In order to undertake the review, an Issues and Options report had been prepared, a copy of which had been attached to the report submitted. The Issues and the Options report had been the subject of consultation between 21 May and 2 July 2012 and focussed on a series of six questions in relation to housing issues including the following:-
(a) Issue 1 - Housing requirements - how should the housing requirements for Middlesbrough be identified;
(b) Issue 2 - Housing aspirations - the priority that should be given to different types of housing to meet housing needs and provide a more balanced housing stock;
(c) Issue 3 - Spatial strategy - where should development be located in Middlesbrough;
(d) Issue 4 - Delivery of regeneration sites - how can the delivery of regeneration sites be secured;
(e) Issue 5 - Affordable housing - how should affordable housing be delivered; and
(f) Issue 6 - Gypsies and Travellers - if further need is identified how should the Council provide gypsy and traveller accommodation.
A total of 81 representations had been received in response to the consultation and of these, 25 were received from organisations including the Highways Agency, Environment Agency and house builders and the remainder were received from individuals and community organisations. It was highlighted that not all of the respondents provided answers to all of the questions.
In terms of the location of the individual respondents, 35 were received from Coulby Newham, 13 from Nunthorpe, 6 from Marton, and 1 from Acklam, Brookfield and Gresham respectively. Members were advised of the outcome of the consultation process with regard to the Issues and the Options report:-
Issue 1 - a total number of 69 responses had been received and the majority had indicated that their preferred option was to plan for houses based on a stable population;
Issue 2 - 69 responses were received and the majority of respondents thought that older people and affordable housing should be a priority;
Issue 3 - 69 responses had been received and the majority of respondents indicated that development should be focused on regeneration sites;
Issue 4 - attracted a total of 66 responses and the majority chose the option of linking the development of an economically viable site to the regeneration of the wider area;
Issue 5 - 64 responses were received and the majority indicated that affordable housing should be focused in the areas where there was most need; and
Issue 6 - attracted 60 responses and the view of respondents was split with a third opting to extend existing sites and two thirds opting to work with an adjoining local authority to provide a joint site.
It was confirmed that the role of the Member Working Group would be to guide the review of the housing elements of the LDF Core Strategy and Regeneration DPD being involved at each stage of the LDF preparation, considering public consultation responses and developing future policy.
In terms of future meetings it was proposed that at the next meeting of the Working Group, the focus of attention should be on Why do we need new housing and how much? taking into account:-
(i) population projections, the number of households and proposed housing numbers;
(ii) the types of housing needed in Middlesbrough including affordable housing;
(iii) regeneration sites and how they can be delivered in the current economic climate;
(iv) options for going forward - how to progress the Preferred Option.
It was intended that at a subsequent meeting there would be a presentation of the preferred options and alternative strategies for consideration following which a Preferred Options document would be prepared for public consultation in the Autumn 2012.
Members were advised that work was currently underway developing different scenarios for population projections and household with Tees Valley Unlimited and progress would be reported back to the next meeting of the Working Group.
It was highlighted that some of the information required to analyse the responses in respect of the preferred options and alternatives strategies was not likely to have been received by the date of the next scheduled meeting (31 August 2012) and as a consequence it was suggested that the date of the next meeting be postponed for two weeks.
Members were invited to put forward suggestions for the Group to consider. The following issues were suggested as possible areas for the Group to explore:-
1. The trend in relation to how many new housing units had been delivered in the last 5 years.
2. To examine why the Authority's population had reduced, to look at the number of demolitions and to consider other neighbouring authorities to compare trends in populations and the reasons for those trends.
3. The duty to co-operate with other neighbouring authorities and North Yorkshire on strategic issues and to look in particular at housing numbers, capacity to build and outward migration.
4. To consider the type of housing required in particular whether there was a greater demand for 1 bedroom properties as a result of the changes to the benefits system and the challenges in terms of allocation of space within such accommodation.
Members were advised that in terms of identifying the future housing provision for Middlesbrough it was likely that initially the Council would proceed based on the figures published in the recent census with a view to revising the figures if the Government made any amendments to the numbers. It was highlighted that the figures needed to be simple, robust and easy to understand otherwise the Council could be open to challenges from the house builders if the figures were too low and the public if the figures were too high.
AGREED as follows:-
1. That at the next meeting of the Working Group, the focus of attention should be on Why do we need new housing and how much?.
2. That the next meeting of the Local Development Framework Working Group which was scheduled to take place on 31 August 2012 be postponed for two weeks.