A Housing Company for Oxford
Decision Maker: Council, City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019)
Decision status: Recommendations approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The report will set
out the case for the establishment of a Council owned company to
deliver additional affordable housing for Oxford.
The recent 1% social rent cut in the budget and the policy on extending the Right to Buy to housing associations paid for from HRA budgets has led to the deferment of the new build Council housing programme. Some of the detail of these policies have only recently emerged only now allowing a meaningful discussion of the options available and the potential impacts on the Council.
The Head of Housing and Propertysubmitted a report which presented the business case for the establishment of a Council owned housing company, and sought approval for the Council to enter into such agreements as are necessary to enable the company to acquire the affordable housing at Barton Park in place of the Council.
The Executive Board Member, Housing presented the report. With regard to the recommendations from the Scrutiny Committee he confirmed that he was happy to accept the first recommendation. He explained that he could not accept the second recommendation as it was necessary to strike a balance between urgency and accountability.
The Board noted that although the tenure options for housing at Barton Park was determined by the existing s106 agreement, there would be considerable scope to include a wide range of tenures in future housing projects undertaken by the housing company.
The Board thanked the Housing Development & Enabling Manager for the report and his hard work in developing the proposals for the establishment of a Council owned housing company.
The City Executive Board resolved to:
1. Agree the principle of setting up a Local Authority wholly owned housing company structure (‘the company’) with the overarching aim of increasing housing supply, noting that there are a range of work-streams which the company structure can pursue, including:-
- The purchase and management and management of the affordable rented homes at Barton Park;
- The development of new affordable housing with a range of tenures;
- The purchase and management and management of high value void properties from the Council to re-provide affordable housing; and
- The undertaking of Estate regeneration schemes
2. Delegate authority to the Executive Director, Housing and Regeneration in consultation with the Council’s statutory officers, Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for Housing, to do anything necessary to set up an appropriate company structure, including:
- Selection of the name of the company
- Approval of the type of company, the articles of the company and the size and composition of its board
- Appointment of Directors and Company Secretary of the company
- Approval of a shareholders agreement to be entered into between the company and the Council
- Ensuring that the company will hold appropriate insurances and/or benefit from insurances that the Council holds
3. Authorise the entry into discussions with Barton Oxford LLP and Hill Residential Ltd to enable the novation/assignment (and variation to the extent necessary) of the Overarching Agreement and the Conditional Development Agreement and all or any associated agreement warranties etc so that the company may acquire the affordable housing at Barton Park in place of the Council and the delegation to the Executive Director, Housing and Regeneration in consultation with the Council’s statutory officers of all necessary steps to achieve this, including:
- approval of the final terms of any proposed agreements with Barton Oxford LLP and Hill Residential Ltd to give effect to the above
- the decision whether or not to offer a Council guarantee to Barton Oxford LLP and/or Hill Residential Limited in order to enable the company to acquire the housing at Barton Park and approval of the terms of any such guarantee
- approval of the terms of any contracts to be entered into between the company and the Council in relation to the management and maintenance of the Barton Park affordable homes
- approval of the terms of any nomination/allocation agreement to be entered into between the Council and the company
- approval (in exercise of the housing and regeneration function but not so as to affect the planning function of the Council) of any proposed variation to the Barton Park s.106 agreement.
4. Recommend Council to amend the Treasury Management Strategy to enable the making of loans to the wholly owned Housing Company on State Aid compliant terms of up to £12,250,000 to fund its purchase of the Phase 1 affordable housing at Barton Park and to delegate to the Chief Finance Officer approval of the terms of the loan and the terms of the facility agreement(s) and any associated documentation.
5. Recommend Council to agree the inclusion of an amount of £12,250,000 in its General Fund Capital Programme in 2017/18 funded by Prudential Borrowing.
6. Recommend Council to agree the provision of a loan facility to the Company of up to £250,000 to fund the set up costs and provide initial working capital and delegate to the Chief Finance Officer approval of terms of the loan and the terms of the facility agreement.
7. Recommend Council to agree the adoption of the Local Authorities (Indemnities for Members and Officers) Order 2004 in respect of officers of the Council appointed to the Housing Board in accordance with paragraph 40.
8. Recommend Council to agree a General Fund revenue budget of £40,000 in 2016/17 for the setting up of the Company funded from reserves.
Report author: Alan Wylde
Publication date: 26/08/2016
Date of decision: 17/03/2016
Decided at meeting: 17/03/2016 - City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019)
Effective from: 24/03/2016