Agenda item

NEW Homes Business Plan 2016-21


That the Committee notes the progress made by NEW Homes to date against its Business Plan and the future growth strategy projections and proposals.


The Committee welcomed Ms. Jan Lysett who was one of the independent Directors of North East Wales (NEW) Homes.  She gave a brief summary of the core activities of the company.  She spoke about the progress of The Walks development in Flint as part of the Strategic Housing and Regeneration Programme (SHARP) and explained that her participation in the SHARP Board meetings would give an insight into other opportunities for delivering future schemes.  A systematic approach had been established to effectively manage the housing units and was supported by ongoing work to change the performance management framework.  The Board had agreed to review the over 55s lease offer scheme following targeted consultation with local groups and positive outcomes were reported on the Rent Smart Wales scheme in helping to identify quality accommodation.  A projected surplus of £15.8K for 2016/17 was a reduction from the previous year, however additional expertise and resources acquired during the year, particularly those to support the financial viability of the company, were legitimate spend to benefit future schemes.


Councillor David Roney referred to the one property currently available within the over 55s lease scheme and asked whether more could be done to speed up the legal process.  The Service Manager, Housing Programmes said that despite high demand for smaller properties, the take-up levels for this scheme had been lower than expected.  A key priority was to address any delays in the system whilst working within housing legislation regulations and a report on this would shortly be considered by the Board.  The Chief Officer (Community & Enterprise) explained that the careful development of a model lease was now in place, which meant that any legal delays were not related to the Council and may be due to individual homeowners’ legal representation.  The Service Manager agreed to a request to provide updated figures on the number of landlords registered on the Smart Rent Wales scheme.


Councillor Bernie Attridge said that the targeted group consultation had helped to provide detailed explanation of the process for the over 55s offer which enabled individuals to reach an informed decision.


Councillor Helen Brown added that the consultation sought to encourage trust on the offer, as some people were hesitant about leasing their properties.


Councillor Ian Dunbar thanked all those involved with the NEW Homes Board for the success in exceeding expectations.


On the over 55s offer, Councillor Hilary McGuill felt that the level of interest may have been affected by tax liability implications of leasing a property and the cost of bringing a property up to an appropriate standard for leasing.


In response to comments from Councillor Gareth Roberts, the Service Manager, Customer Support felt that participation levels on the over 55s scheme should not be viewed as a failure due to the complexities involved in matching individuals to properties and meeting individual expectations.  The Chief Officer explained that criteria on capital assets held by individuals affected their position on the Affordable Housing Register and therefore the lease offer had been developed as an alternative option.




That the Committee notes the progress made by NEW Homes to date against its Business Plan and the future growth strategy projections and proposals.

Supporting documents: