Good quality and affordable housing
Thriving communities outcome: good quality and affordable housing that meets the needs of our diverse communities
This year, 627 affordable homes were built by the Council, housing associations and developers including 401 homes on the former Woodford Lodge site in Winsford, and138 homes on the Former Greyhound stadium in Ellesmere Port.
Accelerated Construction funding
The Council was awarded an Accelerated Construction funding grant of £14.6m from Homes England to deliver more than 700 new homes, at least 30 per cent of which will be affordable. Sites include the former Acorns Primary School and Rivacre Business Centre in Ellesmere Port, the former Handley Hill School in Winsford, Wharton Green in Winsford, a small site in Lache, Chester, and land to the rear of the Verdin Exchange in Winsford.
Private Landlord Forum
The Private Landlord Forum, supported by the Council and the National Landlords Association, welcomed 120 landlords and letting agents in 2018-19. Its well-attended events provided face-to-face support to the sector, with training on safeguarding, minimum energy efficiency standards and safety awareness. The Private Landlord Service, which provides landlords with a range of incentives when rehousing people on the housing register, welcomed 59 new landlords.
Better Renting campaign
The Council’s Better Renting campaign aims to address poor housing conditions and housing management standards, support tenants and prospective tenants, support professional landlords and remove bad landlords from the market place. Approximately 21,000 households rent property privately across west Cheshire. According to a stock condition survey carried out for the Council, the number of privately rented homes not meeting the Decent Homes Standard stands at 6,383. During the past financial year, the Council dealt with 495 housing related complaints, ranging from noise nuisance to major levels of disrepair, and brought 128 homes up to the Decent Homes Standard. The most common complaints relate to damp and mould which are caused by a build-up of moisture, a lack of ventilation and ineffective heating.
Empty Homes Strategy
Our Empty Homes Strategy to bring 900 empty homes back into use by 2021 and increase housing supply is progressing well. 239 empty homes were brought back into use against an annual target of 190 in 2018-19. We have brought 720 homes back into use since the strategy was launched in 2016.
The Council’s Local Plan (Part Two) is set to be adopted in summer 2019, setting out the vision, strategy and planning policies for the borough to 2030. The Part One plan, adopted in 2015, identifies the level and distribution of new housing and employment development and establishes the extent of Green Belt boundaries. The Local Plan (Part Two) identifies land to meet strategic development requirements, areas and assets that should be protected and provides additional detail to the Part One policies. It is a legal requirement to have an up-to-date plan, which is the starting point when considering planning applications. The Local Plan (Part Two), in combination with the Local Plan (Part One), will replace policies from former district local plans.