1.3% of the population. This is a significantly lower representation than the national average. Because of this relatively low level of ethnic groups in the Borough, the Council needs to be particularly aware that the needs of these groups are not inadvertently overlooked.
Age Profile
The Borough has a higher proportion of elderly people with 21% of the population being over retirement age compared with 19% county-wide. The number of residents over the age of 75 has risen by more than a third since 1981. There also appears to have been a net loss of young people, with nearly 3,800 fewer residents aged 20 to 29 than there was in the 10 to 19 age group in 1981.

Interestingly, although there is a growing number of older people, this is not translated into a commensurate housing need/demand for this group. Most older people in Waverley are adequately housed and there are relatively few older people on the Council’s Housing Needs Register. The area of concern is the inability of younger people to afford housing in the private market – either to buy or to rent; and the inability of the affordable rented sector to match demand.

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 (one of the measures of deprivation in populations) indicates little deprivation, there are pockets of social deprivation. Similarly, the DTLR Index of Deprivation also suggests there is little deprivation Waverley Community Profile 2000 – Produced jointly by Waverley Borough and Surrey County Councils (please note: the higher the score the greater the deprivation) – as can be seen from the table below. To put Waverley and Surrey authorities in the national context:
Waverley, by comparison scores 0.00 – along with the other remaining six local authority districts in Surrey. The five highest scoring Wards in Waverley are: Alfold and Dunsfold (3.25); Milford (2.03); Elstead, Peperharow and Thursley (1.62); Godalming North East and South West (1.48) and Cranleigh West (1.44). There are acknowledged shortcomings with any measure of disadvantage – particularly in the Surrey context, however, it is worth noting that Surrey districts and wards tend to gain positive scores in respect of overcrowded households and those lacking basic amenities.
ACTION POINT 3

Public Transport
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. Public and Community Transport issues have featured strongly in various consultation exercises with members of the Waverley community.
ACTION POINT 4



Part 3 THE HOUSING MARKET IN WAVERLEY

Waverley is within relatively easy commuting distance of London – being only some 40 miles away and well served by mainline train stations. The ‘London factor’ has a significant impact on the local housing market. Demand for all types and tenure of housing in Waverley is strong (with the exception of rented bedsits for the elderly).

We know that households are moving out of London – usually to start families – and are able to use the capital value released by the sale of their London property to purchase a home in Waverley. People with London-weighted salaries are also better able to afford to purchase property in Waverley. Over the years, these two factors have put significant upward pressure on property prices and have enabled the ‘gentrification’ of a number of areas and properties – particularly in rural areas - which, in turn, means that local people find it nearly impossible to compete in the housing market.

The Waverley housing market is also somewhat distorted by the relatively high level of detached (and therefore more expensive properties) in the Borough and relatively low level of smaller terraced property – which would, ordinarily, be ‘first-time buyer’ property.

There are 48,627 dwellings in Waverley. Of these, very few have been ‘empty’ for any length of time. The buoyancy of the housing market leads to frictional void periods in the private sector. Most dwellings, which have stood empty for 2 years or more, are owned by public authorities – such as the Secretary of State for Health. The majority of the long-term voids in the private sector are tied-up in probate issues. Empty Homes Strategy – Waverley Borough Council The Council has detailed information on empty homes in all sectors and works pro-actively to encourage property owners to bring empty homes back into use.
ACTION POINT 5

Owner-occupation
81% of households in Waverley are owner-occupiers, with half of these owning their home outright (i.e. they have no mortgage).

During the year 2000, the average price for all dwellings in Waverley was 220,317, which is 104% of Surrey’s average house price. The cheapest dwellings in the Borough are terraces (15% of sales) selling at an average price of 131,825, and flats (22.4% of sales) selling at an average price of 111,095.

Affordability
First-time buyers need incomes of at least 30,000 per annum to access the bottom end of the housing market and this means that there is a clear affordability problem in Waverley for low-income households who are currently seeking to access local housing. The Housing Needs Survey Housing Need Survey 2001 – David Couttie Associates revealed that 52% of households have incomes of less than 30,000. The Survey also identified that 91% of concealed households had incomes of less than 30,000.


Private Sector Home Ownership Issues
The general affluence in Waverley is evidenced, in part, through properties that are well maintained. Levels of unfitness are low by national standards. 1995 Private Sector House Condition Survey However, we know that there are low-income home-owners who are living in poor accommodation but do not have the resources to afford improvements. There is evidence of increasing demand for Home Repairs Assistance Grant (for minor works) from low-income home-owners and for Renovation Grants for improvements and/or conversions

One of the ‘knock-on’ effects of living in an affluent area is that work is currently plentiful for the trades – builders, plumbers, and electricians. At present it is difficult and costly to get trades-people.

Many older home-owners are finding that their homes are not appropriate to their needs and that adaptations are required. Again, there is a growing demand for Disabled Facilities Grant for adaptations. There is significant under-occupation in the private sector. In 2001, the Council and its partners established a Home Improvement Agency to help meet the needs of older owner-occupiers who need assistance. The Council also supports the work of the ‘Age Concern Handyman Service’ and operates its own Care and Repair scheme.
ACTION POINT 6

The Private Rented Sector
3% of Waverley’s population live in private rented accommodation. Most of the private rented sector in Waverley caters for lettings to professional people. A three-bedroom house can easily command a monthly rent of 800 upwards. There are a significant number of large houses that are let for many thousands of pounds each month. In terms of physical condition, generally speaking, the private rented sector is well maintained and the Council receives few complaints through its Environmental Health Section. ACTION POINT 7

Houses in Multiple-Occupation
There are approximately 250 houses in multiple-occupation in the Borough; these tend to be larger properties divided into good quality self-contained flats. The small number let as bedsits are of a generally satisfactory condition, as evidenced by a survey of larger HMOs carried out in 1998, which found only one such property to be unfit*. The Council promotes its HMO Grants to proprietors of HMOs who are trying to improve their services and accommodation. The Council will only introduce an HMO Registration Scheme when required to do so.

Residential and Nursing Homes
An area of concern, which has social care implications, are the number of Nursing Homes and Residential Care Homes for the elderly which have closed in Waverley over the last two years.


The Public Rented Sector
16% live in accommodation provided by the Council or a Registered Social Landlord (RSL). Waverley Borough Council owns and manages some 5,333 properties for rent (35% of which is ‘designated’ for the elderly) and the RSL sector some 1,348 (15% of which is ‘designated’ for the elderly). ACTION POINT 8


Part 4 HOUSING DEMAND AND NEED

Demand for Housing
“… household growth is a major factor in the region …” Investment Strategy 2001/2002 – The Housing Corporation (South East Region)

As in most areas, demography impacts on the demand for housing in Waverley. It is generally recognised that the structure of the ‘family’ is now changing and that there are more split families and single households. There is also an ageing population with people living longer. The census statistics show a steady decline in the number of people living in the Borough who are in their late teens and twenties – primarily because they are unable to access the housing market.

As mentioned earlier, the close proximity to London and good commuting links to other areas of the south-east and south-west, also put pressure on the housing market in Waverley.

Housing Need - Evidence
The Council’s Housing Needs Register (HNR) shows a continuing demand for homes for rent and shared ownership. At 1.4.2001 there were some 1,201 households on the HNR, of which 182 households required specialised dwellings (e.g. elderly or disabled), 492 were households with or expecting children.

Furthermore the independent Housing Needs Study Waverley Housing Needs Study 2001 – David Couttie Associates undertaken in early 2001 found evidence of 2,252 individuals in some 1,600 concealed households that – is to say, children living with their parents or households with grandparents or lodgers. Many of these ‘children’, however, were in their 30s and 40s, and in some cases there were three generations of a family living in over-crowded accommodation. Many of those had not applied to the Council for affordable housing.

Homelessness
At 31.3.2001, there were 133 homeless households in temporary accommodation. During 2000/01, 65 households were accepted as being homeless. Adjacent Boroughs are finding an increasing level of homelessness and, because there are so few Bed and Breakfast establishments locally, are having to use temporary Bed and Breakfast accommodation as far afield as Reading, Slough, Bognor Regis and Worthing. It is a matter of concern that this trend might affect Waverley.

The most recent Rough Sleepers head-count was undertaken in November 1999, which identified eight people sleeping rough, and evidence of potentially another eight people. The Council continues to support a Winterwatch project offering direct access hostel facilities through the winter months and works in partnership with Firstbase for the Homeless and English Churches Housing Association.


Key Worker Housing
“The lack of affordable housing supply is causing labour supply and social problems.” “Building a World Class Region – An Economic Strategy for the SE of England” October 1999 - SEERA

The high cost of properties in Waverley means that people on modest and low incomes are not able to access the home-ownership market. Indeed, to access home-ownership, household incomes need to be in excess of 30,000 per annum. Businesses and other service providers (e.g. NHS Hospital Trusts, the Ambulance Service, Bus companies, local businesses, care providers and the Council) are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit staff because of the high cost of home-ownership and the relatively small and expensive private rented sector Housing for Key Workers in Surrey – report by the Property Research Unit, University of Cambridge, July 2000. The evidence of need for key work housing was compelling enough for the Surrey-wide bid for ‘Starter Home Initiative’ to pass the first stage of vetting by the (then) DETR. It is hoped that the bid – made by Surrey local authorities and Thames Valley Housing Association will provide resources to enable some 50 key worker households to secure accommodation in each of the eleven districts over a three year period.
ACTION POINT 9

Demand for Special Needs Housing
The demand for a range of accommodation for people with special needs who require support in addition to just ‘bricks and mortar’ is as acute as it is for those requiring general needs housing. The Waverley Special Needs Housing Panel (a multi-agency group of providers and service commissioners) identified that there was a pressing need for

more supported accommodation for young people – 16/17;
more accommodation for people with mental health problems;
better access to self-contained accommodation – where there can be peripatetic support;
a hostel for single homeless people.
ACTION POINT 10

The Government’s intention to introduce a new financial framework, called ‘Supporting People’, is presenting a range of challenges for providers of supported housing, providers of sheltered housing schemes, housing benefit authorities and the county-wide organisation which will have to implement the new arrangements. Surrey is well placed to meet this challenge with good inter-agency working already in place. The Council will be working with its partners to more clearly identify the supply of supported housing, the demand for it – both met and unmet need, and critically assess the suitability of what is being provided.
ACTION POINT 11




Supply/Demand Gap for Affordable Housing
“… it is very clear that a need for quality affordable housing
is the most pressing issue in several parts of the region” Regional Housing Statement 2000 – Housing Corporation/Government Office of the South East

There is a clear supply/demand gap in relation to affordable housing. To illustrate the point, the following accommodation became available through Council vacancies in 2000/2001 to let to households on the Housing Needs Register:
The following number of households were nominated to RSLs:

In 2000/2001, there were 262 lettings of which 158 were into ‘elderly designated’ property. This compares with a Housing Needs Register [which is a clear under-estimate of total need/demand] of 1,201 households, of which 182 were eligible to be considered for elderly designated properties or who needed properties that are adapted for people with physical disabilities. In addition, of the 1,201 households on the HNR 492 required family-size accommodation and 527 were single people or couples. In simple terms:

492 households were chasing 104 vacancies of family sized accommodation;
182 households were chasing 158 vacancies of elderly designated property; and
527 single people/couples were chasing 10 vacancies.
ACTION POINT 12



Part 5 RESOURCES TO TACKLE HOUSING ISSUES

The resources likely to be available to tackle the housing issues facing Waverley can be identified as follows:

Social Housing Grant from the Housing Corporation
Local Authority Social Housing Grant from the Council
Local Authority Land
Local Authority General Fund Capital to support private sector grants – Disabled Facilities Grant, Home Repairs Assistance Grant (for minor works), Renovation Grants and HMO Grants
Capital Funding for special initiatives from central Government – e.g. the Starter Home Initiative, Capital Challenge Fund
Contributions from the reserves of Registered Social Landlords
Private Finance
Sites being made available as a result of Section 106 Planning Agreements
General Fund Revenue funding – primarily to fund homeless households in temporary accommodation
Existing housing stock which needs re-modelling

A number of these potential resources – for example, planning gain through section 106 Agreements – cannot be accurately predicted because these matters rely on third parties making their own decisions about whether to, and when, make a planning application. It is difficult to make firm forward plans when, in the Waverley context, it is necessary to take advantage of opportunities as and when they arise - either through the Planning system or when bids for capital/revenue funding are invited.

In terms of the Council’s role as housing enabler the Council has made the following commitments:

2001/2002
,000
2002/2003
,000
2003/2004
,000
2004/2005
,000
LA Social Housing Grant
2,593,076
1,600,000
1,600,000
1,600,000
General Fund – Grants to the Private Sector
325,000
400,000
430,000
430,000
Private Sector Stock Condition Survey
50,000
TOTAL
2,918,076
2,050,000
2,030,000
2,030,000



The Council as Landlord has the following financial resources available:

2001/2002
,000
2002/2003
,000
2003/2004
,000
2004/2005
,000
Revenue Contribution
200,000
Usable Capital Receipts
2,481,690
1,600,000
1,600,000
1,600,000
Major Repairs Reserve
3,015,000
2,800,000
2,600,000
2,400,000
TOTAL
5,696,690
4,400,000
4,200,000
4,000,000

In addition, the Council is actively looking at land disposals for social housing and is making land available to RSLs at:

Cobbetts Way, Farnham to Thames Valley Housing Association to develop 35 homes for rent and shared ownership which is to be funded by the Housing Corporation;

Crondall Lane, Farnham to Surrey Community Development Trust for four flats – funded by Waverley through LASHG

Dunsfold to English Rural Housing Association for rent and shared ownership, funded by the Housing Corporation.
ACTION POINT 13




Part 6 HOUSING AND PLANNING

The supply of new housing in Surrey is largely determined by planning policies. Development outside the four population centres and identified rural villages is tightly constrained by Green Belt and other designations. Strong market-demand is reflected in land values and house prices that are second only to London.

A Corporate Approach
Housing policy is an important part of Waverley’s Local Plan, and is supported corporately. The Housing and Planning Departments have a strong track record of working together, enabling the provision of new affordable housing. The 1997 Housing Needs Survey Waverley Housing Needs Survey (1997) David Couttie Associates
made a significant contribution to the formulation of the Replacement Local Plan. As well as justifying affordable housing policies, it also supported a policy requiring smaller ‘market’ units to meet the growing need from 1 and 2 person households. More recently, 2001 Housing Needs Survey Waverley Housing Needs Survey (2001) David Couttie Associates



comms/executive/2001-02/056 provides evidence of a growing need and demand for housing in Waverley.

Planning framework
The Planning and Development Department prepares the Local Plan for Waverley. The Replacement Local Plan will provide a policy framework up to 2006, superseding the 1993 Waverley Borough Local Plan. The Local Plan follows a statutory process with formal consultation stages, and a public inquiry into objections to the Plan, before it is adopted. The Local Plan must conform to the Surrey Structure Plan, and regional and national policy guidance.

Land Availability
The Local Plan describes how the amount of new housing allocated by the County Structure Plan will be accommodated. Housing permissions and completions are monitored, and the results published in an annual Housing Land Availability Statement. This shows how the level of housing provision in the Borough compares with that required by the Structure Plan.

The Structure Plan requires Waverley to accommodate 2,200 new dwellings between 1991 and 2006. At March 31st 2000, 1986 dwellings had been built since 1991, leaving only 214 to be built before 2006. The next Structure Plan will address housing requirements from 2001 to 2016. Waverley’s future allocation will be dealt with through a revision or alteration to the Local Plan.

Affordable Housing
Government planning policy on affordable housing is set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 on Housing (PPG3), and Circular 6/98. This guidance indicates that where there is a demonstrable lack of affordable housing, authorities can negotiate with developers for the inclusion of an element of affordable housing on substantial new housing developments. Housing policies in the Replacement Local Plan, informed by the 1997 Housing Needs Survey, reflect this guidance, aiming to ensure that housing opportunities are made available for people on lower incomes.


One particular difficulty in Waverley is the limited number of housing sites, which fall within the site size thresholds. There are no sites allocated for housing in the Local Plan. The housing supply comes mainly from windfall sites and infill development within the towns and identified villages. Within the four main towns only developments of 0.5 hectares or 15 dwellings fall within the policy. In identified rural settlements the threshold is 0.2 hectares or 5 dwellings. Existing funding arrangements for housing associations often do not enable them to react swiftly to new development opportunities that may arise through PPG3/Circular 6/98.
ACTION POINT 14

Affordable Housing in Rural Areas
The Local Plan, in line with Government policy, allows that, in exceptional circumstances, rural restraint policies can be set aside to allow small scale affordable housing schemes to help meet the needs of villages. The Council has a good track record of working with Parish Councils and the Rural Housing Trust to enable affordable housing schemes in rural communities:

ParishCommentsUnits
AlfoldCompleted rural scheme
24 completed
BramleyCurrently in discussion with Parish Council who have identified 4 possible sites. Local Needs Survey has been completed.
ChiddingfoldCompleted rural scheme
4 completed
DunsfoldCompleted one scheme and application currently with planning department for a second phase.
12 completed
9 proposed
ElsteadCurrently in discussion with Parish Council who are trying to identify suitable sites.
EwhurstCurrently in discussion with Parish Council, possible site identified.
FrenshamCurrently in discussion with Parish Council.
HambledonCompleted rural scheme April 2001.
5 completed
TilfordCompleted rural scheme
8 completed
WitleyCurrently in discussion with Parish Council, local needs survey completed, site identified, scheme drawn up, public consultation complete, plans about to be submitted for planning.
15 proposed
WonershCurrently in discussion with Parish Council, two possible sites identified
ACTION POINT 15
Housing Plus
The Council’s approach to new housing development takes into account the sustainability of the areas concerned. The Replacement Local Plan makes clear reference to the need for community facilities to ensure that social activities and opportunities are available to develop the life of an area.


Part 8 AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROVIDERS

Most homes in Waverley are privately owned and, as has been demonstrated earlier, the private sector is well maintained and there is a buoyant housing market. This, however, means that a significant number of households cannot afford to access the private sector, particularly when an income of 30,000 is needed to be able to acquire the least expensive homes in the Borough.

Affordable housing providers are, therefore, important in meeting the housing needs of the Borough – through housing for rent, shared-ownership, key-worker housing, supported housing for people with special needs.

The largest social landlord is the Council owning some 5,333 homes for rent and 98 properties on a shared ownership basis. At 31.3.2001 registered social landlords owned and managed some 1,348 properties in the Borough – many of which are designated for the elderly. The affordable housing providers are detailed in Annexe 4

The Council is encouraging all social landlords to:

be mindful of the needs of minority groups who live in the Waverley area;
develop more robust tenant involvement;
promote energy efficiency;
develop partnering arrangements on new developments;
think creatively about how their housing stock and estates can better meet the needs of today’s customers and change accordingly;
respond positively to the challenges of Supporting People;
work to secure additional resources to help address housing need in the Borough
work co-operatively, rather than competitively;
consider the housing needs of all who cannot access the housing market in Waverley.

Earlier in 2001, the Council decided to formalise its arrangements with RSLs and recognised a small number of RSLs as preferred providers with which it will give LA SHG. The rationale behind this approach is to encourage and promote certain RSLs to develop a better housing management and local presence in the Waverley community, rather than simply allowing the number of RSLs operating in the Borough to continue to rise.

The Council’s partners who provide affordable accommodation are involved in the Best Value Review of Allocations and Nominations, which is taking place during this financial year.
ACTION POINT 16

The Council is working with the Housing Corporation to promote the Egan principles – working with Thames Valley Housing Association in Farnham where 35 homes will be built under the Amphion system, and to support rural housing in villages.


Waverley Homes
The largest affordable housing landlord in the Borough is the Council. For the purposes of distinguishing the Council’s role as landlord from its other strategic and statutory roles, the landlord function is being termed ‘Waverley Homes’. A separate document – which compliments the Housing Strategy Statement is Waverley Homes’ Business Plan. The following paragraphs are extracts from that Business Plan and outline the main thrusts of Waverley Homes activities over the coming years. These priorities are consistent with the Council’s strategic direction for affordable housing within the Borough.

Options
It is worth noting that in 2000, the Council’s tenants voted on a proposal to undertake a Large Scale Voluntary Transfer. The Council’s tenants voted to remain with the Council as its landlord. Furthermore, in 2001, the Council became ‘debt-free’ and so the financial advantages of pursuing the ‘Arms Length Company’ route are questionable – as the Council may well not wish to have borrowing permissions that will take it away from its debt-free position. In any event, the Best Value Reviews for the housing service are planned over a five-year period. The Council will carefully consider the merits and de-merits of Arms Length Company status in due course. The Council’s current position in relation to its role as a landlord is to continue on a steady course maximising the resources available through the Major Repairs Allowance and critically examining its property holdings.

