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					Greater Haven Gateway
      Sub Region

Draft Housing Strategy
   for Consultation
                                           Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy




                            Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region
                                  Draft Housing Strategy

Contents




         Summary............................................................................ 2

         Introduction........................................................................ 4

         Affordable housing, growth and regeneration ............................... 5

         Key worker and intermediate housing ........................................ 6

         Rural housing needs .............................................................. 7

         Homelessness ...................................................................... 8

         Black and minority ethnic community needs ................................ 9

         Asylum seekers and refugees .................................................. 11

         Private housing conditions ..................................................... 12

         Disabled facilities grants, aids and adaptations ............................ 14

         Empty homes ..................................................................... 15

         Decent homes and communities .............................................. 15

         Supported housing ............................................................... 16

         Appendix 1: Key facts .......................................................... 18

         Appendix 2: Contributors to the sub regional strategy................... 20




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                                           Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy




Summary
This is the first sub regional housing strategy we have produced as the Greater Haven
Gateway housing sub-region.

In 2003 we worked as two separate sub-regions, the North East Essex and South East
Suffolk. Both produced sub regional housing strategies which informed the first Regional
Housing Strategy.

However in the course of a year we have recognised marked similarities and shared
issues, which made us think it would be a good idea to joint forces and create a
coherent strategy to benefit all our residents.

Our aim is to balance housing markets, which do not respect boundaries set for
administrative, geographical, political, financial or other reasons.

We want to tackle homelessness, support those people who are more vulnerable in our
society and who may be difficult to reach.

We want to involve our partners and residents in creating a meaningful, useful and
inclusive strategy, and in all our activities on both the wider and the smaller scale. We
recognise this consultation needs to be put into effect in a meaningful way, and at the
scale and pace most suited to the issues and the individuals concerned.

This strategy has been written in partnership and consultation with many different
organisations who we want to thank for their contributions, and encourage to continue
working with us to make these priorities a reality, to improve housing conditions,
prosperity and well being across the sub region. We particularly want to thank the
Cambridgeshire sub region for their help and advice, enabling us to draw useful
comparisons between our respective areas.

In summer 2004 we held a sub regional workshop to

 learn more about the Haven Gateway planning partnership, the developing regional
     and sub regional strategies and learn from Cambridgeshire about how they have been
     developing a successful strategy
 identify and explore themes, issues and our vision for the sub region for the future
 discuss how to maximise the benefits and overcome the barriers for this new way of
     working
Feedback on the day was very positive, and encouraged us to keep working and learning
together.

This strategy is based on the issues and concerns raised on that day, and you will see
that for each issue, some direct quotes from participants about that subject.

We want to thank all the individuals and organisations who attended our sub regional
workshop (acknowledged in appendix 2) and who have made useful and helpful
comments on the draft strategy to make sure it was as inclusive and comprehensive as
possible.



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Virtually everyone who attended would be happy to attend a further workshop (27 or
x%), all wanted to see the feedback from this event (30) which we supplied, and almost
all wanted to see and comment on a draft strategy (29) which we also provided an
opportunity for.

Many other organisations were suggested who participants thought would want to get
more involved, which we will be acting on when we organise further events and
consultation.

We will be seeking closer relationships with other regional partners in future, and as
each forum develops and considers its role in the development of the region.


        Comments from sub regional workshop on the day itself
            I would like feedback on outcome and how to take forward
            A good day
            Valuable day to consider emerging sub regional issues
            Well organised event
            I got a lot out of the day and leaned a great deal




Key issues for the Greater Haven Gateway housing sub region
Key issues for the sub region, in priority order, are:
 Affordable housing, growth and regeneration, including key worker and intermediate
     tenures and addressing rural housing needs.
 Preventing and tackling homelessness.
 Enabling and creating decent homes and communities in the public sector.
 Increasing the supply of supported housing and housing with support, again to help
     the most vulnerable members of our society to make better choices and sustain a
     better quality of life.
 Improving housing conditions in the private sector and bringing empty homes back
     into use. And addressing issues which affect the most vulnerable residents, such as
     disabled facilities grants, aids and adaptations.
 Addressing Black and Minority Ethnic community needs, and tackling the housing
     problems faced by asylum seekers and refugees.
We are currently proposing the following priorities for new capital investment (using
shorthand categories):
Affordable housing, growth and regeneration                                                          40%
Supported housing and housing with support                                                           20%
Improving housing conditions in the private sector                                                   15%
Preventing and tackling homelessness.                                                                10%
Decent homes and communities in the public sector.                                                   10%
BME and asylum seekers & refugee needs.                                                              5%


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                                           Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy




Introduction
The Greater Haven Gateway sub region is one of nine housing sub regions in the East of
England.

(Will insert map of whole region pointing out this sub region)

The Greater Haven Gateway sub region comprises Babergh, Braintree, Colchester,
Ipswich, Maldon, Mid Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal and Tendring Borough and District Councils.
A highly diverse sub region geographically, economically and socially, with a population
in excess of 800,000, it is of national and regional importance providing a strategic
gateway for trade and tourism between the UK, Europe and elsewhere, and benefiting
from the Ipswich/Cambridge hi-tech corridor. With two large urban centres, Colchester
and Ipswich, extensive rural and coastal areas, market towns and the ports of Felixstowe
and Harwich it is a focus for growth. Regional planning guidance (RPG 14) proposes 3,705
new homes each year across the sub region.

The Eastern Region Affordable Housing Study1 includes NE Essex and SE Suffolk in its list
of 'pressured sub regions', meaning those characterised by high housing demand, high
incomes, high house prices, and strong links with London. While some parts of the sub
region are experiencing high economic prosperity, other areas are in severe economic
difficulty with high dependency on agriculture, low incomes and are designated rural
priority areas. In addition, while it is acknowledged that housing for key workers is an
issue for this part of the country, the sub region accepts that its information base is
limited and requires further research.

Lack of affordable housing in both urban and rural areas evidenced by recent housing
needs studies is a significant problem fuelled by escalating house prices following the
general economic boom and migration from London into the sub region. Land availability
for new housing varies. Homelessness is rising, and although the districts‟ homelessness
strategies have largely achieved the government target of keeping families with children
out of bed and breakfast accommodation, this may not be sustainable and services are
stretched.

Ipswich is a dispersal area for accommodating asylum seekers to assist in the National
Asylum Seekers Support Service (NASS) dispersal programme with local agencies
estimating there to be over 500 asylum seekers and refugees in the town. Other Black
and Minority Ethnic communities are small and usually rely on mainstream housing
services, often lacking the infrastructure needed to make their housing needs known.

There are high levels of disrepair and poor energy efficiency in the private sector and
significant investment is needed to bring social housing up to the Government‟s decent
homes standard. The recent changes to funding mechanisms for aids and adaptations
and disabled facilities grants are having a significant impact on many of the local
authorities in the sub region. Finally, while there are two administering authorities
addressing supported housing needs for the Greater Haven Gateway – Essex and Suffolk –
there are a number of common themes.

The challenge for the sub region is to develop a housing strategy that will balance
housing markets and address all these diverse issues.

1   Eastern Region Affordable Housing Study, published 2003

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Affordable housing, growth and regeneration

Priorities

 Draw investment into the sub region to secure more affordable housing.

 Quantify the need for different types of affordable housing, including key worker
     housing, across the sub region.

 Agree integrated district and sub regional targets for affordable rented, key worker
     and other types of intermediate housing needed to balance housing markets.

 Engage with the consultation process for the Regional Planning Guidance (RPG 14)
     and work to achieve the targets set across the sub region.

 Maximise and refine the use of S.106 and other mechanisms to achieve affordable
     housing targets on sub regional and district bases.

 Work towards an agreed housing development pipeline across the sub region, linked
     to plans for supported housing.

 Promote community cohesion through the development of balanced communities of
     people from a range of backgrounds with a range of needs.

 Establish economically sustainable settlements and contribute to a sustainable
     environment.

Information achieved by combining district level information from housing needs
surveys, HIP returns and housing strategies shows a mismatch between supply and
demand for affordable housing across the sub region which will not be resolved by
targeted growth.2

Housing needs surveys indicate that 5,000 new affordable homes are needed each year,
but RPG 14 targets for the sub region, although an increase on former Structure Plans,
amount to only 3,705 homes per year of all tenures. Around 700 affordable homes are
lost each year through the right to buy.3 With only 500 new affordable homes planned
for 2004/05, the net result is likely to be a loss of 200 affordable homes.4 Across the sub
region over 13,000 people are on housing registers, a figure comparable with the
Cambridgeshire sub region. 4

A number of sub regional authorities have regeneration programmes and neighbourhood
renewal projects, and welcome the contribution regeneration activity makes in meeting
housing need and building sustainable communities. Examples include the Waterfront
regeneration project in Ipswich, Jaywick in Tendring, the Colchester Garrison and the
Earls Colne Foundry Site in Braintree.



2 Housing needs studies have been carried out at different times and there is a need for more robust information about
housing need and demand across the sub region. A sub regional research group continues to consider and discuss
current issues.
3 Figures for 2003/04
4 Please see Key Facts attached as Appendix 1.


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In 2002 the sub region had a ratio of income to house prices of 5.55 i.e. houses were
slightly less affordable than in the Cambridgeshire sub region.4 Average house prices and
earnings vary considerably between districts. Earnings needed to enter the private
market range from £19,000 to £26,000. Average house prices range from £138,580 to
£204,900. As a result the pattern of need for key worker and other intermediate forms
of housing is complex.


        Comments from sub regional workshop
         Need to release land for new housing development
         Want to deliver and integrate affordable housing on small sites
         Achieving balanced communities through general needs housing investment, including
           mobility standard housing and single person accommodation for move-on
         Need a clearer pipeline of schemes so if one falls, replace with another scheme in the sub-
           region
         Communicate better for “reserve” projects
         Ensure delivery
         Need to match the evidence base for need and demand opportunities.
         Need funding targeted to meet local needs
         Get funders to review priorities if these are not meeting needs
         More co-ordination as efforts to secure planning gain – learn from each other – educate
           developers (saves time and money)




Key worker and intermediate housing

Priorities

 Quantify the need for different types of affordable housing, including key worker
      housing and intermediate tenures, across the sub region.

 Deliver the ODPM key worker living programme.

 Meet the challenge of balancing housing markets by brokering the development of
      affordable housing across all tenures.

The accessibility and location of the Greater Haven sub region, together with the knock
on effect of housing market hot-spots at Cambridge and London, have ensured that
housing demand in the area is high and that house prices have continued to rise. This has
meant that increasingly local families are being priced out of the market. First time
buyers seeking to access the housing market are finding this increasingly difficult due to
the relationship between local incomes and house prices. Typically these are young
couples, who do not qualify for social rented housing. This has lead to a growing
demand for affordable home ownership initiatives and other forms of intermediate
tenures. It is estimated from housing needs research that over 400 low cost home
ownership units are needed each year across the sub region.



5   Eastern Region Affordable Housing Study 2003.

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                                           Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy


This is having a detrimental effect on many communities, particularly in rural areas,
where local families are unable to get or maintain housing in the community and are
being forced out by higher income in-migrants.

Throughout the East of England the high cost of housing is affecting public sector
employers‟ ability to recruit and keep staff. In 2004 the Office for the Deputy Prime
Minister launched its key worker living programme, promoting housing initiatives aimed
at keeping the skills required in key public services available to local communities.
Financial assistance is available through grants via RSL zone agents to help identified
workers access the housing market. The sub region is committed to work in partnership
with zone agents to deliver this programme.

However, there is recognition across the sub region that the definition of key worker
could apply to workers who maintain a vital service to the community (e.g. post office
workers). This is particularly relevant in areas where the level of public sector
employment is relatively low, but other local services are declining due to an inability to
recruit and retain staff on lower incomes. The sub region recognises that a more local
definition of key workers is required, and that further research is needed to identify the
precise scale and nature of the problem.

The sub region is keen to ensure that, in the new provision of affordable housing, the
right balance is struck between providing opportunities for those in housing need that
are on different incomes. Therefore the sub-region seeks to ensure that an appropriate
mix of rented and intermediate tenures is provided, tailored to local needs, to help
create balanced and sustainable communities.

At this stage we have agreed to compare existing data rather than commission new sub
regional research. We will work together to fill gaps in knowledge, using housing needs
surveys, information gathered direct from residents, and any other relevant data.

        Comments from sub regional workshop
         What about rural key workers?
         Why don‟t other services assist in subsidy?
         Need to work on key worker definitions


Rural housing needs

Priorities

 Continue to fund and work with rural housing enablers.

 Share good practice on developing exception sites through the newly formed sub
     regional development forum.

 Continue to highlight rural housing issues collectively within the sub region.

The lack of affordable housing in rural areas is a significant problem throughout the sub
region. The effects of the affordability issue are changing the profile of our villages
dramatically. In many areas house prices are beyond the reach of local people causing
many newly forming households to move out of the area. Longer term effects of this

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                                           Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy


trend could be the erosion of community spirit and social sustainability as many villages
become „dormitory‟ or commuter homes.

Affordability is crucial in villages to enable the less affluent to continue to be able to
live in a sustainable rural community. Developing affordable housing within the rural
environment is a key challenge for this sub region, especially overcoming planning
dilemmas (including NIMBYISM) and finding appropriate sites while acknowledging the
need for schemes to be sustainable.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for provision of rural housing is funding. Rural schemes
are often expensive and time consuming to develop, with sites often too small to
achieve any planning gain. The sub region believes that rural exceptions policies and
innovation are of great importance, but that further specific funding for rural schemes is
essential to ensure that local village needs are identified and met. If the funding is not
there, false hope is brought to the community, losing peoples trust and confidence.
Without the support, potential schemes fall by the wayside.


        Comments from sub regional workshop
         Villages and market towns, particularly villages, need small rural schemes of affordable
           housing
         Create sustainable settlements
         „Refresh‟ dormitory villages – essential services
         Increase % of funding going to rural schemes
         Encourage modest/small developments over large growth of villages
         Most of the sub-region has rural areas – keep reminding government of rural concerns/issues



Homelessness

Priorities

 Work together on opportunities and solutions that have benefits on a sub regional
      basis as we seek to implement our homelessness strategies.

 Prevent and tackle homelessness amongst 16 and 17 year olds, including the use of
      family mediation services and leaving and after care services.

 Prevent homelessness and ensure suitable accommodation is provided for all
      homeless households, avoiding the use of B&B.

In 2003/04 there were over 5,000 homelessness approaches made within the sub region
and almost 2,000 acceptances compared with just over 10,000 homeless acceptances
across the Eastern Region in 2001/02 6. This is a growing trend, and causes increasing
concern across the sub region.

While affordability issues are clearly affecting levels of homelessness, there are a
number of vulnerable groups and social trends which are consistently presenting via the
homelessness route. Meeting the needs of 16 and 17 year olds through joint working with


6   Affordable Housing Study 2003

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partner agencies is one of many preventative measures being established by the partner
authorities.

