Agenda item

To endorse the partnership working for a proposed new supported housing facility and BDBC covenant revision.

 

Recommendation from the Cabinet Member for Homes and Families

Decision:

1.    Endorse the work undertaken by officers to date and the partnership approach taken as set out in the report.  

 

2.    Approve the revision of council’s covenant at NIL value on the property at 180 Culver Road Basingstoke, to support the delivery of a supported living scheme as detailed in this report. This accords with S123 of the Local Government Act 1972 where any covenant revision which may be at less than best consideration, can proceed where social, economic and environmental benefits can be achieved.      

 

3.    Delegate the detailed terms and conditions associated with the revision of the covenant, and related documentation, and any other supplementary legal or other agreements that may be required to facilitate the delivery of the scheme to the Executive Director of Corporate Services, in consultation with the Executive Director of Residents Services and the Head of Law and Governance.    

 

4.    Endorse the proposed next steps and actions as set in the report, to facilitate completion of a scheme of development for supported living, subject to the grant of planning permission

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report which set out details of a proposed supported living scheme to be delivered at 180 Culver Road by Two Saints Housing as a specialist provider in the field of supported housing and homelessness.

 

A member of the public, Mr Orchard and visiting Councillors K Taylor and McCormick addressed Cabinet with their concerns.

 

Councillor K Taylor commented that whilst she supported helping those that were homeless she had concerns regarding the proposed scheme.  She felt it was opportunist due to the availability of the building. She was also concerned regarding lack of consultation with local residents and felt that the report did not present the wider views of the community.  She requested that fuller consultation be undertaken before a decision was taken.

 

Mr Orchard made comment that most local residents were opposed to the proposal, the site was inappropriate and in the wrong place and that many of his neighbours considered their lives would be disrupted should the proposal go ahead.  He also commented that many people who lived outside the immediate area walk along the path to the local school and the play area.  He added that Two Saints Housing only canvassed the fifty houses nearest to the site which he considered inadequate.  He also raised concerns regarding an increase in anti-social behaviour and the impact it may have on the safety of children in the area.

 

Councillor McCormick further raised concerns of residents, stating that the site was compact and in close proximity to some houses.  He added that the area was a quiet housing estate and was concerned around the management of external nuisance factors such as those reported at the Two Saints Hostel in Newbury.  He appreciated that May Place was no longer fit for purpose but questioned whether Culver Road was the right site.  He raised a number of questions:

 

1.    Had any alternative venues been considered?

2.    What would happen if planning permission was refused?  Will May Place close and what would happen then?

3.    How would the site be managed?

4.    How would the mix of stage 1 and 2 residents with varying degrees of vulnerability be managed?

5.    What assurances could be given to the residents of Culver Road and Cordale Road that there wouldn’t be problems with parking, anti-social behaviour, drink and drugs paraphernalia being left in close proximity to the busy footpath used by children of St John’s School, Cranbourne School, Queens Mary’s College and Fairfields School?

 

The Cabinet Member for Homes and Families provided an introduction to the report and clarified that the report under consideration was not concerned with any planning permission that might come forward in the coming months for the site but purely to approve the revision of the covenant at nil value on the property at 180 Culver Road to support the delivery of a supported living scheme as detailed in the report.  He added that the council had a Housing and Homelessness Strategy unanimously approved by Council and it was important to consider the reasons for the proposed scheme.  The new facility would help save lives and support vulnerable residents away from the streets to independent living with 24 hour support.  He further added that he was committed to not sweeping the challenging issues under the carpet but to work to find solutions rather than finding reasons to delay something he considered morally obligated to deliver.

 

Responding to the comments made by Mr Orchard he fully appreciated the concerns that residents had towards the proposal and confirmed he had been engaging directly with Two Saints Housing, had been in contact with a number of local residents and had relayed any concerns raised to Two Saints Housing.  He was confident that with collaborative working many of the issues and concerns raised by residents would be addressed when a planning application was submitted in the coming months and it was important for the whole community to integrate people into the wider society.

 

In response to Councillor Taylor’s comments he stated that work had been underway for the last 5 years on a scheme of this nature.  He clarified that the proposed scheme was not the first scheme available and a number of other sites had been considered.  He agreed that consultation with local residents and schools was important and welcomed engagement from Two Saints Housing to consult further with the community.  He also confirmed that local ward members for the area had been fully engaged in the process with officers.

 

Responding to Councillor McCormick’s comments he stated that he hoped planning permission would be approved but it was for planning to look at the application and respond to concerns of residents.  He agreed to provide a written answer in response to the question regarding management of the site, but confirmed there would be support on site. He stated it was important that the issues of parking and potential for anti-social behaviour were managed in the local area and work was being undertaken by Two Saints Housing.

 

In conclusion he highlighted the importance of working in collaboration with the Social Inclusion Partnership and others, support to vulnerable residents, reduction in the number of people on the housing register, end rough sleeping and deliver a better community for everyone in the borough.

 

Resolved: Cabinet

 

1.    Endorse the work undertaken by officers to date and the partnership approach taken as set out in the report.  

 

2.    Approve the revision of council’s covenant at NIL value on the property at 180 Culver Road Basingstoke, to support the delivery of a supported living scheme as detailed in this report. This accords with S123 of the Local Government Act 1972 where any covenant revision which may be at less than best consideration, can proceed where social, economic and environmental benefits can be achieved.      

 

3.    Delegate the detailed terms and conditions associated with the revision of the covenant, and related documentation, and any other supplementary legal or other agreements that may be required to facilitate the delivery of the scheme to the Executive Director of Corporate Services, in consultation with the Executive Director of Residents Services and the Head of Law and Governance.    

 

4.    Endorse the proposed next steps and actions as set in the report, to facilitate completion of a scheme of development for supported living, subject to the grant of planning permission

 

Reasons for the decision:

 

The proposed scheme to be delivered for supported housing will provide additional accommodation for homeless persons and those at risk of becoming homeless. The proposal meets a range of objectives in the Council Plan and key priorities in the Housing and Homelessness Strategy, including housing some of the Borough’s most vulnerable residents. The new building will significantly improve the current provision at May Place, and provide purpose built and bespoke accommodation with some 25 bedrooms in total, to include a small quantum of emergency accommodation.     

The proposal represents an excellent example of partnership working with a specialist in the field of supported housing, and progressive and cross cutting work across Local Authorities. The replacement of the currently obsolete and vacant building will enable its replacement with an asset that can directly contribute to the economy, and which will have wider reaching benefits associated with social wellbeing.

 

Supporting documents: