Issue - decisions

Housing and Pipeline Update

24/02/2023 - Housing and Pipeline Update

The Cabinet considered a report of the Executive Director (Growth and Housing) presenting an update on the work of the Housing Pipeline to date and details the future housing development opportunities across the city.




1. That the progress made on the Housing Pipeline to date, be noted.


2. That the Council undertakes due diligence regarding the potential allocation of capital funds for Afghan and Ukrainian resettlement purposes from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF) and that authority be delegated to the Executive Director (Finance and Resources) and the Executive Director (Growth and Housing), in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery, Regeneration and Housing, to reach agreement about any bid decisions and to pursue actions set out in the submitted report.


3. That the use of both Denton Avenue site and Bradford Bury garage site for the development of Passizhaus pilot projects utilising existing Section 106 funds and Right to Buy funds, be approved.


4. That the next steps for the Housing Pipeline set out below, be approved:


·       The development of a revolving investment fund to deliver the pipeline opportunities.  The investment fund would work alongside other financing sources to deliver housing pipeline projects.


·       Sale of the Thorpedene Campus site via auction to secure full, quick capital receipt and mitigate holding and demolition costs, with the capital receipt ringfenced to help fund future Housing Pipeline development opportunities.


·       Sale of the Shorefield Gardens site via auction to secure a full, quick capital receipt with the capital receipt to be ringfenced to help fund future Housing Pipeline development opportunities.


·       Use existing funds or funds received from site sales for detailed feasibility works, cost planning and design works for the Hamlet Court Road, the Cattery and Civic 2 sites.


Reasons for decision:


1. The need for housing of all sizes and tenures across the city is increasing as detailed in the South Essex Housing Needs Assessment, published in June 2022. The delivery and acceleration of the delivery of housing are key ASELA priority areas and the pipeline opportunities will contribute to the wider regional delivery and assist with future funding opportunities. The work of the housing pipeline including the acquisition of homes to be used for council housing and the development of new housing (including affordable housing) will look to alleviate some of this housing and homelessness pressure. The development of new housing in the city will also look to assist the council financially with increased council tax income and additional rent roll to the council’s HRA.


2. The proposed development of Passivhaus pilots will be an opportunity for the Council to lead the delivery of sustainable housing in the city and contribute the ambitions of the council’s Green City Action Plan and pledge to the Climate Emergency and help with progress towards net zero by 2030 through the development of new sustainable housing which will use significantly less energy and encourage more environmentally sustainable and healthy lifestyles.


3. The Council proceeding with capital grant allocation from DLUHC’s LAHF will ensure arrivals on Afghan and Ukraine schemes are provided with sufficient longer-term accommodation whilst mitigating the expected increased pressures on council homelessness and housing services (subject to the financial due diligence and match funding considerations referenced above).


Other options:


1. Sell all sites within the Pipeline – Taking an approach of selling all sites would relinquish all control to third parties which may result in housing being built that would not meet the aspirations of the Council and may not guarantee the timely delivery of housing. The sale of selected sites will however be an important enabler.


2. The Council could develop all sites – Due to the identified constraints of the sites, sale will be a better option for some sites and the funds are required for the purpose of the investment fund to assist the financing of future development opportunities.


3. RP Partner/JV – Due to the scale of the sites included in Batch 1 of the housing pipeline, it has been determined that Council now has an enhanced development team skillset and can undertake the development in-house and a JV or partner approach is not necessary although closer working with local housing associations is being discussed at a regional level through ASELA and this may provide some interesting partnering and/or joint delivery opportunities.


4. Do Nothing – This would not result in future housing being built (including affordable housing) and therefore would not assist in the council housing pressures and would not improve the council’s financial position. It would also leave the Council with the residual liabilities and costs.


Note: This is an Executive Function

Eligible for call-in to: Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee

Cabinet Member: Cllr Gilbert


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