Decision details

Agreement with Homes England to allow for grant bids

Decision Maker: Executive Director (Communities and People)

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

At its meeting on 13 April 2022, Cabinet resolved to:

1.      Delegate authority to the Executive Director for Development,in consultation with the Executive Director for Communities and People; the Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery; the Head of Financial Services/ Section 151 Officer; and the Head of Law and Governance,to approve and facilitate the sale of the council owned site, to facilitate the OCHL development and the subsequent acquisition of affordable dwellings by the HRA, within this project approval for Mill Lane, Marston;

2.      Delegate authority to the Executive Director for Communities and People,in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Affordable Housing, Housing Security and Housing the Homeless; the Head of Financial Services/ Section 151 Officer; and the Head of Law and Governance,to enter into agreements and facilitate the agreed purchase by the HRA of all the affordable housing units from OCHLwithin this project approval, for Mill Lane, Marston and the extensions;

3.      Delegate authority to the Executive Director for Development, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery; the Head of Financial Services/Section 151 Officer; and the Council’s Monitoring Officer, to enter into funding and other necessary agreements for the purpose of delivery affordable housing through the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal programme, within identified budgets, for the Gibbs Crescent scheme listed in the report;

4.      Delegate authority to the Executive Director for Communities and People,in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Affordable Housing, Housing Security and Housing the Homeless; the Head of Financial Services/Section 151 Officer; and the Council’s Monitoring Officer, to enter into funding and other necessary agreements for the purpose of delivery of affordable housing with Homes England;

5.      Delegate authority to the Executive Director for Communities and People,in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Affordable Housing, Housing Security and Housing the Homeless; the Head of Financial Services/ Section 151 Officer; and the Head of Law and Governance,to enter into agreement and facilitate the agreed purchase by the HRA of the affordable housing units, from OCHL, referenced at paragraphs 16 to 20 of this report, at a cost that exceeds the usual financial parameters for the HRA in respect of the 5 properties listed in Table 3, within further information provided in the confidential Appendix 2, to ensure units remain at Social Rent, within overall budget envelopes for affordable housing buy-backs.

Decision:

To enter into an agreement with Homes England as part of their Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26 (Continuous Market Engagement). This will allow submission of bids for Homes England grant to support the delivery of the Affordable Housing Supply programme.

Reasons for the decision:

As the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal comes to the end of its final/ fourth year of the programme (for new schemes), new affordable housing schemes coming forward from now onwards will seek to secure funding from Homes England, currently under the Affordable Housing Programme 2021-26.

The Homes England programme requires that organisations seeking funding have ‘Investment Partner’ and ‘Registered Provider’ status. Oxford City Council has both.

Furthermore, the Council is required to enter into contract with Homes England and to ensure that all funded schemes meet the Homes England requirements, including those detailed extensively in the Homes England ‘Capital Funding Guide’.

The decision to enter into agreement with Homes England will support and enable the delivery of Oxford City’s Affordable Housing Programme.

Alternative options considered:

The option not to enter into the agreement was rejected, as this would not allow additional affordable housing to be delivered and would not be in line with the decision made by Cabinet in April 2022.

Signed off by senior officers:

Decision taken by Stephen Gabriel, Executive Director (Communities and People) in consultation with Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing; Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services/Section 151 Officer and Susan Sale, Head of Law and Governance.

Publication date: 18/11/2022

Date of decision: 17/11/2022

Effective from: 23/11/2022

Accompanying Documents: