Date: 20th May 2010
NORTHUMBERLAND HOUSING STRATEGY 2010-2011
Report of the Housing Service Manager Strategy and Enabling
Executive Member: Councillor Jim Smith Regeneration and Development
Purpose of report
The purpose of this report is to present the final draft of the Interim Housing
Strategy and gain agreement from Executive for adoption and
The Strategy document is attached at appendix 1 and this brief report will
provide an overview of the content and key issues.
It is recommended that Executive agree the information which is
contained in the report and approve the adoption and implementation of
this interim strategy.
Northumberland County Council as the Responsible Authority has a
requirement to produce a Housing Strategy under the Local Government Act
2003 Section 87 Housing strategies and statements. Prior to Local
Government Review the former districts collaborated on preparing a sub-
regional housing strategy for the purposes of securing funding from the then
Regional Housing Board. Whilst successful in achieving this we recognise that
the 2007 Strategy needs to be refreshed and respond to the issues raised in
the 2008 Audit Commission inspection.
We have therefore, with the agreement of members produced a
Northumberland Housing Strategy that satisfies these requirements whilst
acknowledging that the Council is setting new objectives, refreshing the SCS
and developing an LDF.
This Strategy is therefore an Interim Strategy that will be updated following
the adoption of the SCS. It is however a key document by which Housing
Services and key partners will commence to deliver services and agree
priorities for Northumberland.
Report Author Chris Brinton
Housing Strategy Working Group, 27 April 2010 2
Northumberland Housing Strategy 2010-2011
Prior to Local Government Review the former districts were all responsible for
producing a District Housing Strategy. In 2007 the Regional Housing Board
requested that sub-regions should prepare sub-regional housing strategies to
identify the key priorities for their sub-regions with fully costed schemes to
respond to those priorities. These strategies were used by the Regional
Housing Board to commission activity funded from the Single Housing
Investment Programme (SHIP) and Northumberland were successful in
securing £5.72m of SHIP funding over the period 2008-2011. We are in the
final year of the current SHIP allocation and are continuing to deliver against
the agreed schemes supported by the Regional Housing Board.
The 2007 Northumberland Housing Strategy adopted the 4 objectives of the
North East Regional Housing Strategy which are:
Objective 1- To rejuvenate the housing stock to meet 21st Century
aspirations replacing market failure with high quality housing in the
right locations to help create successful, cohesive and sustainable
Objective 2-To ensure the type and mix of new housing provides
choice, supports economic growth and meets housing needs and
demand. This will reflect the diversity of urban and rural communities
and the needs for affordable family and executive housing.
Objective 3- To secure the improvement and maintenance of existing
housing so that it meets required standards and investing in
Objective 4- To promote good management and targeted housing
investment to address specific community and social needs. This
includes an ageing population and the needs of minority communities,
alignment with the Supporting People programme and promotion of
greater community involvement.
The 2010-2011 Housing Strategy will continue to work towards the above
objectives as schemes are in progress and the priorities and issues are still
relevant at this time. However we will also adopt a further objective in the
2010-2011 strategy to reflect the importance of reducing the impact of
climate change which reflects the ongoing work and level of commitment
being undertaken by NCC in relation to their policies and practices.
Structure of the Northumberland 2010-2011 Housing Strategy
The document initially sets the context of Northumberland with regards to the
spatial geography and challenges and opportunities that Northumberland
presents. It then describes how the Strategy fits within the Community
Housing Strategy Working Group, 27 April 2010 3
Planning Framework as a Tier 2 Strategy and lists those Tier 3 Strategies that
support this document thus providing context and an evidence base.
We acknowledge that the Strategy that will follow this interim document will be
subject to significant influences such as national issues- possibly a change of
government and therefore housing policy. At a local level the adoption of the
SCS and the emerging LDF and Local Transport Plan will need to be
considered and of course the budgetary constraints that NCC face will no
doubt limit our activities and opportunities to address the significant housing
issues that require addressing.