The sub region faces the challenges of providing both good quality temporary
accommodation and suitable long-term homes for the people most in need. Some
solutions to this, the sub region believes, are

 Developing more affordable homes.

 Strengthening supported housing and flexible floating support services.

 Enhancing the private rented sector and developing initiatives to overcome obstacles
     to renting privately.

 Earlier interventions and preventative techniques from all partner agencies.

Rough sleeping is an issue only within some parts of the sub region, but the phenomena
of „hidden homelessness‟ or „homeless at home‟ is a challenge for all local authorities to
address.

Both Suffolk and Essex authorities are focussed on prevention work with victims of
domestic violence, through Essex-wide support and outreach work and through Suffolk-
wide domestic violence good practice and training protocol. We will all share ideas, and
build on these two approaches to the issue to apply across the sub region.

Within the sub region there is an opportunity to share good practice and innovative
working - Colchester Borough Council has been awarded beacon status for its innovative
work in this area. We also plan to compare our homelessness reviews and strategies and
learn from each other.


Black and minority ethnic community needs

Priorities

 Engage local BME communities and other hard to reach groups to identify their
     housing and support needs and to take action to ensure these are met, thereby
     complying with the requirement to identify and respond to the housing needs of all
     communities. In particular the Suffolk authorities will aim to follow the good
     practice already demonstrated in Essex.

 Involve BME communities in service planning, delivery and setting service standards
     and priorities in partnership with the voluntary sector and other representative
     groups.

 Ensure non-discriminatory practices are followed in all activities we undertake and
     rigorously monitor these practices.

 Promote race equality and actively tackle racial harassment and discrimination in
     each of our areas.

The sub region‟s BME population is widely dispersed and not geographically clustered.
There are larger than average number of people from BME communities in the Ipswich

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and Tendring districts. Throughout the rest of the sub region households are widely
dispersed. Census 2001 data indicates there are approximately 32,500 people from BME
communities in the sub region. This section of the population is often under
represented among those who access housing and support services.

This particular hard to reach group often features disproportionately in the more
vulnerable groups in our society. Tackling discrimination is therefore one of the ways of
ensuring a better quality of life for all the residents of the sub region.

        Comments from sub regional workshop
         BME and rural BME needs
         Clear evidence of the needs of BME people and acting on it.
         BME schemes? Housing Corporation policy – discussion – do these schemes bring
           communities together?



We need to improve the information about the housing and support needs of BME
people. This is an area that merits further research and needs to be included in any
future assessment of housing need in the sub region.

The Essex authorities, with other social landlords in Essex, have recently commissioned a
BME Housing Needs Survey entitled „Facing the Facts‟7 launched in autumn 2003. An
action plan has now been developed which will be implemented across Essex. Similar
work will need to be done across the Suffolk authorities in the sub region, so a
consistent approach can be achieved in assessing and meeting the housing and support
needs of BME households.

Many BME communities rely on mainstream housing services and sometimes lack the
infrastructure necessary to make their housing needs known. We are committed to
building capacity in this area by working in partnership with representative groups to
listen to and act on the views of BME households.

To do this, we need to ensure that language does not operate as a barrier to accessing
housing and support services within our sub region, by providing high quality translation
services wherever required. The sub region is also committed to ensuring the work we
undertake and the image we present is inclusive, non-discriminatory and welcomes
diversity.

Gypsies and Travellers

As a sub region we are committed to responding to legislation, ensuring provision of
appropriate sites, and working in partnership to tackle the issues and tensions around
gypsy and traveller communities

Following government guidance issues in April 2003, we will be working together to build
a strategy dealing with unauthorised camping, which will aim (as the guidance suggests)
to:



7 „Facing the Facts‟ Commissioned by Essex Housing Officers Group and conducted by Andy Steele of Salford
University, using community based interviewers to survey and focus groups.

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 Balance the rights and needs of resident communities with those of Gypsies and
     Travellers.

 Manage unauthorised encampments in an efficient and effective way.

 Set out proposals to meet Gypsies‟ and Travellers‟ needs by making adequate and
     appropriate site provision.

 Ensure proper working relationships between the agencies involved.

 Address issues of social exclusion in the Gypsy and Traveller communities.

Although gypsies and travellers can use the support services available to all members of
the public, in practice many are unlikely to do so. Cultural factors and issues around
social exclusion are thought to be the main reasons for a reluctance to use conventional
services. As a result, the gypsy and travelling community are more reliant on specialist
services that do not always have a local base.

There are specialist services available to gypsies and travellers in our area, if not our
sub region, and we hope to work with them in future to help address this issue.


Asylum seekers and refugees

Priorities

 Assist in the prevention of homelessness among asylum seekers and in the longer-
     term settlement of refugees across the sub region, in partnership with NASS and
     refugee agencies.

 Promote community cohesion through the development of balanced communities of
     people from a range of backgrounds with a range of needs.

 Support the development of supported housing, floating support, advice and
     outreach services for refugee households.

Ipswich, the only cluster area for NASS dispersal within the Greater Haven Gateway Sub
Region, has received asylum seekers from London and the South East since 2001.
Between 400 and 500 asylum seekers passed through Ipswich based NASS accommodation
in 2002, and the total number of asylum seekers in NASS accommodation at the end of
May 2004 was 239. NASS accommodation has become a less reliable indicator of
numbers of asylum seekers since the withdrawal of NASS support to in country asylum
applicants from January 2003.

Up to now NASS accommodation has been in the private rented and small hotel sectors,
which are already squeezed at the lower end of the market. Single people on low
incomes and initiatives to combat homelessness such as the rent deposit guarantee
scheme traditionally use these sectors. Many NASS contracts are due to expire in 2005,
and a new model for NASS accommodation is currently under discussion. It is hoped that
the new model will include a greater involvement of sub regional partners, recognising it
as an issue, being aware of this pressure and seeking suitable solutions.



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There is little hard data about the number of refugee households settling in Ipswich in
the longer term but homelessness and housing advice services have seen increased
numbers of refugee households, as have hostels for single people and the rent deposit
guarantee scheme. In 2002/03 refugee households made up 13% of homeless
acceptances in Ipswich.

Local refugee agencies have identified the need for short term supported housing or
floating support to help people who have recently had a positive decision from the Home
Office adjust to independent living and find housing locally. At present there is only one
16 bed-space supported housing scheme for this group. The Refugee Council offers up to
2 hours advice (including housing advice) to each household and Suffolk Refugee Support
Forum (SRSF) provides ongoing casework including basic housing advice and support.

SRSF has also identified a need for outreach housing support for refugees settling in
smaller towns and villages outside Ipswich, and this may become more important should
sub regional partners take on a greater role.


Private housing conditions

Priorities

 Achieve the government‟s target to increase the proportion of vulnerable households
     living in decent homes.

 Tackle the condition of the poorest homes, often occupied by the most vulnerable
     households.

 Seek to secure investment and an increase in resources to address unfitness, serious
     disrepair and fuel poverty.

 Compare stock condition survey data and build information on the decent homes
     standard in private homes.

 Work together on opportunities and solutions that have benefits across the sub
     region as we seek to implement our private housing renewal strategies.

 Work more inclusively to promote interventions to tackle fuel poverty.

The portion of the housing market made up of private sector homes in each district
varies, from 70% in Ipswich to 92% in Tendring, averaging 85% across the sub region.
There are high levels of disrepair and poor energy efficiency in private homes across the
sub region. An average of 3.95% private sector homes are unfit, ranging from 2.1% in
Suffolk Coastal to 6.2% in Tendring.

An average 10.2% private sector homes were in serious disrepair at the last stock
condition survey. The estimated cost to remedy serious disrepair was £255.3m.

Local authority funds available for 2004/5 total £4,566,000 with all authorities making
private sector housing an investment priority. Ipswich and Tendring have been successful
in accessing government funding for the private sector in 2004/5. This funding is
focussed specifically on achieving the decent homes standard in private homes.


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The sub regional focus is on vulnerable households in private sector housing, whether
rented or bought. The government‟s target is to increase the proportion of vulnerable
households living in decent homes. This target will be achieved if the proportion of
vulnerable households in decent homes is increased from 57% in 2001 to 65% in 2006, 70%
by 2010 and 75% by 2020.

Each authority is implementing policies appropriate to its own area, based on the results
of individual stock condition surveys. We need to share and compare information, both
on levels of decency, fitness and risk in the private sector, and how best to compare this
data with residents‟ vulnerability, to ensure we tackle our highest priorities first, and
most effectively. These priorities vary according to local circumstances, but generally
aim to:

 Tackle unfitness and disrepair and improve energy efficiency and security in the
     private sector to ensure good quality private housing stock.

 Develop and improving the private rented sector to help meet housing need.

 Target assistance at the residents at greatest risk from poor quality housing
     (including older and vulnerable residents), and their landlords.

 Explore opportunities for alternative funding, using a variety of ways to invest for
     owned and rented homes, including equity release loans although limited progress on
     getting schemes up and running to date.

 Ensure we have up to date information on private stock condition to inform future
     investment priorities.

 Achieve improvements through a combination of enforcement, advice and financial
     assistance.

By comparing unfitness and serious disrepair information with Census data indicating
vulnerability, it is clear that Ipswich and Tendring both have high levels of unfitness and
disrepair, along with vulnerability, followed by Colchester. However these statistics
need further analysis to make sure we are comparing similar data, comparing
vulnerability to housing conditions specifically in the private sector.

There is sound evidence of partnership working with agencies that help to improve the
housing conditions of our more vulnerable residents, including a wide range of different
kinds of home improvement agencies.

Fuel poverty is being tackled across the sub region, hand in hand with improving energy
efficiency and securing affordable warmth, again focussing initially on our most
vulnerable residents. Key partners include the Warm Front team, Essex Energy Advice
Centre and Suffolk Energy Action Link, which is a partnership arrangement between all
of the Suffolk borough and district councils.




