Issue - meetings
That the Committee support the approach being taken in exploring and testing out Modern Methods of Construction and Modular Building to complement existing house building programmes.
The Chief Officer (Housing and Assets) introduced a report to provide an update on the progress made to date on the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) in Flintshire.
The Service Manager – Housing Programmes advised that a combination of acute housing demand and market failures in terms of cost, quantity and quality, were forcing industries to look at MMC as a solution. Detailed recommendations were put forward following the Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply in Wales which have been accepted by Welsh Government (WG). WG have prepared a consultation document ‘Re-imagining social house building in Wales, An Off-Site Manufacturing Strategy for Wales’ and this strategy was aimed at social and affordable housing providers in Wales to encourage organisations to relook at the building of new social housing, and consider complimenting traditional construction methods, with new technologies and approaches to home building.
Councillor Dennis Hutchinson welcomed the report and commented on the high quality of the apartment complex at the former doctor’s surgery in Buckley, which had recently been completed using off site construction methods. The Service Manager – Housing Programmes suggested that the Committee take part in a site visit to the complex in Buckley in order to see the different site construction methods. He also suggested that the Committee re-visit the site at St Andrews Church, Garden City, as the development of the apartments was near completion. The Committee supported the suggestion of the site visits.
Councillor Paul Shotton raised concerns around the shortage of trades across Wales and said that it showed the need to ensure an increase in apprenticeships. The Service Manager – Housing Programmes commented on the initiatives available as part of the Strategic Housing and Regeneration Programme (SHARP) and the work alongside Job Centre Plus and Coleg Cambria to offer work opportunities and training.
In response to questions around Berwyn Prisons, the Service Manager – Housing Programmes advised that early dialogue had recently begun around the principle of working with HMP Berwyn and a private sector sponsor to build timber frame buildings or pods for either existing project or for planner refurbishments. The project could support affordable housing being built by the men at Berwyn so giving them realistic prospects of future employment. Councillor Rosetta Dolphin commented on the need to ensure students were given the same opportunities and priority to access training.
Councillor Helen Brown asked if apprentices were given the opportunity to work on building developments in order to gain on-site experience. The Chief Officer confirmed that apprentices were given the opportunity to work on void properties in order to enhance their skills. He also said that the Council should be proud of its in-house apprentices, of plumbers, joiners, electricians and painters.
Following a suggestion from the Service Manager – Housing Programmes to share the SHARP report on Community Benefit with the Committee, the Chief Officer suggested that the Community Benefits being delivered as part of the SHARP programme be added to the Committee’s Forward Work Programme for consideration ... view the full minutes text for item 14