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Paper 7 - 28 November 2003 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

28 November 2003

AFFORDABLE HOUSING CONFERENCE

Report by the Director in association with the Planning and Housing Officer Groups

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RECOMMENDATIONS

It is recommended that:

(1) The Planning Officers Group and Strategic Housing Officers Group be requested to establish a short life joint working group to draft an Agenda for Action to develop our joint work on affordable housing;

(2) The Agenda for Action should identify what needs to be done, by whom, and include a realistic timescale for implementation; and

(3) A progress report be provided as soon as practicable.
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BACKGROUND

1. Following the Association's debate on Affordable Housing at the 28 March meeting in Rushmoor, Members agreed to consider the matter further at a conference which HCC offered to host.

2. The Conference took place on 28 October in Winchester Guildhall with over 110 delegates. All HIOW authorities were represented by Members and/or senior officers and there was good f representation from house builders, registered social landlords and organisations with an interest in the subject. The event was co-chaired by Councillor Mrs Cartwright and Councillor Michael Woodhall. Debate at the conference was informed by an analysis supplied by Hampshire County Council which will be available on our website: "Affordable and Key Worker Housing Provision: Defining the Issues".

3. Speakers included the Director of Housing and Regeneration at the Government Office (and member of the Regional Housing Board), the Affordable Housing Director of Berkeley Homes, the Chief Executive of the Oriel Housing Group and the Area Programme Manager for the Rural Housing Trust. These speakers were augmented by three from Hampshire local authorities who provided local dimensions to the issue of affordable housing provision.

4. The final session of the Conference enabled delegates to give their views on the issues raised and put forward initiatives that could help bridge the growing shortfall between those in need and the amount of affordable housing that is being built.

5. The event was well received, due in no small part to the informed and well structured presentations from the speakers. They collectively set out clearly the scale of the problem facing the area – over 36,000 households currently in need of affordable housing which, at present rates of delivery, could take up to 20 years to satisfy. They also provided some pointers to ways that could help increase the supply of affordable housing. Speakers notes will be made available via the HIOW website.

6. The ideas raised at the Conference to improve the supply of affordable housing fell into three broad headings:

· Improving working relationships (e.g. between Councils and housing providers),

· Undertaking more effective lobbying to influence investment priorities and secure enhanced levels of funding, and

· Developing processes and policies to increase the amount of affordable housing delivered via the planning system.

NEXT STEPS

7. The Conference helped focus minds on new initiatives that could be implemented within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to increase affordable housing provision. In order to take the matter forward it is proposed that the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Planning Officers’ Group and the Strategic Housing Officers’ Group establish a short life joint working group to develop an Agenda for Action which, when implemented, would help develop our joint work on affordable housing. A joint working group is considered necessary to develop a more holistic response to this issue. It may also generate novel solutions through the planning and housing disciplines working closer together.

NICK GOULDER
Director

Date: 12 November 2003
Annex: 0
Contact: Nick Goulder 023 8068 8431 hiow@eastleigh.gov.uk

Last update: 18/11/2003
Author: Nick Goulder, Director

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