Report by Service Lead – Affordable Housing (attached).
The Committee considered a report by the Service Lead – Affordable Housing (circulated previously) regarding gap funding of 21 social rents at Woolacombe.
The Service Lead – Affordable Housing highlighted the following:
· The Community Housing Fund and commuted sums from Section 106s were not sufficient alone to enable all existing nor future community-led housing projects. How to resource the delivery of affordable housing via community-led housing models both financially and in terms of staff was within the scope of Project 4 of the Housing and Community Safety Programme.
· There was an immediate issue to consider to enable the completion of 21 affordable homes for social rent in Woolacombe; the first Community Land Trust scheme in North Devon. Due to a forecasted start on site date of September 2023 (subject to planning) this cannot wait for the outcome of the corporate project.
· External funding had now reached £141,000 per unit and £30,000 per unit was needed to deliver the scheme. The Council needed to consider how this could be gap funded or the scheme would not go ahead.
· Since writing the report, the Government had announced that it was not renewing the Community Housing Fund.
· Mortehoe was one of the first Community Land Trusts set up through the original Community Housing Fund allocation in 2016/17 and they have come on leaps and bounds since. With the passion and energy of the community, the Community Land Trust, parish councillors, the parish clerk, the ward member, the National Trust, Middlemarch and NDC officers the scheme was soon to become a reality.
· The site was presented to the community and had huge community support. Mortehoe and Woolacombe Community Land Trust applied for funding from the NDC Community Housing Fund for pre-application and feasibility work. Pre-app feedback from Planning had been acted upon and a compromise reached with AONB, planning, the Community Land Trust and the National Trust as a possible way forward for the planning application package.
· The Community Land Trust had now selected a Registered Provider (Aster) who was putting together a funding package to deliver the proposed 21 affordable homes in Woolacombe (subject to planning). Homes England and Aster have put in significant amounts of funding at £141,000 per unit resulting in almost £3 million of government/Registered Provider funding into North Devon. To gap-fund the remainder of the scheme North Devon Council would need to provide £630k (£30,000 per unit).
Councillor Lofthouse arrived at the meeting.
· The Council, via its former Executive (in January 2018) had previously minuted its clear support for this scheme (even if via borrowing) in the future.
· Explanation of how it worked when a Community Land Trust partnered with a Registered Provider as detailed in paragraph 4.7 of the report.
· Paragraph 5 detailed the options for funding the scheme. In terms of the commuted sums, it was important to spend the sums prior to the 10 year deadline.
· This scheme would provide an opportunity to provide local housing which was 100% affordable and 100% social rent ... view the full minutes text for item 15