Brighton & Hove City Council
Brighton & Hove City Council’s ‘New Homes for Neighbourhoods’ programme is building much-needed new council homes on council-owned land. The local authority works with residents associations, ward councillors, the council’s in-house architects, building control, housing and other colleagues to improve council estates and neighbourhoods, while making best use of council housing land and buildings to deliver the new, affordable rented homes that the city needs. It aims to build at least 500 new homes across Brighton, Hove and Portslade.
East Devon DC
The vision for Cranbrook in East Devon is to create a self-sufficient, low-carbon and affordable new community, close to skilled employment opportunities, to encourage people to use sustainable modes of transport to get to work. Ensuring that facilities and infrastructure, including schools and public transport, were in place ahead of residents arriving, has been key to Cranbrook’s success. This was made possible by innovative partnership working. From a population of zero to 1,300-plus homes in just five years, by 2031, Cranbrook will have about 8,000 homes and a population of approximately 20,000.
Gateshead’s ‘Taster Flats’ scheme is an innovative way of working with young people leaving care and moving towards more independent living. Working with the Gateshead Housing Company, the council’s Looked After Children and Young People’s Service secures the tenancy of a flat, rather than the young person having to do so themself. This approach offers the young person a ‘try before you buy’ option. It is a safeguard of their priority status within housing services, offering independence and the chance to settle within the community prior to taking up a long-term agreement, but with support and help when they need it.
Leeds City Council
Leeds set out to improve the lives of people living in three areas of the city that experience extreme poverty and where outcomes have been poor for decades. It established a vision for change with local people and delivered a holistic regeneration project resulting in the creation of high-quality, sustainable homes and transformational change to local areas. In doing so, Leeds created stronger, more self-reliant communities in safer, cleaner, greener places where local residents are proud to live and of which external perceptions have been transformed.
PLACE/Ladywell is a development that uses vacant council land to provide high-quality temporary accommodation for 24 homeless families who would otherwise be in expensive and unsuitable nightly paid accommodation. The project was conceived as a redeployable development, with accommodation that is built offsite and will initially remain on the site of the former Ladywell Leisure Centre for four years. Once future plans for the site are established, the accommodation can be demounted and moved to a new location in the borough. PLACE/Ladywell has been guaranteed for a 60-year lifespan including five moves during that period. It helps to combat the current housing crisis in London through providing much-needed, sustainable temporary accommodation at local housing allowance rates.
Rochdale’s empty property team has reduced the number of vacant properties in the borough from more than 3,000 to fewer than 900 and brought significant social and financial benefits to the communities, property owners and the council.
With empowered, effective and funded external partnerships to back up innovative solutions and tools for bringing empty properties back into use, only the most intransigent property owner can fail to recognise the advantages of working with the team to turn an empty, unproductive liability into an income-generating, appreciating asset.
Telford & Wrekin Council
Telford & Wrekin Council’s housing investment programme seeks to address the huge increase in demand for private rented accommodation and raise the standard of housing and tenancy management through the direct commissioning of 425 private rented homes. Delivered through a wholly owned company, Nuplace, the council is delivering the development and management functions in partnership with Lovell Partnerships. The council is one of the first outside of London to successfully implement such a scheme and is achieving success, with homes being rented off-plan by occupiers looking for a high-quality, long-term rental solution.
Wakefield is tackling the housing shortage by focusing on relationships with volume housebuilders, small-to-medium sized developers and registered providers. It has worked with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to secure the construction of the Wakefield Eastern Relief Road, which will link two major roads and unlock land for 2,500 new homes; it has created a campaign of engagement and support targeting SME builders and helps them to find appropriate sites; and it has entered a joint venture with Wakefield District Housing to build affordable homes. This approach has seen the authority surpass its own new-build targets by nearly 20%.
Stephen Baker, chief executive, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney DCs
Ged Curran, chief executive, Merton LBC
Ged Fitzgerald, chief executive, Liverpool City Council
Sue Smith, joint chief executive, Cherwell DC and South Northamptonshire Council