This Strategy describes the full range of activities that will be considered in
the document and how we propose to deal with them. It illustrates the
complexity of housing as an issue that is cross cutting and that issues vary in
severity and opportunity often influenced by geography and tenure. The range
of options to deal with these issues is described and identify the importance of
a firm evidence base and effective partnership working.
In addition the Strategy will describe how it supports the Northumberland
Local Investment Plan which has evolved as a result of the Single
Conversation with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Taking this
broader more strategic approach requires a shift of thinking, but will help us to
identify what we need to do and to ensure that we share our message not just
with the community but also with other parties and strategies that might affect
various aspects of housing.
To achieve this, the Housing Strategy is structured as follows:
Section 1 Introduction What is a housing strategy and how does it relate to other strategies and plans?
Section 2 Where do we This will set out our objectives based on the Sustainable Community’s Strategy
want to be? and consultation with the community and stakeholders.
We will also set out key outcomes for a longer term vision for housing in
Northumberland. We will show what governance arrangements there are to deliver
the councils plans.
Section 3 Where are we This will set out the Local, National and Regional context. This section will also
now? describe our performance against the 2007-11 Housing Strategy.
Section 4 Evidence This describes the evidence base for the strategy.
Section 5 How could we We will describe the Challenges and Opportunities that we face.
Section 6 What are we We will prioritise our options to match our resources to meet each of the objectives
going to do? of the strategy. We will also describe our targets.
Section 7 How will we We will describe how we will monitor the effectiveness of the strategy in delivering
know if we outcomes, and responding to changes affecting the housing market. The revised
are getting strategy will be more outcome focused. We will provide details of how to contact
there? us and how to make your views known. At the end of the document are the contact
details for anyone who wants to comment on the strategy and be involved in
helping draft the next strategy.
More Throughout the strategy signposting will be made to supporting evidence and
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We believe that the above structure seeks to address the criticisms of the
2008 Audit Commission inspection that described our sub-regional housing
strategy as ‘pedestrian’.
Appendices to the Strategy illustrate evidence base and national and regional
context within which the strategy has been prepared.
The 2010-2011 Housing Strategy has been submitted to the Audit
Commission as part of the document request list and we will no doubt obtain
feedback on its composition and content during the inspection in May 2010.
A full consultation exercise will now be undertaken with key partners to obtain
their views on the document. This will be primarily through the existing fora
such as the Social Housing Partnership and Strategic Housing Market
Partnership as well as specific groups such as the Homelessness fora and
joint governance groups with Supporting People together with landlords
groups that we are working with.
Delivery of the Interim and subsequent Housing and Sub-Strategies will be
dependent upon strong internal and external partnership working, maximising
delivery capacity. It is hoped, also, that the current Senior Management
Review will allow greater opportunity to achieve successful housing and
related outcomes within Northumberland.
Local Investment Plan
Housing Strategy Working Group, 27 April 2010 5
IMPLICATIONS ARISING OUT OF THE REPORT
Policy: As the Housing Strategy develops there
will be Policy implications that will require
further reports to executive.
Finance and value for The report describes current allocations
money and funding available and we will
continue to seek alternative sources
Human Resources: The Housing Strategy will be delivered by
Housing Services staff and in conjunction
with other NCC departments as
Equalities An EIA will be undertaken on the Strategy
prior to it being circulated for consultation.
Risk Assessment Within the Strategy there will be areas
where schemes or opportunities are
proposed that will require individual risk
Sustainability A key issue for the Housing Strategy that
cuts across various objectives is
Crime & Disorder The Housing Strategy contributes to the
Councils agenda of tackling Crime and
Disorder via new housing and better
design or support to vulnerable people for
Customer Considerations: The community is being engaged both on
improvements and changes to services
Consultation Full consultation will be undertaken on
Wards The Housing Strategy is County wide.
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