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Agenda item

Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2022-26

To recommend the Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2022-26 to Council for approval. 

Subject To Call In::No - Recommendation to Council


That it be RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL that the Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2022-26 be APPROVED, subject to the wording around Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople being reviewed for consistency.


92.1           The report of the Housing Services Manager, circulated at Pages No. 32-62, set out the Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2022-26 and Members were asked to recommend it to the Council for approval.

92.2           The Head of Community Services advised that the current interim Housing Strategy 2021/22 had been put in place as an extension to the previous Housing Strategy 2017-2021 as preparation for a new full Housing Strategy was deferred as a result of COVID-19. Following workshops with key stakeholders, including Members, internal colleagues and external partners, a draft strategy document had been produced and made available for public consultation. The responses to that process had been considered and had helped to inform the Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2022-26 document which was attached to the report at Appendix 1. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had considered and endorsed the Strategy at its meeting on 8 February 2022. The consultation responses had been attached to the report at Appendix 3 for transparency purposes – some of the feedback had not been included as it was not relevant but, where necessary, those comments had been passed onto the correct Council team. The Housing Services Manager was working on an action plan for Overview and Scrutiny Committee to consider later in the year and that would be reviewed regularly. The Housing Services Manager thanked Members for being part of the process and advised they had been key in the creation of the strategy.

92.3           A Member was of the view that the large number of properties which were being bought to rent out as holiday accommodation meaning they were not available as the first step on the ladder for many young homebuyers was a tragedy. In response, the Head of Community Services advised that the Welsh government had just announced it was implementing a 300% increase in Council Tax for holiday homes, but he was unsure if this was a step the English government would take. Referring to Page No. 43, a Member questioned which land was referred to in the bullet point “utilise land in Tewkesbury Borough Council’s ownership to support the delivery of affordable housing and encourage other public bodies to do likewise”. In response, the Housing Services Manager advised that different options were being explored such as garage sites across the Borough, land owned by Homes England and the Church. In terms of the Spring Gardens and MAFF sites, the Head of Finance and Asset Management explained that the Council was starting to re-engage with the consultants about how to take the sites forward and how they might fit together to meet the needs of Tewkesbury Town. A Member expressed the view that the MAFF site could be pushed forward for a modular housing site; she understood it was constricted but it was fairly central and would be ideal for social housing. Other Members supported that idea. One Member expressed her frustration that the term affordable housing was used when it was not affordable for most; she had thought the Council was going to prioritise social housing for the future. The Head of Community Services agreed that it was unfortunate the term ‘affordable’ was the accepted term for cheaper housing; however, the Council’s housing survey had clearly said that social rented housing was what was needed and that was reflected in the Strategy. A Member referred to the call for sites in respect of Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople and noted that objective 5 on Page No. 48 referred to the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community and she questioned what the correct terminology was. In response, the Head of Community Services undertook to review the wording prior to the strategy being considered by Council. A Member questioned what the local private landlord forum was and how landlords were attracted to join it. In response, the Head of Community Services advised that the details had not yet been worked through but it was an approach which had been taken in other areas with success. Responsible landlords joined the forum and that flushed out those which were not responsible so the Environmental Health team could look into their properties and the way they were managed.

92.4           Accordingly, it was

Action By:HComS

Supporting documents: