To receive questions in accordance with the provisions of Council Procedure Rules 12.2 and 12.4 which require a Member to give at least 3 working days’ notice, in writing, of the question to the Chief Executive.
The Mayor advised that two questions had been received by the Chief Executive in accordance with Council Procedure Rules. Both questions were from Councillor Hartley to Councillor Matthews, as follows:
Congratulations on being appointed to the Cabinet with responsibility for the Housing portfolio. I hope that you will be as successful in the role as your predecessor was in a Labour led Council. There are just under 2 years left in this administration. During that time how many council houses do you expect Lancaster City Council to build? Crucially, for those residents in the district looking for somewhere decent to live, how do you plan to increase that number?
Councillor Matthews addressed both questions in her reply, which was:
The Council’s priorities for housing are clearly set out in the Homes Strategy and Action plan which was agreed in Oct 2020
The Homes Strategy 2020-2025 contains 13 main sections setting both the strategic context of housing in relation to the council’s re-affirmed ambitions and national policy changes.
The Homes Strategy seeks to make direct links with the council’s re-affirmed priorities recognising that housing has a critical role in helping the council achieve its vision and priorities by making sure there is a sufficient supply of good quality housing to meet the needs and requirements of our diverse communities. Increasing the supply of affordable housing is fundamental to this, but unlike the previous Housing Strategy 2012-17 where the council was primarily engaged through its enabling role, the new Homes Strategy puts the council at the heart of delivering new housing and regeneration priorities.
Throughout this Homes Strategy we will be directly focussing on:
· Development at Canal Quarter with the potential to develop between 100 and 200 new homes of mixed tenure.
· The regeneration of Mainway estate. Consultation is currently underway with tenants, residents and stakeholder to formulate exciting new plans to comprehensively improve the existing estate.
· Morecambe Property Acquisitions – to increase the supply of good quality well managed homes with a focus on Morecambe’s West End. We have recently moved forward with this through the incorporation of Morehomes for the Bay.
· Extra Care Housing – working with Lancashire County Council to develop new extra care schemes in Lancaster district by 2025 which will increase the housing choices available to the district’s ageing population. The council is currently exploring the delivery of its own new build extra care facility on a site in North Lancaster.
· The Homes Strategy also identifies Ridge Square as a potential regeneration priority, subject to further consultation being undertaken and an options appraisal to identify the full costs and delivery options; and
· The refurbishment of Mellishaw Caravan Park
To ensure progress is made an action plan accompanies the draft Homes Strategy which sets out the required actions necessary to bring it to fruition and expected resource implications.
Councillor Hartley thanked Councillor Matthews for her reply and, by way of a supplementary question he asked:
I note that there has been retro-fitting on Mount Avenue. Can I ask how many of our existing council houses are going to be retro-fitted in the near future to the same standard as Mount Avenue?
Councillor Matthews agreed to reply to the question in writing.