Agenda and minutes
Venue: The Council Chamber, County Hall, Rhadyr, Usk, NP15 1GA
Election of Chair
We elected County Councillor D. Blakebrough as Chair.
Appointment of Vice-Chair
We appointed County Councillor P. Pavia as Vice-Chair.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest made by Members.
The purpose of the report and presentation is to help inform a discussion to consider Monmouthshire’s input into the Welsh Government’s call for evidence on affordable housing delivery.
The Welsh Government has issued a consultation over the summer seeking a call for evidence on affordable housing delivery. This is a key topic of interest and relevance to the Council and its communities.
· To respond to the call for evidence, having discussed the relevant issues in the call for evidence.
· To decide to not respond to the call for evidence.
· The salary earnings table refers to the wages declared.
· The data provided indicates that more social housing is required in Monmouthshire.
· In terms of the figures relating to properties that have received planning permission but have yet to be built, these properties are subject to a natural time lag of developments being built.
· Development sites are coming forward but at a slower rate than required.
· The affordable housing developments that have been approved will be built.
· Discussions have begun regarding what is required in the next Local Development Plan (LDP) regarding affordable housing provision.
· There is a need to maintain the size standards in affordable housing and market housing.
· Affordable housing contribution needs to be on site and be locally based.
· Monmouthshire Housing was given the opportunity to contribute to the report.
· The Authority is recruiting for a supported lodgings co-ordinator to work with our partners. A pilot scheme is being developed via ‘supporting people’ to promote lodgings. This scheme will also target young people.
· The viability of affordable housing needs to be addressed to ensure that in future, more affordable housing is provided in Monmouthshire.
· Young People in Monmouthshire are struggling to afford to remain in Monmouthshire when they leave home and look for their first property.
· The Authority could look to support housing associations and encourage such associations to investigate converting empty properties and empty shops into affordable housing units within Monmouthshire. It was noted that these matters will be investigated in the next LDP bearing in mind the way shopping has changed in recent years. However, this will need to be tempered to ensure that viable retail properties are retained.
· There are issues relating to property conversions but they can be achieved. Further investigation would be required. Housing associations within Monmouthshire had been approached regarding the provision of affordable units above shops. Challenges were identified, such as remote landlords, shared access, the cost of health and safety improvements and shared services. However, the opportunities are there to explore bringing some of these properties back into residential use.
· The quality of build of affordable housing needs to be retained to ensure that residents’ quality of life is maintained.
· Developers could be encouraged to buy large empty buildings with a view to converting them into affordable units.
· It was considered that the planning application condition to commence building a property within five years is too long and should be reduced to three years. ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss two related topics. Firstly, to seek Members’ views on affordable housing delivery, to feed into a Welsh Government call for evidence. Secondly, to discuss the Council’s approach to housing delivery in advance of the new LDP, with specific reference to our lack of a five year housing land supply and consideration of unallocated sites for development. The latter topic will come to Council on 20th September 2018 for a decision, but Member input beforehand would be valued.
To consider the Authority’s approach to tackling its housing land supply shortfall, specifically how it deals with planning applications for unallocated sites in advance of the new LDP being adopted in December 2021. This matter will be considered by Council on 20th September 2018 for a decision on the Council’s position.
Some of the challenging issues and opportunities facing Monmouthshire’s communities over coming years, include:
· The increasing proportion of Monmouthshire’s population aged over 65 and over 85, increasing well in excess of the Wales average.
· The relative absence of 20-40 year olds and Monmouthshire’s median age of 48 years (compared to a median age of 34 years in Cardiff).
· The resulting impact of the above two factors on Monmouthshire’s economic base and future prospects of economic growth.
· Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and associated opportunities.
· The economic growth of the Bristol / South West region and the opportunities for Monmouthshire as a border county.
· The imminent removal of the Severn Bridge tolls.
· Monmouthshire’s average house price now exceeding £300,000.
· Monmouthshire’s affordable housing waiting list of 3000+.
· Monmouthshire’s dual economy, with high-earning residents who work elsewhere, and a low paid workforce that lives elsewhere but works within the County.
· Associated commuting patterns, with 40% of Monmouthshire’s economically active resident population commuting out of county.
· The challenges of rural isolation and sustaining rural services.
· The wealth of social capital in Monmouthshire’s communities.
· Monmouthshire’s well-performing schools.
· The beautiful landscapes and heritage that make Monmouthshire special.
These factors will be key considerations as the vision and strategy for Monmouthshire’s new Local Development Plan (LDP) is developed. However, consideration needs to be given to what can be done in the interim (between now and December 2021).
There are two options:
· The first option is that the Authority gives no weight in its planning decisions to its lack of a five year housing land supply. This means that the Authority retains a Plan-led system, and proposed development on sites not allocated within the current LDP will be unacceptable in principle and planning permission would be refused. This option is essentially process-focused and would provide certainty to Monmouthshire’s communities in that the current LDP would be adhered to. Development in other areas could come forwards via the new LDP, and planning permission could be sought in 2022 onwards.
· The second option is that the Authority gives some weight in its planning decisions to its lack of a five year housing land supply. This could be anywhere from ‘none’ to ‘considerable weight’. This option is essentially outcome-focused and would seek to make timely progress in tackling some of the issues identified.
· Monmouthshire currently has a 3.9 year land supply.
· It is important to give considerable weight to look at and consider new sites as they arise.
· Affordable housing is needed across the whole of the County.
· Freedom should remain for smaller unallocated sites to be brought forward for consideration by the Planning Committee for development. This will help in delivering ... view the full minutes text for item 5.