Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room (B6) - Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton, London, SW2 1RW. View directions

Contact: Henry Langford, Senior Democratic Services Officer, Tel: 020 7926 1065 Email: hlangford@lambeth.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Pecuniary Interest

Under Cabinet Rule 1.5.2, where any Cabinet Member has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct (para. 4)) in any matter to be considered at a meeting of the Council, a committee, sub-committee or joint committee, they must withdraw from the meeting room during the whole of the consideration of that matter and must not participate in any vote on that matter unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Monitoring Officer.

Minutes:

Councillor Jackie Meldrum, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in relation to item 6, Housing Revenue Account and Budget Setting 2018/19. Councillor Meldrum left the meeting during the consideration of this item.

2.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 199 KB

To approve the minutes from meetings held on 11th December 2017 and 18th December 2017.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous meetings held on Monday 11th December and Monday 18th December 2017 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record of the proceedings.

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.

4.

Adoption of Homes for Lambeth Assured Lifetime Tenancies pdf icon PDF 324 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 for Assured Lifetime Tenancies alongside the report for Leases and Shared Ownership Leases. He noted that:

    ·         The reports set out the assured lifetime tenancies and leases that HfL would use to enable the implementation of the Key Guarantees, agreed previously by Cabinet. Both reports followed a detailed consultation exercise that took place during the autumn of 2017.

    ·         In producing the assured lifetime tenancies, the Council had taken as a starting template the existing tenancy agreement and adapted this to address the different legislative requirements for assured tenancies and to amend certain sections to bring the existing secure tenancies up-to-date. The terms of lifetime assured tenancies were similar to the existing Lambeth secure tenancies.

    ·         In producing the HfL Homes leases, the Council had taken as a starting template the existing Right to Buy lease used by the council together with the standard HCA shared ownership leases and brought these together to create leases that would be appropriate for the modern properties to be built by HfL. The leases had been subject to independent legal review and consultation with homeowners, resulting in a number of changes.

    ·         It would be two or three years before any homeowner could sign one of the leases. It was therefore possible that statute or mortgage requirements would change and that minor changes to the leases would be required. Authority to adapt the leases would be delegated to the relevant Cabinet Member and Strategic Director.

     

    The Chair, Cllr Lib Peck, invited registered speakers to make their representations to Cabinet. Mariana Nwagboso, a resident of Cressingham Gardens Estate, made the following points:

    ·         The consultation exercise across all the affected estates had received 55 responses, which represented just 6% and rendered the results meaningless.

    ·         More than one third of respondents wanted to keep their secure council lifetime tenancies, the Council should offer this to residents.

    ·         The Council had agreed to consider maintaining Right to Buy.

    ·         Elderly, vulnerable and disabled tenants had been excluded through poor consultation methods.

    ·         The Council should have balloted the residents of the estates.

    ·         The Council was only interested in making money, and those implementing the estate regeneration programme should remember they were public servants.

    ·         Disabled people and those living in overcrowded conditions needed to have access to adequate housing. Young people in the borough had no housing options and needed access to truly affordable housing. The proposed decision did not address these issues.

     

    Andy Plant, also a resident of Cressingham Gardens, made the following observations about the HfL Assured Lifetime Tenancies report:

    ·         Assured Lifetime Tenancies did not have the same level of security as the current Secure Lifetime Tenancies; they were not covered by government legislation.

    ·         The less than 6% response rate did not provide a representative sample of the tenant resident population.

    ·         Officers had used the report as a vehicle for supposition.

    ·         The report sated the housing waiting list had grown to 23,000; this was a headline  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Adoption of Homes for Lambeth Leases and Shared Ownership Leases pdf icon PDF 425 KB

6.

HRA Rent and Budget Setting pdf icon PDF 498 KB

    Key decision

    All wards

     

    Deputy Leader of the Council (Finance and Resources): Councillor Imogen Walker

    Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods and Growth: Sue Foster

     

    Contact: Andrew Ramsden, Assistant Director of Finance – Neighbourhoods & Growth, Corporate Resources, 020 7926 9946, aramsden@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment, Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, introduced the report and noted the proposed HRA budget, rents, service charges and other charges to tenants in 2018/19. There had been no increase in service charges and overall there would be a small decrease in common service charges. In acknowledgement of increases last year, charges for garages, parking and sheds would be frozen. Leasehold charges would now be set in line with current expenditure.

     

    The compulsory rent reduction imposed by Government represented a significant decline in the revenue account for the Council, which in turn placed constraints on investment in services and made borrowing less affordable. However, investment in Council housing stock has led to approximately 26,000 properties being brought up to the decent homes standard.

     

    In response to a question from a member of the public, the Director of Finance and Property, Christina Thompson, explained that it was likely the Council had overachieved on its goal to save £1m by bringing in-house the services previously provided by Lambeth Living. She also noted the difficulties encountered as a result of the compulsory 1% rent reduction.

     

    It was RESOLVED:

     

    1)    To note the approach to setting tenant and leasehold service charges, garage, shed and parking charges.

    2)    To note the reduction in rents of 1%, as set out in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.

    3)    To note the October 2017 forecast position as detailed in paragraph 2.1

    4)    To agree the proposed growth and savings for 2018/19 as set out in paragraphs 2.8 – 2.9 and Appendix 3.

    5)    To agree the HRA Budget for 2018/19 as set out in Appendix 4.