Agenda and draft minutes

Strategic Housing Panel
Thursday, 23rd March, 2017 10.00 am

Venue: Bainbridge Room - Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven. View directions

Contact: Clive Willoughby  Tel: 01946 598328

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Linda Jones-Bulman.



Declarations of Interests in Agenda Items


Councillor Lena Hogg declared a non-pecuniary interest in Agenda Item 5 (Performance Update) due to having a relative in receipt of a Disabled Facility Grant.



Minutes of the meeting held on 15 December 2016 pdf icon PDF 76 KB


RESOLVED - That the minutes of the meeting held on 15 December 2016 be signed by the Deputy Chair as a correct record.



Private Sector Housing Condition Survey 2016 pdf icon PDF 294 KB


Members were joined by Jane Bryan of David Adamson & Partners Ltd, who presented the findings of the Private Sector House Condition Survey 2016.


The Panel was advised that the Copeland Borough Council area contained 27,741 private sector residential dwellings occupied by 25,439 households with a population of 56,098.


The survey was designed and implemented in accordance with national Government guidelines.


A sample target of 750 surveys was agreed, representing 2.7% of the total private sector housing stock.


The results of the survey indicated that:-

·       Owner occupation is the predominant private sector tenure accounting for 23,209 (83.7%) of dwellings.

·       The remaining 4,532 (16.3%) of dwellings are rented privately.

·       Rates of private rental are below the national average of 24.3%

·       24.6% of housing in Copeland dates to pre-1919, which generally perform less well than newer homes.

·       72.2% of households in Copeland contain 1 or 2 persons.

·       9,726 (38.2%) of households have a head of household aged 65 years or over.

·       Households where the occupants are wholly retired account for 40.9% of households, compared to the average for England of 28.7%

·       The housing conditions locally with regards to the Decent Homes Standard are slightly better than the national average. 15.2% of local private sector housing fails the Decent Homes Standard compared to 20.7% in England.

·       2760 (10.8%) of households were affected by limiting long term illness/disability.

·       2,229 (80.7%) of households affected by illness/disability indicated mobility problems with their current dwelling with only 21.6% of these households living in adapted dwellings.


During the discussion that followed, Members suggested that the figures contained in the report could be used to strengthen the bid for an increase in Disabled Facilities Grants monies.


Members thanked Ms Bryan for her presentation.


RESOLVED: that the update be noted.



Performance Update pdf icon PDF 118 KB


The Director of Customer and Community Services introduced this item to Members by reminding them that the Council had a legal duty to provide statutory grants for eligible works to meet the care and mobility needs of people with disabilities in the Borough.


The Panel was advised that Copeland received £569,515 in 2016/17 via Cumbria County Council for Disabled Facilities Grants and all this money had been committed.


Members were also advised that although the maximum grant available was £30k there was a trend for property extensions above this amount.


During the discussion that followed, Members suggested there were not enough bungalows or appropriate properties in the Borough. It was further suggested that Housing Associations need to be more aware that if an adapted property becomes available, it should be offered to someone who needs it, rather than placing them in another property that would require an adaptation.


RESOLVED: that the update be noted.


Empty Homes Initiative update pdf icon PDF 38 KB


The Empty Homes Officer introduced this item to Members by advising them of the activity that had taken place since the last meeting of the Panel.


30 Letters/questionnaires had been sent to owners of Long Term Empty Premium properties (empty for over 2 years) and 43 to properties empty over 3 months but under 2 years.

48 replies had been received resulting in 21 properties no longer being classed as empty.


Members were told that the Empty Homes Officer was happy to offer advice to home owners and her contact details were available on the Council’s website.


The Panel was happy with the progress being made and thanked the Empty Homes Officer for her hard work.


RESOLVED: that the update be noted.



Copeland Community Led Housing Initiative pdf icon PDF 91 KB


The Director of Customer and Community Services provided Members with an update on the Community Housing Fund.


The Panel was advised that Copeland would receive £193k from Government to compensate for the number of homes in the Borough and it was the intention to utilise some of this amount to employ a worker to maximise the potential. This could possibly be new builds, links with local developers, empty homes or self builds to ensure affordable homes in the localities.


Members welcomed the update.


RESOLVED: that the update be noted.



Copeland Housing Strategy - verbal Update


The Panel was advised that the 2016/17 Action Plan had been delayed due to NuGen issues, but would be an Agenda item for the next meeting of this Panel.


RESOLVED: that the update be noted.



Original text