Issue - meetings

Adoption of Homes for Lambeth Business Plan

Meeting: 22/01/2018 - Cabinet (Item 3)

3 Adoption of Homes for Lambeth Business Plan pdf icon PDF 455 KB

Key decision

All wards

 

Councillor Paul McGlone, Deputy Leader of the Council (Investment and Partnerships)

Sue Foster: Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods and Growth

 

Jed Young, Assistant Director Housing Regeneration, jyoung@lambeth.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader of the Council (Investment and Partnerships), Cllr Paul McGlone, introduced the report and noted that:

·         Homes for Lambeth (HfL) would operate as a special purpose vehicle allowing the Council to build much needed homes at council rent.

·         The Council had exceeded the target for new homes as stated in the Lambeth Local Plan.

·         The housing market was unfair and the waiting list for social housing in Lambeth stood at approximately 23,000; 5,000 children also remained in temporary accommodation. This was an unacceptable state of affairs and the Council was acting to help resolve the situation.

·         The Council had used planning powers to build more homes and would now use the special purpose vehicle, HfL, to the same effect. Cabinet had approved the incorporation of the four companies which made up HfL in July 2017. The proposed business plan would allow the company directors to proceed with the development of new homes.

·         An Ownership and Stewardship Cabinet Advisory Panel had been set up to provide key governance and oversight of HfL operations. The panel had already met and recommended the proposed business plan for approval by Cabinet.

·         HfL was a unique, 100% Council-owned company and all profits generated would be channelled directly back into providing more affordable homes for the people of Lambeth.

 

The Chair and Leader of the Council, Cllr Lib Peck, invited registered speakers to make their representations to Cabinet. Gerlinde Gniewosz, a resident of Cressingham Gardens Estate, made the following contributions:

·         It was not clear where the forecasted income would come from or how the Council would repay the loans from the Public Works Loan Board.

·         The Council had not hit its own affordable housing targets and was misrepresenting the figures. It had committed to building 275 extra council rented homes from the three most recent estate regeneration planning applications, but had only delivered 34.

·         The business plan provided guarantees to the four subsidiary companies which did not adhere to the state aid rules. There were considerable risks inherent in the business plan and no detailed financial information.

·         Leaseholders had been placed in Lambeth Build Ltd, the riskiest of the four subsidiary companies. The HfL business plan granted homeowners far fewer rights than tenants.

·         The business plan was wholly inadequate and required further scrutiny.

·         The Ownership and Stewardship Cabinet Advisory Panel included no homeowner representatives.

 

The Leader of Opposition, Cllr Tim Briggs, then made the following comments:

·         There was no need for HfL to exist. Neighbouring Wandsworth Council had approved 1,091 new affordable homes, considerably more than Lambeth. It did this by allowing development on infill land through creative planning and proper consultation. A special purpose vehicle was not required. 

·         The Council should win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders before any proposed estate regeneration can take place.

·         There was a lack of expertise in managing a company of this nature and it was not democratic for Labour councillors to oversee the boards of the HfL companies. The system of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3