Friday, 15 April 2016

Knowle relocation project: and releasing Local Authority assets to build housing

The District Council put in its own bid to build affordable housing on the Manstone Depot site - although it took a Freedom of Information request to find this out:
Futures Forum: Manstone Depot: "The council has a growing appetite to build its own council housing."

The planning application for housing on the Knowle site is about to be submitted:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: planning application imminent

And that will include over 120 unaffordable housing units:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project >>> Pegasus plans in full >>> when a 'windfall' is not a 'windfall'
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project >>> Pegasus plans in full >>> "They are planning over 120 dwellings on the site, whereas the emerging Local Plan proposes only 50."

The District Council wants to make the best use of its assets:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: selling off assets for £1
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and the 'managed neglect' of valuable assets
Futures Forum: Knowle: Victorian hotel: heritage asset or not...

And not just when it comes to the Knowle site:
Futures Forum: East Devon's beach huts and the Asset Management Forum
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: Honiton "up for sale"

Although the picture is a little more confusing:
Futures Forum: The District Council and its assets: to 'release assets' or to 'invest in assets'?
Futures Forum: Transferring assets from the District Council >>> It would be easier for the village to give more to tourists and keep them in the area if the council had control of assets
Futures Forum: Of devolution, local assets and investing locally

The District Council is clearly being urged to make the best use of its assets:

Local Authority assets 

Disposal Guidance

March 2016 Department for Communities and Local Government


The government wants to support and empower local authorities to dispose of assets that could be made surplus. At the Spending Review 2015, the government therefore announced a package of measures to enable the release of public sector assets for more productive use, supporting growth and efficiency.1

To support more efficient and sustainable services, from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2019, local authorities will be able to spend receipts from asset sales (excluding Right to Buy) on the revenue costs of reform projects, subject to the conditions set out in the Secretary of State’s direction of 11 March 20162 . Local authorities will now be able to reinvest the proceeds of asset sales in their services, enabling them to deliver more for less.

The government is also working with local authorities and other public sector property owners to support them working together to make more productive use of their collective assets. Summer Budget 2015 announced £6 million to extend the One Public Estate programme to a third phase of council partnerships. At Spending Review 2015 we announced further funding of £31 million to support local authorities to work with others and design more efficient asset management strategies. Chapter 1 of this note sets out further guidance on property disposals for local authorities, alongside details of other government policies to support them to dispose of sites that could be made surplus.

The government is committed to increasing the supply of land for housing, and has made the disposal of its surplus land for housing one of its top priorities. 

In the last Parliament, the government exceeded its ambition to release land with capacity for 100,000, with land for 109,000 homes disposed of by March 2015. This Parliament the government is determined to go further and faster, and at Autumn Statement 2015, the Chancellor announced that central government departments would release land for over 160,000 homes by 2020. 

Local government is equally committed to driving an increase in the supply of homes. In the year to December 2015, planning permission was granted for 253,000 new homes.3 Local government is expected to sell assets with a value of £11.7bn by the end of this parliament, with the disposal of land for housing a key part.4

Local Authority assets - Disposal Guidance - gov.uk

The only problem is that this is not revenue but capital which is being used up. 

Here is a recent comment from the EDW blog - in the context of the New Homes policy:

Using a one off or time-limited capital receipt to bridge a gap in revenue funding is not a great idea – over several years they end up with a large gap between revenue receipts (council tax) and revenue expenditure, an increasingly large gap which you are filling with funding which is one-off. If that one-off funding ever stops, then you have a big problem.

“Developer tries to stop ‘anti-housing’ councillor from voting | East Devon Watch

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