Agenda item

Registered Provider of Social Housing (Havebury Partnership)

Report No: OAS/WS/20/004 which provides context, and presentation by Mr Andrew Smith, Chief Executive of Havebury Housing Partnership.



[Councillor Terry Clements declared a non-pecuniary interest as an Honorary Life President of Havebury Housing Partnership.


Councillor Diane Hind declared a non-pecuniary interest as the Vice-Chair of Havebury’s Scrutiny Panel].


The Committee received Report No: OAS/WS/20/004, which reminded members that at its meeting on 2 September 2019 the Committee resolved to invite Registered Providers in West Suffolk to future meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. 


As Havebury Partnership was a significant stockholder in West Suffolk, Mr Andrew Smith, Chief Executive, Anita Jones, Director of Operations and Scott Baily, Director of Development from the Havebury Housing Partnership had been invited to the meeting to give a presentation/overview on the following topics:


-      development pipelines for the West Suffolk area including rural sites;

-      single/shared accommodation for under 25s;

-      housing tenure, particularly the provision of social rent;

-      affordability checks and supporting people to maintain tenancies;

-      joint working with West Suffolk Council; and

-      provision of housing for older people and policy to support people who would like to move.


The presentation covered the above topics as well as setting out the background to Havebury Housing and its journey; its Corporate Plan 2018-2022 which was currently being refreshed; its objectives; current and future developments; strategic opportunities (new older person strategy; new homelessness strategy and new community investment strategy).


Following the presentation, detailed discussions and responses were provided on the following:


-      property refurbishments and community spaces;

-      homes which are more dementia friendly;

-      multi-agency partnerships for community areas to clean up;

-      fly-tipping on housing estates and interaction with the Council;

-      the affordability of housing for younger people;

-      the need for suitable accommodation for people moving on;

-      electric vehicles and the provision of charging points on housing estates in the future;

-      constraints on land prices;

-      social challenges over the next 20 years.


In response to a question raised on climate change, the Committee was informed that as part of the mid-term review of the Corporate Plan 2018-2022, Havebury would be looking at climate change and about where to invest in new or existing housing stock.  Havebury was also doing as much as anyone else with regards to renewables.

The Committee discussed homes for life and the issue of an aging population.  Anita explained that Havebury had been rebalancing its housing stock profile over the last five years to ensure there were smaller properties being built on development sites.  Furthermore, Havebury was looking at its Older Persons Strategy as well as its Asset Management Strategy.  Havebury was building smaller, flexible units designed for the young, middle aged and older generations.


In response to a question raised regarding estate walk-arounds which used to include ward members, Havebury confirmed these still took place with its tenants and these could be opened-up and extended to other organisations, including ward members.


In response to a question raised regarding what percentage of Havebury’s housing stock was solid/cavity wall Anita agreed to provide the figures following the meeting. 


In response to a question asking how proactive Rangers in the community were, members were informed that the number of Rangers had been increased, and Havebury were confident they had the team in place to deal with neighbourhood issues.


In response to a question raised with regards to tenants maintaining their gardens, Anita advised that Havebury had Rangers and a neighbourhood advice service.  Havebury also had a fund for a supportive gardener scheme, if tenants were struggling to maintain their own gardens which could be accessed if there was a genuine need.


In response to a question raised on service charges and how they were decided, the Committee was informed that an annual assessment was carried out each year.  Not all tenants had separate service charges as these could be pooled for a housing estate.  Every year Havebury looked at where there were large impacts on tenants, such as water charges.


Councillor Diane Hind then moved the recommendation, this was duly seconded by Councillor Terry Clements and with the vote being unanimous, it was:


          RESOLVED: That


1)  Havebury Housing Partnership be invited back to a future meeting once the following Strategies had been progressed:


i)        New Older Persons Strategy

ii)       New Homelessness Strategy

iii)     New Community Investment Strategy


2)  Flagship Housing be invited to a future meeting of the Committee.


At 6.35pm the Committee adjourned the meeting for a short break.

[Councillors Michael Anderson, Mike Chester and Jim Meikle left the meeting at 6.45pm following the vote taking place on this item].


At 6.47pm the Committee recommenced its business.

Supporting documents: