Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
In the absence of the Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder, the Housing Strategy and Delivery Specialist introduced the report which explained that the South Lakeland District Council Tenancy Strategy as published jointly with Eden District Council in 2013 gave Registered Providers, i.e. housing associations, a steer on how they should implement their policies relating to flexible tenancies and affordable rents and ensure that the Council’s view was taken into account. The Council was required by the Localism Act 2011 to review the Strategy and publish any modifications.
Following a review, the report was being presented for consideration and approval of a proposed modification in the draft Tenancy Strategy Update 2020 alongside reaffirming current recommendations.
The Council had been working in partnership with Eden District Council to review the Strategy. Both Districts shared similarities in terms of rurality, demographics and affordability. A joint Tenancy Strategy gave Registered Providers a consistent approach in a wider area that would be helpful in preparing their own tenancy policies.
The only modification being proposed as a result of the Review was to protect the Council’s more rural areas from the ‘Voluntary Right to Buy’ (‘VRTB’) should the Government decide to roll it out nationally. The proposed modification reflected the current regulations on Right to Buy and Right to Acquire in minimising the impact of loss of housing on rural areas. The current regulations protected homes in designated rural areas from the Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire.
The Council could protect such rural properties by use of Section 106 planning agreements. However, modifying the Tenancy Strategy in the way proposed meant that RPs in this area must have regard to the recommendation and provided clarity on the Council’s position.
The report contained details on the consultation carried out to date and the Housing Strategy and Delivery Specialist drew attention to the fact that Eden District Council had already approved the modification. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had given consideration to the Tenancy Strategy Update 2020 at its meeting on 17 July 2020 the Housing Strategy and Delivery Specialist informed Members of the comments raised at that meeting.
During discussion, reference was made to the latest Voluntary Right to Buy pilot scheme in the Midlands and to the very different, rural nature of both South Lakeland and Eden. Concerns were raised regarding changes in planning law, the definition of an affordable house and the high number of people seeking social housing within the district. Members expressed support for the amendment and felt that the document provide hope for the future.
The Leader, having thanked the Housing Strategy and Delivery Specialist for her presentation and work, as well as that of the Team, read out the proposal and asked the meeting if the motion was agreed. There was no dissent.
RESOLVED – That the Tenancy Strategy Update 2020 be approved.
Reasons for Decision
Housing is one of the Council’s four key priorities. The Tenancy Strategy Update 2020 supports the key objectives of ‘Delivering a balanced community’ and ‘Reducing income and health inequalities’.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Without this proposed modification, it is possible that the impact of the scheme could be managed to a certain extent by way of Section 106 planning agreements and RPs will have to apply to the Council to vary any such terms. Also RPs must replace any properties sold ‘one for one’. However, not all properties are covered by Section 106s and the replacement property does not have to be in the same area. Should the Government decide to roll out the scheme, this proposed modification provides clarity to RPs and for RPs to have regard to the Council’s position to protect affordable housing in rural areas.
Publication date: 24/07/2020
Date of decision: 22/07/2020
Decided at meeting: 22/07/2020 - Cabinet
Effective from: 03/08/2020