AGENDA ITEM NO. 6

HOUSING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
1st JUNE 2010

Social Housing Grant Progress Report

RECOMMENDATIONS / KEY DECISIONS REQUIRED:

● That Housing Scrutiny Committee examine and endorse the report.

REASONS:

● To inform members of progress on the Social Housing Grant.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee Consulted
Exec Board Decision Required
Council Decision Required

YES
NO
NO

Directorate:
Social Care, Health & Housing

Name of Head of Service:
Robin Staines

Report Author:
Matt Miller

Designations:

Head of Housing Services

Principal Development Officer

Tel Nos. / E-Mail Addresses:

01267 228960
rstaines@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

01267 228842
mmiller@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

HOUSING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
1st JUNE 2010

Social Housing Grant Progress Report

Background

Welsh Assembly Government subsidises the delivery of new affordable homes in Wales through Social Housing Grant, which goes directly to housing associations. In Carmarthenshire, this is to the Gorwel consortium, which consists of four associations, namely Bro Myrddin, Cantref, Family and Gwalia. The Gorwel consortium will be joined in April 2010 by Pembrokeshire Housing Association, although this will not give it an automatic right to develop in Carmarthenshire.

Delivery through Social Housing Grant 2009/10

In total, 50 homes were completed and occupied, against our target of 60. These were as follows:

● Heol y Gelynnen, Brynamman: 2 x 2 bedroom bungalows for older people.

● Lôn Tŷ Cwm, Carmarthen: 7 x bungalows with support for people with physical disabilities, in association with Leonard Cheshire Disability. This is part of the replacement for the former Leonard Cheshire residential home in Llangynog.

● Maes y Wawr, Llanelli: 5 x flats with support for people with mental health problems.

● Former Swan Inn, St Clears: 8 x flats with support for young people.

● Parc Puw, Drefach Felindre: 25 houses, mixture of 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms.

3 successful mortgage rescues carried out using Social Housing Grant.

Strategic Capital Investment Fund 2009/10

Welsh Assembly has designated part of the above fund for housing projects. The following have been completed in Carmarthenshire during the year:

    ● Brynallt Court, Llanelli: 4 houses and 1 bungalow, completed homes bought from private developer.

    ● Dol-y-dderwen, Ammanford: 5 houses, completed homes bought from private developer.

Schemes under construction

Scheme

Description

Funded by

Expected completion

Arcade Terrace, Garnant

6 houses and 2 bungalows

SCIF

June 2010

Clos Ty Gwyn, Dafen, Llanelli

3 bungalows for families with disabilities

SCIF

September 2010

Annedd, Llanybydder

40 flexible care flats

SHG

June 2010

Schemes due to start in 2010/2011

    ● 12 flats on site of former Buckleys brewery, Llanelli (Grŵp Gwalia).

    ● 18 flats at College Street, Ammanford (Grŵp Gwalia).

    ● 3 flats and 2 houses in Lammas Street, Carmarthen, in the former offices of Bro Myrddin Housing Association.

    ● 25 homes, a mix of houses and bungalows, at The Avenue, Llanelli, by Grŵp Gwalia.

Strategic Capital Investment Fund 2

Carmarthenshire has been awarded up to £1.1 million extra funding for 2010/11, out of £20 million that is available throughout Wales. The intermediate rents / low cost sale scheme at Bonllwyn will provide 12 affordable homes. The bid also includes 10 assisted purchases by local families under the Homebuy scheme.

Forthcoming changes

Housing association regulation and funding by Welsh Assembly Government is currently going through fundamental change, following a review headed by Sue Essex, who retired as an Assembly Member in 2008. There are also opportunities for housing associations to play a major role in meeting housing need, including:

● helping people avoid mortgage repossession
● buying completed homes or sites for sale by private developers
● taking the lead on mixed tenure developments, rather than following private developers’ plans. The schemes at Bonllwyn and Garnant are examples of this.

Regulation of housing associations and local authority housing services

The Essex Review recommended that housing association regulation should be based on rigorous self-assessment by associations, and that external regulation should be rigorous, risk-based and proportionate. Regulation will be carried out by a branch of the Welsh Assembly Housing Division, rather than by Wales Audit Office. The new regulator has recently consulted on whether to include local authority housing services within the same system as housing associations. This has received much support across housing associations and local government in Wales. Performance standards covering the following areas have been proposed:

● housing management
● property maintenance
● development
● homelessness
● services for owners
● strategic housing enabling role for local government

Local authority control of Social Housing Grant

From April 2011, local authorities in Wales will have direct control of which schemes are funded through Social Housing Grant. Each authority will have a budget based on a percentage of the total spending available – Carmarthenshire will have over 5% of the programme, around double that of recent years. The budget itself is not yet known, but it is widely expected to be much lower than in previous years.

Whatever the funding available to Carmarthenshire, we will be better placed to ensure that it is used to support the Council’s strategic priorities than in the past.

Each Council will be responsible for ensuring that the funding available is fully spent in each financial year. We are working with neighbouring authorities and housing associations in South West Wales to set up a regional system to deliver this.

DETAILED REPORT ATTACHED?

NO

INTEGRATION

I confirm that the Community Strategy Integration Tool has:

Not been used to appraise the subject of this report, as it is not appropriate to do so.

Signed: Robin Staines Head of Housing Services

IMPLICATIONS

I confirm that other than those implications which have been agreed with the appropriate Directors / Heads of Service and are referred to in detail below, there are no other implications associated with this report.

Signed: Robin Staines Head of Housing Services

Policy, Crime & Disorder and Equalities

Legal

Finance

ICT

Risk Management Issues

Organisational Development

Physical Assets

NONE

NONE

NONE

NONE

NONE

NONE

NONE

CONSULTATIONS

I confirm that the appropriate consultations have taken in place and the outcomes are as detailed below:

Signed: Robin Staines Head of Housing Services

1. Local Member(s) – Not applicable for whole report. Individual members were consulted on individual scheme proposals when they were originally brought forward.

2. Community / Town Council – Not applicable for whole report.

3. Relevant Partners – Not applicable for whole report. Housing associations, Local Health Board, Supporting People Team, support providers and colleagues in other departments have been closely involved in individual schemes.

4. Staff Side Representatives and other Organisations – N/A

Section 100D Local Government Act, 1972 – Access to Information
List of Background Papers used in the preparation of this report:

THERE ARE NONE

Title of Document

File Ref No.

Locations that the papers are available for public inspection