The Committee gave consideration to a report of the Corporate Director of Place on the housing provision in Trafford, its relevance as a wider determinant of health and as such, crucial to the health and wellbeing of the population and to reduce health inequalities.
The Director of Growth and Regulatory Services accompanied by the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration attended the meeting to present the information and address the questions of the Committee.
The Committee received information concerning Trafford’s Council Allocation Policy which provided rules, criteria and procedures on how households could access social and affordable rented Registered Provider properties in the Borough.
The Committee noted how the needs for affordable new homes would be addressed through the Trafford Housing Strategy (2018-2023) and how progress on housing sites was monitored by the Council’s Strategic Growth Service and other groups which also drove forward the delivery of new affordable housing.
The Portfolio Holder informed that new social rented housing was not easy to deliver mainly for difficulty in sustaining their cost. Both at national and local level, the focus was on shared ownership and affordable rent.
Members sought and received clarification on several matters such as Developer Forum for Housing Associations and proposals for new social housing, discrepancy between average household income in the north of the borough and the percentage of income spent on housing needs, methods utilised by the Council and its partners to gather housing data.
Members also commented on the difficulties encountered by first time buyers to access the housing market, Section106 agreements and the fact that the developers’ offers did not always meet expectations, social landlords and arguments in support of a duty rather than an option to cooperate with the local authority, variable standards in the private sector renting offer and need for a Private Rented Charter.
The Committee sought and received reassurance that a landlord accreditation scheme was being developed and different measures were being evaluated to improve the planning system for Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO).
Members advocated for greater innovation in newly built houses and better housing standards for people with disabilities. The Portfolio Holder informed that Accessibility and Improvement in properties for disabled residents were part of the Local Plan for Trafford, currently under consultation.
Members received reassurance that new sites were coming forward in a number of areas in Trafford; this together with the regeneration plan would help to address the need for more social housing and affordable housing, especially in the north of the borough.
Members emphasised the importance of publicity of existing and future housing schemes to address fuel poverty in Trafford such as LAD (Local Authority Delivery scheme) and enquired about how other local authorities within Greater Manchester marketed similar schemes.
1. That the report be noted;
2. That the Committee receive an update in six months with regard to:
a. The Landlord Accreditation Scheme;
b. Improvement to planning process for Houses of Multiple Occupancy;
3. That the Committee receive an update in 12 months on the number of affordable houses built in Trafford;
4. That the Committee receive reassurance on how schemes to tackle fuel poverty are publicised in Trafford.
The Chair thanked Officers and Members for their contribution to the work of the Committee throughout Municipal Year 2020/21.