A report in response to the Housing Crisis declared by the Council at its meeting held on 23 September 2021 was presented to the meeting. The report set out a series of responses to the declared Crisis that were proposed to be taken to tackle the identified issues.
The Leader introduced the report and set out the extent of the issues that had led to her submitting a Motion on Notice to the Council calling on Members to formally declare a Housing Crisis. Having declared a Crisis on 23 September 2021, the Leader also wished to record her thanks to officers for their swift response in ensuring that a report had been produced in time for this Meeting.
In discussion, reference was made to:-
(a) the actual evidence of the impact caused by Airbnb. To gauge the actual impact, it was intended that a sample would be carried out at two locations in the South Hams before an assessment was they undertaken as to whether or not any further works were necessary;
(b) the recognised national definition of ‘affordable housing’. In citing how the current definition was wholly inappropriate in the South Hams, some Members felt that it was now time for the Council to adopt its own local definition;
(c) a recent inaccurate press article. The local Ward Member for Charterlands highlighted the inaccuracies that had been contained within a recent press article and put on record his wish for Modbury Parish Council to take greater care when contacting the press;
(d) an additional recommendation. Such was the significance of this subject matter that the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee asked the Executive to consider requesting that the Committee also be given the opportunity to debate the report at its next meeting to be held on 4 November 2021. As a result, the following addition was PROPOSED and SECONDED and when put to the vote was declared CARRIED:
‘That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be given the opportunity to comment on the published agenda report at its next meeting (to be held on 4 November 2021) before reporting its views back to the next Executive meeting (to be held on 2 December 2021).’
(e) building additional housing. Members recognised that simply building more housing in its own right was not the answer to the Crisis.
It was then:
1. That the proposed measures to address the identified Housing Crisis (as set out in Section 4 of the published agenda report) be approved;
2. That the revised Downsize Incentive Policy (as set out in Appendix 1 of the published agenda report) be adopted;
3. That a needs based (not proximity based) principle for the spending of affordable housing contributions (within the legal framework of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 – the governing regulations for planning agreements) be formally recognised and supported;
4. That Council be RECOMMENDED to agree to form a Community Benefit Society (CBS) and delegate authority to the Director of Place and Enterprise, in consultation with the Chief Executive; Section 151 Officer and Monitoring Officer and with the Leader of the Council to undertake full due diligence and the necessary steps to set up the CBS;
5. That the draft letter (as set out in Appendix 2 of the published agenda report) be sent to the Rt Hon Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities); and
6. That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be given the opportunity to comment on the published agenda report at its next meeting (to be held on 4 November 2021) before reporting its views back to the next Executive meeting (to be held on 2 December 2021).