Listening to our Customers
Waverley Homes takes the views of its customers seriously. In 2001, we are working with the Tenants Panel and TPAS to explore how Waverley Homes can better develop opportunities for tenants to be involved and help in the decision-making about their homes and places where they live. The 2000 Tenant Satisfaction Survey told us that:

36% felt there were outstanding issues regarding repairs and maintenance; and
87% of tenants would like an appointment service for repairs;

51% felt replacement windows were the main priority for improvement;

– unfortunately, replacing windows does not feature as a priority in our backlog repairs programme as there are so many ‘health and safety’ related repairs which need attention. Nevertheless, we recognise that this is an issue for tenants and so are reinstating a small window replacement programme linked to external cladding/insulation programmes – these will be focused in areas of particular disadvantage (as identified in the DTLR Deprivation Index).


32% would like the option to pay their rent by direct debit;

The Tenants Panel and tenants groups are increasingly concerned about the growing prevalence of abandoned cars on estates. A pilot project is being run during 2001 in partnership with a commercial firm to manage apparently ‘abandoned’ cars on our Council estates – should this prove successful, the project may be applied more widely across the Borough.

New-build
Over the next few years, Waverley Homes will be involved in a small number of important new-build schemes, the most significant being that at Kilnfields, Haslemere which will be a partnership with Thames Valley Housing Association as part of a wider regeneration scheme. Waverley Homes will also consider the development of a number of two-bedroom bungalows to encourage older people under-occupying family houses to move. Generally speaking, however, it is not the intention to undertake new-build to provide additional housing stock. Mindful of demands, which are not matched commensurately by resources, its priority will be investment in the existing housing stock to bring properties up to standard, rather than funding new-build projects. The Council will use its enabling role to promote additional social housing in the Borough.

Stock Condition
A high priority is consideration of sub-standard housing stock and the refurbishment/replacement needs of the following properties:

Rowland House/Ivy Hall, Cranleigh - sheltered housing scheme
Dorlcote, Witley - sheltered housing scheme
Kilnfields, Haslemere – general needs housing estate
Oakbraes, Godalming - general needs block of flats

A priority for expenditure will be investment in backlog repairs which have been identified through the Stock Condition Survey as being urgent/essential.
ACTION POINT 17

Homeless Hostels
As part of its business, Waverley Homes manages a number of hostels that provide temporary accommodation for homeless households. It is proposed to start a programme of refurbishment of these hostels starting in 2002/2003.
ACTION POINT 18


Properties Designated for the Elderly
Of the 5,333 homes managed by Waverley Homes, 35% (some 1,800) are believed to be designated for the elderly. By comparison, the vast majority of those registered on the Council’s Housing Needs Register are households with families or single people and couples and are not eligible for elderly designated properties. Some of our elderly designated properties are becoming less easy to let.

During the coming year, Waverley Homes will look at the properties believed to be designated for the elderly and will make proposals about whether some of them should be de-designated and how that can be sensitively managed over a period of time.
ACTION POINT 19

Conversions
As part of the Council’s drive to secure more affordable housing for families, Waverley Homes will explore the viability of converting smaller accommodation into larger family properties – perhaps by converting two flats into one house. This is a long-term exercise.

Garages
Waverley Homes manages approximately 1,360 garages [as at 31st March 2001], which generate 320,000 per annum. However, the stock condition survey identified that they needed some 2 million spent on them to bring them up to standard. The Council will be considering how best to address the issue of garages – including the option of selective demolition, some replacement and what to do with any vacant sites which become available as a result.
ACTION POINT 20

Stock Disposals

Where there are properties that become vacant, and are found to be costly to renovate and have a relatively significant value, active consideration will be given to the option of disposal on the open market. This course of action helps Waverley Homes to avoid the need for very costly investment in particular properties and provides 100% useable capital receipts for reinvestment into the Council’s own housing stock.

The HRA owns a small number of miscellaneous (i.e. non-estate) properties which have been ‘inherited’ from predecessor authorities. As and when these properties become vacant, the Council will carry out a ‘cost benefit analysis’ and actively consider the merits of retention or disposal given the costs of major repairs against the capital value and need for that type of accommodation.

For example, in 2001, Waverley Homes sold a small Grade II listed building which needed over 80,000 of renovation works. The property was very small and did not readily lend itself to social housing letting. Apart from realising over 140,000 – all of which is a usable capital receipt - Waverley Homes does not continue to have the long-term maintenance responsibilities for a Grade II listed building.

ACTION POINT 21


Part 9 HOUSING ADVICE
Homelessness
Homelessness continues to be an issue for Waverley. At 31.3.2001, there were 133 homeless households in temporary accommodation, and during the course of the year 196 homeless households were placed in temporary accommodation. During 2000/01, 65 households were accepted as being homeless. The most recent Rough Sleepers head-count was undertaken in November 1999, which identified eight people sleeping rough, and evidence of potentially another eight people.

Of concern is a trend being experience by our neighbouring local authorities who have had a significant increase in the number of homeless applicants. This is being exacerbated by fewer lettings (as has been the case in Waverley) - giving rise to the need to use Bed and Breakfast as temporary accommodation. Our own experience is that it is increasingly difficult to secure Bed and Breakfast placements locally and we know that some of our neighbouring authorities are sending homeless households as far afield as Bognor Regis, Worthing, Slough and Reading.

Housing Advice
Last year, the Council’s Housing Advisor gave advice to 387 clients and some 221 were diverted from ‘homelessness’ and managed to find a solution to their homeless situation. The Council is keen to develop the Housing Advice service as it provides an effective preventative measure to homeless. The Council is also well supported by the four local Citizen Advice Bureaux in Waverley who receive many enquiries of a housing nature. The Council makes substantial grant funding to the local Citizen Advice Bureaux.

Housing Needs of 16 and 17 year olds
The Government intends to place further duties on local authorities to secure accommodation for young people who are aged 16 and 17 and who need accommodation. The Council is working with the Emmaus Project (Aldershot) to secure property in which young people can be supported to develop their life and social skills and to enable them to maintain a tenancy and find employment or education/vocational training in the longer term.
ACTION POINT 22

Housing Strategy

Care Leavers and vulnerable 16/17 year olds

Waverley Borough Council is represented on the joint ‘Housing and Social Services Strategy Project Group’ which was set up to produce an ‘Accommodation Strategy for Care Leavers and vulnerable 16/17 year olds’.

A joint strategy and protocol has been agreed which will be used across Surrey with some local variations. The group is currently undertaking a ‘mapping exercise’ to identify all ‘suitable’ accommodation across the county and in the surrounding areas. When this exercise is completed, the gaps in provision can be identified and steps taken to enable further provision as required.

Joint training will be undertaken during the summer and autumn for both social services and housing staff.

Rough Sleepers
The Council is working with English Churches Housing Group and a local support group – Firstbase for the Homeless – to provide a direct access hostel in Farnham. Funding has been promised from Rushmoor, Hart and Waverley Borough Councils to enable this scheme to proceed.
ACTION POINT 23

Domestic Violence Refuge
Domestic Violence remains a feature of life in Surrey and is a key issue for the Crime and Disorder Strategy in Waverley. Working with neighbouring local authorities of Guildford and Mole Valley, as well as the Housing Corporation, capital and revenue funding has been secured so that a Refuge to serve south-west Surrey has been developed and will open in the spring of 2001.

The Council has also resolved to appoint a Domestic Violence Outreach Worker to help support people who are victims of domestic violence and provide advice and guidance. This post will complement that of the Housing Advisor and should be in post by the autumn of 2001.
ACTION POINT 24

HELP - Homeless Education Liaison Project
The Emmaus Project is running a series of peer training sessions in schools and youth clubs where young homeless people tell their own stories of what is like to be homeless and the challenges and difficulties they have had to face. The aim is to help educate other young people on the realities of homelessness and attempt to help prevent youth homelessness in doing so.



Part 10 A PLAN FOR ACTION

Action Point
Issue
Action to be taken
By When?
1.Equality of OpportunityRecognition that although minority groups are small in number that ‘out of sight’ is not ‘out of mind’.
    Recording of Racial Incidents.

    Follow past practice.
    On-going
    2.Affordable housing needed for younger householdsMaintain affordable housing as a key Council priority

    Working with RSLs continue to fund a programme of housing for rent and shared-ownership.

    Secure affordable housing opportunities through the planning system and Section 106 Agreements
    On-going




    On-going


    On-going
    3.Make areas of deprivation a priority for investmentUndertake external wall-insulation and double-glazing to properties at Ockford Ridge, Godalming

    Support affordable rural housing scheme for Dunsfold (Phase 2)
    2002/03
    2003/04


    2001/02 and 2002/03
    4.Community TransportWorking with Surrey County Council, the Countryside Agency, the DTLR, Parish Councils and the voluntary sector to promote a Borough-wide Community Transport project2001/02
    2002/03
    and on-going
    5.Empty HomesBecause of the relatively low scale level of empty homes, continue to monitor and encourage re-useOn-going

    6.Private Sector RenewalDevelop the Home Improvement Agency

    Increase levels of investment for DFGs and Minor Repairs Assistance.

    Continue to support the Age Concern Waverley Handyman Service

    Undertake a Private Sector Stock Condition Survey
    2001 and beyond

    2002/03 and onwards


    On-going



    2002
    7.Private Rented SectorContinue to provide a Rent Deposit Scheme for people trying to access this sectorOn-going
    8.Balance of elderly accommodation and general needs housingWith RSLs research and consider the ‘de-designation’ of accommodation designated for the elderly.

    Work with Mount Green HA to de-commission a difficult-to-let (bedsits) sheltered housing scheme and re-build to provide general needs housing
    2001/02 onwards



    2002/2003
    9.Key Worker HousingWork with RSLs to provide sub-market lettings and affordable home-ownership for key workers

    Work with Surrey Heath HA to develop key worker ‘sub-market’ rented accommodation at Hindhead

    Work with Thames Valley Housing Association to maximise the Starter Homes Initiative funding
    On-going



    2001/02
    2002/03



    2001/02
    2002/03
    2003/04
    10.Special Needs HousingEnable more special needs accommodation2001/02
    2002/03
    2003/04

    11.Supporting PeopleWork in partnership to meet the challenges of ‘Supporting People’2001/02
    2002/03
    2003/04
    12.Supply/Demand GapA key Corporate priority for the Council is that of helping to address the supply/demand gap for a range of affordable housing. The Council will continue to promote an active programme of RSL development in the Borough2001/02
    2002/03
    2003/04
    2004/05
    13.ResourcesWork with our partners to attract capital and revenue resources to Waverley for affordable housing – particularly the Housing Corporation and Government initiative funding

    Waverley Borough Council will continue to dispose of land to RSLs

    Waverley will continue to make LASHG available to the greatest extent possible within the Council’s Financial Strategy
    2001/2002
    2002/2003
    2003/2004
    2004/2005
    2005/2006
    14.Planning FrameworkWaverley will maximise opportunities for affordable housing through the planning system

    Waverley will tend not to ask for commuted sums in relation to Section 106 Planning Agreements, but would rather achieve affordable housing
    2001/2002
    2002/2003
    2003/2004
    2004/2005
    15.Rural Housing Work with Parish Councils and the Rural Housing Trust to meet the housing needs of local villages

    Maximise funding opportunities with the Housing Corporation
    2001/2002
    2002/2003
    2003/2004
    2004/2005

    16.Best ValueInvolve our partner RSLs in Best Value Reviews where relevant2001/02
    2002/03
    2003/04
    2004/05
    17.HRA Stock ConditionFocus on Backlog Repairs2001/02
    2002/03
    2003/04
    2004/05
    18.Homeless HostelsImprove the fabric of Homeless Hostels2001/02
    2002/03
    2003/04
    2004/05
    19.Elderly Designated AccommodationReview the elderly designated housing stock and consider selective de-designations2001/02
    2002/03
    20.GaragesUndertake a review of garages across Waverley and determine how best to proceed2001/02
    2002/03
    21.Stock DisposalsCritically examine the disposal option for properties which are high value and need major repairsOn-going
    22.Young Single HomelessIntroduce Surrey Wide Protocol. Respond positively to the needs of 16/17 year olds. Work with the Emmaus Project to find supported accommodation in Waverley for this client group.2001/02
    2002/03
    2003/04
    2004/05
    23.Rough SleepersOpen Winterwatch in 2001
    Provide LA SHG to support the development of a hostel for the homeless
    2001
    2001/02
    2002/03
    24.Domestic ViolenceDevelop the Council’s advice and support capability

    Provide revenue funding for the south-west Surrey Domestic Violence Refuge
    2001/2002


    2001/2002
    2002/2003
    2003/2004
    ANNEXE 1

    Strategic Documents [This list is not exhaustive!]

    Title
    Date
    Organisation
    Contact
    Asset Management PlanJuly 2001Waverley BCMiller Stevenson Tel : 01483 - 869455
    Best Value Performance PlanSpring 2001Waverley BCDavid Fanin Tel: 01483 – 869148
    Capital StrategySummer 2001Waverley BCPaul Wenham Tel: 01483 - 869238
    Community Strategy for Waverley 1999 - 20021999Waverley BC/Surrey CC/Waverley Division of the Surrey PoliceBarbara French Tel: 01483 - 869386
    Empty Homes StrategyNovember 2000Waverley BCKaren Novell Tel: 01483 - 869096
    Property StrategyWaverley BCMiller Stevenson Tel : 01483 - 869455
    Social Services Service Strategy 2000/2001 and Beyond2000Surrey County CouncilPlanning and Performance Review Team Tel: 020 8541 8719
    Surrey Community Care Plan 2001/2002May 2001Surrey County CouncilPlanning and Performance Review Team Tel: 020 8541 8719
    Surrey Joint Investment Plan for Learning DisabilitiesApril 2001Surrey County Council/Health Authorities etc.Planning and Performance Review Team Tel: 020 8541 8719
    Waverley Local Plan2001Waverley BCPeter Hartley Tel: 01483-869297

    ANNEXE 2

    Partner Organisations who have contributed to the development of this Housing Strategy:

    Ability Housing AssociationPeper Harow Parish Council
    Alfold Parish CouncilRaglan Housing Association
    Beazer PartnershipsRural Housing Trust
    Bishop of Guildford’s FoundationRushmoor Borough Council
    Blackwater Valley Accommodation Proj.Social Concerns Office
    Bramley Parish CouncilStonham Housing Association
    Busbridge Parish CouncilSurrey Area Child Protection Committee
    Chiddingfold Parish CouncilSurrey Care Trust
    Council for Social ResponsibilitySurrey Community Development Trust
    Cranleigh CABSurrey County Council (partnerships)
    Cranleigh Parish CouncilSurrey Heath Housing Association
    David Couttie AssociatesSupporting People Team
    DisCASSSurrey Probation Service
    Dockenfield Parish CouncilSurrey Social Services (Waverley)
    Downland Housing AssociationSurrey Voluntary Service Council
    Dunsfold Parish CouncilSW Surrey Community Health Council
    Elstead Parish CouncilTenant Panel
    Ewhurst Parish CouncilThames Valley Housing Association
    Farnham AccessThursley Parish Council
    Farnham CABTilford Parish Council
    Farnham Town CouncilWBC members
    Farnham Voluntary Service CouncilWBC staff
    First Step Housing AssociationWeybank Housing Co-operative
    Frensham Parish CouncilWhitmore Vale Housing Association
    Furniture HelplineWitley Parish Council
    Godalming CABWonersh Parish Council
    Godalming Town CouncilYoung Builders Trust
    Go-Drive Trust
    GOSE
    Guildford Borough Council
    Hambledon Parish Council
    Hascombe Parish Council
    Haslemere CAB
    Haslemere Town Council
    Health Promotion Council
    Housing Corporation
    Hyde Housing Association
    Hydon Hill Cheshire Home
    James Butcher Housing Association
    Meath Homes
    Mount Green Housing Association
    Move to Independence Project
    NHF South East Region
    Oldfield King
    Pavilion Housing Association
    ANNEXE 3

    Our Partners Strategic Priorities

    Our Housing Strategy attempts to reflect and be consistent with the priorities of our partner organisations:

    Government Office of the South East

    Provide the opportunity of a decent home for all and in doing so improve people’s quality of life, promote social cohesion, well being and self-dependence
    Minimise homelessness
    Ensure the sustainability of communities
    Be an exemplar of best practice and best value

    Housing Corporation

    Household Growth
    Rural Housing
    Regeneration
    Employment Initiatives

    Surrey County Council

    Making People Feel Safer from Crime
    Controlling Traffic and Making Roads Safer
    Housing
    Protecting the Countryside and Greenbelt
    Supporting People in Need of Care and Assistance

    Surrey Social Services

    Promoting Independence
    Improving Life Chances
    Protecting Vulnerable People
    Making Communities Safer
    Supporting Carers
    Focus on the Needs of Users and Carers
    Working Better and Supporting Staff

    West Surrey Health Authority

    Preventing inappropriate admissions of older people to hospital
    Promoting effective rehabilitation of older people
    Protecting vulnerable children

    ANNEXE 4

    Providers of Affordable Housing in Waverley

    In addition to Waverley’s 5,333 Council homes (as at 31.3.2001), there are other housing providers in the Borough that cater for people who need affordable homes. At 31.3.2001 registered social landlords owned and managed some 1,348 properties in the Borough.

    Affordable housing providers include:

    Abbeyfield (Haslemere) Housing for the elderly
    Abbeyfield (Farnham) Housing for the elderly
    Abbeyfield (Wey Valley) Housing for the elderly
    Anchor Sheltered Housing
    Andrew Windsor Alms Houses Housing for the elderly
    Cheshire Homes Special Needs Housing
    Downland Housing Group General Needs and Sheltered
    Edwin Abbott Memorial Cottages Housing for the elderly (Churt)
    English Villages/Rural Housing Assns General Needs (in villages)
    First Step Housing Company General Needs and Shared Ownership
    Haslemere Housing Association Housing for the elderly
    Hewitt Homes Housing Association Housing for the elderly
    Hyde Housing Association Special Needs and General Needs Housing
    James Butcher Housing Association General Needs
    London and Quadrant Housing Trust Housing for the elderly and General Needs
    Mencap Homes Foundation Special Needs
    Mount Green Association Sheltered and General Needs Housing
    New Era Housing Association Special Needs Housing
    Pavilion Housing Association General Needs
    Pilgrim Housing Association Special Needs Housing
    Raglan Housing Association Housing for the elderly and General Needs
    Sampsons Almshouses Housing for the elderly
    Sentinel Housing Association General Needs Housing
    St Pancras & Humanist Housing Association Sheltered Housing
    Stonham Housing Association Special Needs
    Surrey Community Development Trust Special Needs
    Surrey Heath Housing Association General Needs
    Thames Valley Housing Association General Needs and Shared-Ownership
    Weybank Housing Co-operative General Needs Housing
    Whitmore Vale Housing Association Special Needs
    Wyatt Almshouses Housing for the elderly


    SOURCES OF EVIDENCE
    REFERRED TO IN THE STRATEGY STATEMENT
    DateAuthor/PublisherAvailable from
    Empty Homes StrategyNovember 2000Waverley Borough CouncilWBC – Karen Novell, 01483 – 869096
    Housing for Key Workers in Surrey – report by the Property Research Unit, University of CambridgeJuly 2000The Surrey Local AuthoritiesWBC – Karen Novell, 01483 –869096
    Housing Investment Programme 2000: Operational Information Section 1: Needs AppraisalJuly 2000Borough Housing OfficerWBC – Karen Novell, 01483 - 869096
    Housing Needs Study May 2001David Couttie AssociatesWBC – Karen Novell, 01483 – 869096
    Housing Strategy Statement 2002 and BeyondJuly 2001Waverley Borough CouncilWBC – Karen Novell, 01483-869096
    HRA Stock Condition Survey Final ReportJune 2000Hunter and PartnersWBC – David Simmons, 01483 – 869374
    Housing to Underpin Economic SuccessJuly 2001Surrey Local Government AssociationSurrey County Council – Peter Shadbolt, 020 8541 9846
    Indicators of poverty and social exclusion in rural EnglandAugust 2000The Countryside AgencyCountryside Agency Publications – 0870 120 6466
    Making Affordable Housing Happen in SurreyJuly 2001Oldfield KingWBC - John Swanton, 01483-869375
    Tenant Participation CompactApril 2000Waverley BC and the Tenants PanelWBC – Sheila Goodall, 01483 – 869355
    Tenant Satisfaction Survey 2000February 2001PPCRWBC – Laura Johnson, 01483 – 869491