Supplementary memorandum by The Housing
Corporation (NT 34(b))
The Housing Corporation submitted a memorandum
of evidence to the Sub-committee in March 2002. The Sub-committee
has asked for responses to a series of supplementary questions.
That response is provided below.
B. SCHEDULE OF
ADP ALLOCATIONS WITHIN
Question: Could you provide a schedule of
ADP allocations within the New Towns within over last 12 months,
expressed as a percentage of regional allocation?
Response: The tables appended to this memorandum
show the levels of allocation covered in the local authority areas
within which New Towns fall. We have provided figures for three
years (2000-01 to 2002-03) to provide a fuller picture. There
are two points to note:
(i) not all New Towns are synonymous with
local authorities. Some of the investment shown may not be invested
in the New Town area within the local authorityso it is
an indication of funding levels; and
(ii) these are allocation (start of year)
levels. During the year, investment levels can change to reflect
varying circumstances (for example schemes not progressing as
quickly as expected). However, the allocation provides you with
the strategic investment decision, which we think is most relevant
to the Sub-committee.
C. USE OF
Question: Is the introduction of discretion
on ADP going to affect the allocation to the New Towns in future?
Answer: Under our strategic approach to
investment we work with local and regional stakeholders to identify
priorities for investment in each regional investment area. These
priorities are set out on a regional and sub-regional basis in
our Regional Investment Strategies and they inform our allocation
decisions. Where investment in a New Town will contribute to meeting
regional and sub-regional priorities we will allocate resources
to these areas.
D. STOCK CONDITION
Question: Are you aware of any work on the
stock condition of housing in any of the New Towns?
Answer: Stock condition is probably an issue
in many if not all the new towns, if only because of a) the nature
of their developmentover a short period and often using
(experimental) system-building techniques, b) the problems all
authorities have experienced of funding maintenance and repair,
which are exacerbated by a), and c) there will be condition issues
in the owner-occupied stock, including Right To Buy properties,
which will display similar funding issues to the private stock
We are aware of planned activity simply through
our knowledge and involvement in local authority strategies. However,
detailed knowledge of actual practice on the ground tends to be
held only where Corporation involvement and investment has been
sought. An example of this is Telford, which not only seeks considerable
investment in regeneration, but is also in need of housing market
E. GOOD PRACTICE
Question: Can you identify any good practice
in the development of housing and regeneration strategies in any
of the New Towns?
Answer: Where we invest in a particular
local authority area, we will look to see that the local authority
has a strategy in place to ensure that our investment is supported.
However, we do not evaluate local authority strategies. This is
the role of the Government Offices which should be able to provide
the Committee with information about strategies in New Towns areas.
F. STOCK TRANSFERS
Question: Can you identify which of the
New Towns have transferred their housing stock to a registered
social landlord? Please specify the date and the number of units.
Answer The table below lists some transfers
to RSLs which was provided by DTLR from their LSVT (large scale
voluntary transfers) database. However neither the Corporation
nor DTLR record information in the required format and thus this
may not be complete.
Basildon transferred 708 dwellings to the Vange
Community RSL on 30 March 1998.
Preston transferred 1,121 dwellings to the Collingwood
Housing Association on 14 June 1999.
Telford & Wrekin transferred 8,667 dwellings
to the Wrekin Housing Trust Ltd on 25 March 1999.
Question: Are there any policy issues emerging
in relation to existing or proposed stock transfers in the New
Answer: In general issues that arise in
relation to existing or proposed stock transfers in the New Towns
are similar to those affecting old transfers. Some of these are
Issues would include:
catch-up repairs within the rent
restructuring regime (eg Telford);
practical obstacles to regeneration
where transfer and RTB have resulted in a pepper-potting of ownership
need for remodelling of properties
such as bedsit complexes where further public investment is forbidden
anti-social behaviour and other problems
of large-scale single tenure estates;
decline of retail, community and
other facilities within housing areas (eg Peterborough).
The main additional difficulty relates to stock
condition. As mentioned above, in some New Towns the council stock
is proving difficult to renovate and this has implications both
for achieving the decent home standard and for transfer.
G. CLOSER WORKING
Question: The review of English Partnerships
explicitly mentions closer working relations between English Partnerships
and the Housing Corporation. How do you see this evolving and
what would the objectives of such joint working be?
Answer: The Housing Corporation and English
Partnerships have had a protocol for joint-working, called a "Memorandum
of Understanding", for some years. However, changes in the
role and funding streams of English Partnerships since the introduction
of Regional Development Agencies and the development of the Housing
Corporation's strategic approach to investment mean that much
of that protocol requires changing.
For the past few months we have been working
to develop a new memorandum. The purpose of the new document is
to set out how our organisations will collaborate to achieve shared
objectives and secure affordable housing and contribute to regeneration
more cheaply and effectively than is now the case. This is particularly
relevant following the recent decision that English Partnerships
should focus on brownfield regeneration and also manage a national
portfolio of strategic sites and demonstration projects.
In general it will cover:
the roles and responsibilities of
our two organisations (but also other players like local authorities
and housing associations) in both the provision of new affordable
housing and regeneration projects; and
the terms and conditions under which
land, funds and other resources are made available.
The detail will include :
how we will collaborate on land and
housing market intelligence, research and corporate planning to
inform both our investment programmes. This will include use of
the National Land Use Database, agreeing joint research programmes
in areas of mutual interest and sharing corporate plans/discussing
the way our resources will work together:
housing Corporation ADP and English Partnership land to provide
affordable housing. This will also cover the activities that the
different agencies are prepared to fund;
how grant clawback and restrictive
covenants will be dealt with on sites where the two organisations
are collaborating and expectations about the uses that recycled
grant will be put to; and
the priority projects that both agencies
will work together on over a specific period (12 months or so).
We have in practice already been collaborating
and applying draft principles in three case study areas: Basildon,
Milton Keynes and Telford. These are all New Towns and therefore
this work may also need revising in the light of the decision
that English Partnerships transfer its non strategic Commission
for New Towns landholdings to the most appropriate bodies.
START OF YEAR 2000-01 ADP ALLOCATIONS FOR
THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES WHERE THE NEW TOWNS ARE LOCATED
|Regional ADP AllocationUnits
|% of LA against Region AllocationUnits
||294||Bracknell Forest (Bracknell)
|South East Total||
|East Midlands Total||
||Dacorum (Hemel Hempstead)||594,131
||Telford and Wrekin (Telford)||670,000
|West Midlands Total||
|North East Total||
||South Ribble (Leyland)||452,455
|North West Total||
||West Lancashire (Skelmersdale)||507,982