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    Comments from sub regional workshop
     Need to maximise fitness and decency levels
     Need more investment and ways to identify ways to address move from county to sub-regional
       working
     Need to increase landlord investment and work with RSLs
     Neighbourhood renewal links and social inclusion agenda
     Identify where to focus resources – vulnerability and quality of housing
     All have a vibrant Home Improvement Agency linking to SP Funding Schemes.
     Need to work out how private sector stock condition will be reflected sub-regionally



Disabled facilities grants, aids and adaptations

Priorities

 Secure additional resources to meet the needs of disabled people in the sub region,
     who are a small but very vulnerable group.

 Recognise this issue when considering stock options appraisal.

The announcement in November 2003 by the Housing Corporation, at short notice, that
RSLs, particularly those created as part of a stock transfer process, could no longer seek
funding for aids and adaptations through the approved development programme has had
a significant impact in the sub region. Local housing authorities have been expected to
provide the alternative source of funding through disabled facilities grants. However,
the Government has also restricted its funding support to local authorities with the
Eastern Region having its allocation reduced more than other areas in the south of the
country.

The level of need for works to enable a disabled person to gain access to and within
their home remains unchanged. Many authorities are now in an almost impossible
position as disabled facilities grants are mandatory. At the same time the authorities do
not have the funding or credit approval available to pay the grant to the applicant when
the works has been undertaken, without the full cost impacting upon the council tax
payer. Substantial increases in credit approvals for these grant costs are likely to be
submitted by sub region authorities to meet the deficit created by the Housing
Corporation‟s unhelpful and precipitate action, that did not give sufficient time for
authorities and Government to plan to overcome the issues involved.

Other authorities undertaking stock option appraisals need to bear this issue in mind as
part of the appraisal. For example, a number of recent stock transfer agreements
elsewhere in the region have reflected the need for the receiving housing association to
fully fund aids and adaptations to the stock in future years from its own resources. This
has reduced the value of the properties involved.




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                                           Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy



        Comments from sub regional workshop
        Meet the specific housing needs of older people in the future
        Aids and adaptations and DFG Funding Supporting People, revenue leakage to capital investment
            - regional and county priorities




Empty homes

Priorities

 Explore options for a sub regional leasing scheme to assist with homelessness issues
     and bringing properties back into use, including using the new legislation and toolkit.

 Share good practice on empty homes.

All authorities in the sub region have different issues around empty homes, however we
recognise the need to share good practice and to work together to analyse information
on the most effective ways to deal with them. For example, whether there is an
optimum time to intervene, which we could all benefit from adopting in our empty
homes strategies. Some authorities have related problems with significant numbers of
second homes, which exacerbate the demand for affordable housing need.

Authorities are at various stages of creating, adopting, implementing and reviewing
strategies, but all are aiming particularly at long term empties, and bringing them back
into use to help meet local housing needs and revitalise this corner of the housing
market.

Some authority‟s private housing renewal strategies include grants or loans to help bring
empty homes back into use. This assistance requires the owner to accept a nomination
arrangement so that local people in housing need can occupy the property for a set
period of time.

Colchester and Suffolk Coastal have also entered into leasing arrangements with the
Annington Homes and the MOD respectively to use surplus former MOD stock as
temporary housing for homeless households. However, authorities individually have
generally struggled to make private leasing schemes a viable option. We hope that
working in partnership within the sub region to share ideas and good practice will help
present a solution to this issue.


Decent homes and communities

Priorities

 Work to achieve the decent homes standard by at least 2010 and work towards
     decent homes plus.

 Complete option appraisals in those authorities affected.

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                                           Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy


 Share good practice on partnering and procurement.

 Maintain the commitment to work to in partnership with customers.

 Share information on decent homes plus, and our residents‟ aspirations.

Significant levels of investment are needed to bring social housing up to the
government‟s decent homes standard. This need has been identified through robust
stock condition information, though this varies in age and methodology.

Suffolk Coastal and Maldon have both transferred their housing stock to RSL partners,
while Colchester operates in partnership with an ALMO. All other authorities are at
varying stages of the options appraisal process.

The percentage of council stock in non-transfer authorities varies from 10% to 16%.
However RSL stock averages across the sub region at 6%, varying from 2% in Mid Suffolk
to 7% in Ipswich. For the transfer authorities, RSL stock represents 10% (Maldon) and
12% (Suffolk Coastal).

Every authority and stock transfer RSL is aiming to meet the decent homes standard by
2010, and some sooner. We are planning to invest in “decent homes plus” adding
further value to this investment, for example through customer-led environmental
improvements, security, community and estate regeneration and will work together to
quantify this gap.

The number of council homes failing the decent homes standard is over 14,366 or 41%
across the sub region. This varies from 24% in Ipswich to 62% in Braintree. The funding
needed to meet standard by 2010 is approximately £179.6m, while funding available is
£106.5m (at 2004/05).

Communities

Authorities are committed to work to in partnership with customers, making sure they
are central to policy development, aiming to

 improve customer involvement

 act on the priorities customers identify

 ensure effective tenant involvement

 increase tenant participation

 provide tenant-led modernisation programmes.

Within the sub region there is an opportunity to share good practice and innovative
working – Babergh District Council has been awarded beacon status for its innovative
work on neighbourhood renewal, which all authorities in the sub region are keen to learn
from.




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                                           Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy


Supported housing

Priorities

 Share good practice on the development of supported housing and support services.

 Integrate pipeline services across boundaries.

 Quantify the need for different types of supported housing and housing support, in
     partnership with Supporting People administering authorities.

 Explore and develop funding opportunities sub regionally.

Suffolk and Essex councils in the sub region have different frameworks for Supporting
People priority setting and planning. In particular, Suffolk operates a series of „task
groups‟ for identified service user groups, reporting to Suffolk Housing Programme Group
(SHPG) and Supporting People Commissioning Body (SPCB) to co-ordinate a 3 year
rolling development programme integrated at county and district levels. Essex councils
are in the process of identifying local priorities at district level. All district and borough
councils in Suffolk have achieved coveted “beacon status” for their innovative work on
supporting people.

Tying revenue and capital funding together has led to uncertainty over scheme delivery,
both present and future. The fact the sub region is covered by the two county
administering authorities does not help create a “joined up” approach.

Common areas for future investment include:

 Expanding and improving the availability of floating support for vulnerable people,
     particularly those at risk of repeat homelessness.

 Co-ordinating services for care-leavers and young people.

 Improving and re-modelling the provision of housing for older people, including
     sheltered, very sheltered and extra care housing both for rent and for lease and
     temporary accommodation for all homeless households

All districts are working on improving partnerships with agencies and providers to ensure
best use of resources, supported by effective referral processes for all supported
accommodation.

        Comments from sub regional workshop
         Need suitable short and medium term move-on accommodation for people leaving care
         Must ensure interface with health and social care agendas.
         How do we address supporting housing issues on a sub-regional basis when SP are
           countywide and how do we ensure priorities of each SP area are reflected in the strategy?
         Need clear priorities for resources and need clear evidence for different needs groups and
           robust 5 year projections: supported housing for older people, mental health, young people
           learning disabilities, physical difficulties, substance misuse, marginalised
         Need a range of tenures to meet evidenced need.



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                                           Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy




Appendix 1: Key facts
This fact sheet has been put together by combining information from housing needs
studies carried out at district level, HIP returns, 2001 census and the land registry.
Housing needs studies have been undertaken at different times between 2000 and 2003
and there is a need for a sub regional market assessment to give more reliable and
comparable information.

Overall figures

     Total population 889, 273 (2001 census)

     Total dwellings 396,004 (HIP figures for 2003 and 2004)

     Total RSL and council dwellings 55,226 (HIP figures for 2003 and 2004)

Housing market

 Earnings needed to enter the private housing market range from £19,000 to £26,000
     (figures from 2002 and 2003 housing needs studies only)

 73% of concealed households cannot afford to enter the private housing market
     (based on housing needs surveys carried out between 2000 and 2003).

 Average house price across the sub region £171,191 an 85% increase since January –
     March 2000. Range from £138,580 to £204,900. (Land Registry Jan-March 2004)

 Price of cheapest dwellings ranges from £57,000 to £110,125 (using figures from
     2002 and 2003 housing needs surveys only)

Mismatch between supply and demand for affordable housing

 4911 new affordable rented homes needed per year (at time of last housing needs
     study)

 Target of 700 new affordable rented homes per year based on what is currently
     achievable.

 In excess of 732 affordable rented homes purchased through the Right to Buy in
     2003/04.

 Planned provision of new affordable homes for rent in 2004/05 approximately 500

 Total funding (LA and HC) to RSLs for new affordable homes 2004-2006 £34M

 Number of people on housing register at 1.4.04 (excluding transfer applicants) in
     excess of 13,338

 Number of lettings to council and RSL properties (excluding transfers) in 2003/04
     approximately 4,000

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                                           Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy


Planning targets and policies

 RPG 14 target for all dwellings of 3,705 per year

 District council targets range from 25% to 40% affordable homes on new
     developments.

Homelessness

     Homelessness applications 2003/04 5,323

     Homeless acceptances 2003/04 1,938

Mismatch between stock condition and available funds

 Averages of 3.88% private sector homes unfit of habitation and 10.35% in serious
     disrepair at time of last stock condition survey.

 Estimated cost of remedying unfitness and serious disrepair in the private sector at
     time of last stock condition survey £255,280,000. (Much more is required to achieve
     decent homes in the private sector.)

 LA funds available for repairs to private sector housing 2004/05 £4,566,000

 Number of council dwellings not meeting the Decent Homes Standard (DHS) over
     14,366 or 41%.

 Funding needed to ensure all council dwellings meet DHS by 2010 £179,596,000

 Funding available to ensure all council dwellings meet DHS by 2010 £106,496,000

Special needs

 63,268 households containing someone with special needs at date of last housing
     needs survey.

 Only 16.87% living in a home adapted to meet their needs at date of last housing
     needs survey.

 Local authority funding available for aids and adaptations for people living in both
     council and private sector £5,254,570




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                                           Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy




Appendix 2: Contributors to the sub regional strategy


Local authorities in the sub region                                              Suffolk Housing Society

     Babergh                                                                    Swan Housing Group

     Braintree                                                                  Warden HA

     Colchester                                                            Private sector partners

     Ipswich                                                                    Lovell Partnerships

     Maldon                                                                     Persimmon Homes

     Mid Suffolk                                                           Speakers

     Suffolk Coastal                                                            Author, Regional Housing Strategy

     Tendring                                                                   Cambridgeshire Sub Region

Social landlords                                                                 Haven Gateway Partnership

     Anglia Housing Group                                                  Specific interest groups

     CDS Co-operative                                                           Menter

     Colchester Quaker HA                                                       Countryside Agency

     Colne Housing Society/Iceni Homes                                          House Builders Federation

     Flagship Housing Group                                                     Suffolk ACRE

     Guinness Trust                                                        Regional partners

     Hastoe Housing Association                                                 East of England Regional Assembly

     Iceni Homes                                                                Essex County Council

     John Grooms HA                                                             Go East

     Moat Housing Group                                                         Housing Corporation

     Orbit Housing Group                                                        Suffolk County Council

     Orwell HA                                                                  Suffolk Social Care Services

     Springboard HA                                                             Suffolk Supporting People




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                                            Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy



                                     GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE
                                                       Attendance List

            Name                    Organisation

Attendees

Keith Bunn                          Anglia Housing Group
Vince Gates                         Anglia Housing Group
Derek Pike-Smith                    Anglia Housing Group
Jane Smith                          Author RHS
Chris Foti                          Babergh DC
Ian Tippett                         Babergh DC
Mike Hammond                        Babergh DC
Tim Lucas                           Braintree DC
Cllr Simon Walsh                    Braintree DC
Suzanne McBride                     Cambridgeshire Sub Region
Rahul Mundray                       CDS Co-operative
Andrew Murray                       Colchester Borough Council
Cllr Mike Hogg                      Colchester Borough Council
Jeremy Robinson                     Colchester Borough Council
Richard Hughes                      Colchester Borough Council
Sue Beecroft                        Colchester Borough Council
Suzanna Clarke                      Colchester Borough Council
Cllr Robert Davidson                Colchester Borough Council
Lynne Kelliher                      Colchester Quaker HA
Mark Powell-Davies                  Colne Housing Society/Iceni Homes
Sandra Howard                       Colne Housing Society/Iceni Homes
Jane Sellers                        East of England Regional Assembly
Bauker van de Meer                  Essex CC
Martin Cooper                       Essex County Council
Helen Skoyles                       Flagship Housing Group
Martin Lutman                       Go East
Nick Capon                          Go East
Kay Caldwell                        Guinness Trust
Therese Quinlivan                   Guinness Trust
Tony Gilkerson                      Hastoe Housing Association
George Courtauld                    Haven Gateway
Paul Cronk                          House Builders Federation
Nhi Huynh Ma                        Housing Corporation
Paul Smith                          Iceni Homes
Jenny Morcom                        Ipswich BC
Paul Brookes                        Ipswich BC
Pauline Hart                        Ipswich BC
Russell Williams                    Ipswich BC
Steve Heywood                       Lovell Partnerships
James Doe                           Maldon DC
Nicola Plumb                        Maldon DC
Samantha Murray                     Maldon DC
John Day                            Menter

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                                            Greater Haven Gateway Sub Region Draft Housing Strategy


            Name                    Organisation
Bob Smith                           Mid Suffolk DC
David Sparkes                       Mid Suffolk DC
Stephen Andrews                     Mid Suffolk DC
Richard Gormley                     Moat Housing Group
Stephen Javes                       Orwell HA
Wendy Evans-Hendrick                Orwell HA
Peter Goldsmith                     Shaftesbury HA
John Bigby                          Springboard HA
Elizabeth Dunnett                   Suffolk ACRE
Mike Eaton                          Suffolk Coastal DC
John Pitchford                      Suffolk County Council
Chris Jackson                       Suffolk Housing Society
John Lambert                        Suffolk Social Care Services
Jayne Hellowell                     Suffolk Supporting People
Charis Labbett                      Swan Housing Group
David Pugh                          Tendring DC
Dennis Whitehead                    Tendring DC

Registration and Notes

Jan Mooney                          Colchester Borough Council
Celia Murden                        Colchester Borough Council

Apologies

Jay Rutnam                          Anglia Housing Group
Abigail Townsend                    Countryside Agency
Tracey Lee                          Ipswich BC
Cllr Mrs S Michell                  Mid Suffolk DC
Nick Gowrley                        Mid Suffolk DC

Not signed in

Mary Hannington                     John Grooms HA
Brian Edwards                       Orbit Housing Group
Paul Gibbs                          Persimmon Homes
Cllr Iris Johnson                   Tendring DC
Alan Baldwin                        Warden HA




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