Agenda item

Decision to Consider Sustainability of a Council Housing Dwelling Block

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Caroline Jackson)


Report of Chief Officer for Housing & Property   (report published on 2 February 2024)



(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Caroline Jackson)


Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer Housing & Property that sought decisions from Cabinet regarding the future sustainability of Bridge House, Mainway, in the context of the ongoing Mainway project and liabilities contained within the Building Safety Act.


The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:



Option 1: Cease to let dwellings within Bridge House and support current residents to move out of the block.

Option 2: Commit to fully tenanting Bridge House while it remains operational.


Safety risks are eliminated, and maintenance and other costs are not incurred

Rental income can be achieved in the short term.


Loss of income from rents would be seen – this has provisionally been factored into the HRA budget report.

The exact lifespan of the block is unknown. It is feasible that significant money may be spent on the block only for it to be considered unsustainable in the near future.


An empty block would pose its own security risks, which would need management by the service.

Financial liabilities relating to tenanting the block make this a risky financial decision. Failure of the cladding, and the risk to health and safety, is likely to be an increasing risk.



Due to the current condition of Bridge House and the risks relating to this, Option 1 is the preferred option.


It is recognised that the decision to cease letting of Bridge House will impact current residents. The housing team are committed to supporting residents to accessing a suitable alternative housing solution, including financially in respect of reasonable moving costs.  In addition, ceasing to let Bridge House creates some flexibility within the Mainway project regarding the prospective demolition of the block. It should be noted that the loss of rental income for this block from April 2024 onwards has currently been built into HRA budget projections to be presented to Cabinet within the HRA Budget Report for consideration in February 2024.


It was noted that the third recommendation should have read 4.4 and not 3.3 and this along with a typo in the introduction would be amended in the published report.


Councillor Caroline Jackson proposed, seconded by Councillor Potter:-


“That the recommendations, as set out in the report, be approved with ‘3.3’ in recommendation (3) amended to 4.4.”


Councillors then voted:-


Resolved unanimously:



(1)        That the decision to cease to let empty properties in Bridge House, Mainway, be approved.


(2)        That it be noted that options to facilitate vacating the remainder of Bridge House, Mainway, will be explored by officers.


(3)        That, should the BFLR funding application in paragraph 4.4 be successful, the Chief Executive has delegated authority to approve acceptance of any attendant funding award following publication of key decision notice as required.


Officer responsible for effecting the decision:


Chief Officer Housing and Property


Reasons for making the decision:


The proposal is in support of wider Council ambitions to deliver redevelopment of the Mainway Estate. More widely, it supports the objectives within the Council plan to promote a sustainable district, and health and happy communities, by contributing to the development of the Mainway Masterplan and the provision of new affordable homes. 


The impact of this decision will be mitigated. Residents currently living in Bridge House will be supported to move elsewhere within the council’s housing stock, into alternative accommodation which meets their needs as assessed using the standard allocation criteria.  The true cost to the Council of a failure in the cladding, or another structural defect due to the age of the building, while the block is occupied may far exceed the income lost in the intervening period until the masterplan for Mainway has been fully developed and approved.


Supporting documents: