Communities and Economic Development Cabinet Advisory Board - Wednesday 6 September 2023, 6:30pm - Start video at 0:03:58 - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Webcasting

Communities and Economic Development Cabinet Advisory Board
Wednesday, 6th September 2023 at 6:30pm 









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  1. Webcast Finished

good evening, welcome to the meeting of the communities and economic development Cabinet Advisory Board on Wednesday, the 6th of September 2023 I am Councillor Vaughan, Chair of the Committee, before we start, please give your full attention to the following announcements from by R Clark, Mrs. Moran,
thank you Chairman, Good evening, everybody. in the event of the fire alarm ringing continuously, you must immediately evacuate the building at walking. Pace officers will directly be the most direct available route, and no one is to use the lift.
We will make our way to the fire assembly point by the entrance to the Town Hall Yard, car park, on Munson, Way, and once outside a check will be made to ensure everyone has safely left and no one has to re-enter the building until advised that it is safe to do so.
This is a public meeting and proceedings are being webcast live online. A recording will also be available for playback on the Council's website shortly afterwards,
any third party may also record or film meetings unless exempt or confidential information is being considered, the Council is not liable for any third-party recordings.
it is very important that the outcomes of the meeting are clear at the end of each substantive item, the Chair will ask whether the matter is agreed in the absence of a clear majority, or if the Chair decides a vote is the full vote is desirable, the vote will be taken by a show of hands and Members should raise their hands to indicate their vote and keep them up until the count has been announced. Members requesting a recorded vote must do so before the vote is taken. Thank you Chair,
for the benefit of the recording, we're going to take a roll call.
thank you, Chair, or so expected Members here this evening, Councillor Fairweather, present Councillor Hill.
Councillor March, present Councillor Morton, present, Councillor Munday, present Councillor Palmer, present Councillor Webster, wasn't Councillor Wilkinson,
Councillor Rutland, Vice Chair, present Councillor Warren Chair, present, and expected officers here this evening Toby Phillips present. and other Members here this evening, Councillor LB Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning is here.
thank you,

1 Chair's Introduction

thank you, Members of the Committee should be familiar with the process, but for the benefit of any members of the public who may be watching, I would just like to explain a couple of things committee members have had their agenda packs ahead of this meeting and I've had the opportunity to ask any factual questions of the officers ahead of the meeting. when we come to the substantive items on the agenda this evening, the relevant officer or Cabinet Member will set out their report, we will then move into members' questions and discussion.
at the end of the debate, I will try to summarise the Committee's view and members should ensure that any proposals or actions are correctly captured.
I will remind Members that without prejudice to any other comments they may that may be raised, the committee is asked to come to one of the following positions, one that the recommendations to Cabinet are supported by the board to that the recommendations to Cabinet would be supported subject to a particular issue being addressed or three that the recommendations to Cabinet are not supported and if this is the case reasons should be submitted.

2 Apologies for Absence

Mrs. Moran, do you have any apologies for absence,
we've had apologies from Councillor Lewis this evening Chair?

3 Declarations of Interests

members of the Committee should state at this point if they have any declarations of interest related to any items on this evening's agenda, does any member have a declaration to make?
I see none.

4 Notification of Persons Wishing to Speak

at this time, we note whether any members of the public or visiting members of the Council have registered to speak this evening, do we have any such
Parsons, we have no speakers this evening, Chair?

5 Minutes of the meeting dated 12 July 2023

agenda item 5 minutes of the meeting dated Wednesday, the 12th of July 2023 Members are asked to confirm that the minutes of the previous meeting are a true recording of the proceedings,
please, may I remind members that the only matter for discussion is the accuracy do members have any comments?
I see none,
thank you, the motion is to agree the minutes are we agreed?
the motion is carried.

6 Forward Plan as at 14 August 2023

agenda Item 6 Forward Plan, as at 14th of August 2023, the Forward Plan is on pages 10 to 27 of your agenda for your information. do Members have any comments at this time
as seen on
the motion is to note the Forward Plan,
are we agreed
the motion is carried.

7 Affordable Housing Commuted Sum Position Statement

agenda Item 7 affordable housing commuted sum position statement there are, this report starts on page 28 of the agenda. I shall now pass to Councillor Pound to introduce
thank you very much to
you have, in fact, before you this evening, members three papers with recommendations to Cabinet which set out the Council would add item 7, which is the one that the Chair has just alluded to.
the Council's relationship with developers in the acquisition of commuted sums to fund infrastructure relating to developments and the provision of genuinely affordable housing across the Borough at item 8, which will be taken separately and after item 7, how we then want registered providers to receive and use those sums to deliver affordable housing within the borough and at item 9 which is in your supplementary papers how housing units for social rent will then be allocated to those in need of social housing for rent. am I shall hand over to Toby Phillips, of the affordable housing and enabling Officer, I have to say that over the last six months, or so, I've worked incredibly closely with Toby on a number of these policies and and it is very good that we are tidying up and being much more explicit about our relationships with registered providers
with developers and with our tenants who require housing, thank you Toby.
thank you, Councillor Palmer, the computer science budget statement outlines the council's approach to housing developments down but are unable to offer be required, provision of affordable housing on site in these circumstances among a monetary value.
so what alternative is provided to fund this off-site provision as commuted sums in accordance with the NPP f, this guidance is not prescriptive Robert it sets out the determine and inappropriate commuted sums.
this provides flexibility when dealing with housing proposals about very significantly in location, scale, type and tenure
the calculations within the position statement had been drafted with the assistance were from the Kent Housing Group Members such as Canterbury and Sevenoaks with input from the planning department.
basically be committed, transposition statement will help us calculate and negotiate
off-site, affordable housing, commuted sums and
at what positions we will look to request that, from the development from the developers and the registered providers going forward, will we be able to do is provide the calculation to planning officers as well as
richer providers and developers at early stages of the planning proposal process, and that way will be able to negotiate a fee at planning stage.
the recommendation is that the Cabinet approves for the affordable housing commuted sum position statement in order to set the guidelines when calculating negotiated commuted sums and the delegated authority to be given to the Head of Housing, Health and Environment in consultation with the portfolio holder for any minor amendments.
do Members have any questions,
Councillor Parker,
I do go to the options, I'll push her, whether I'm speaking too soon, point 4 of the paper we moved on to that stage yet or
yeah OK.
so he, so I represent Paddock ward, and obviously quite a lot of houses going in there and when you speak to the residents.
some obviously don't like it, but they accept it and they accept it on the basis that any social housing coming from the developers is going to be built within Paddock Wood, so my reading of option 1.
and option 2 as well to some degree is that
we should try and well we want any social housing. That's not being built on that development site should still be built within the parish boundary,
in these options I can't see that being clear, we're saying basically all goes back to the borough and then the Borough then decides where it goes.
No sort of my suggestion would be to use that. I like the approach we get the cash and we sort out where it goes, but it needs to for me, stay local to where that development is without going to Cabinet Sophie, if we do decide OK. Paddock Wood has X number of income from developers but it is not enough to build housing, but so let's say Pembury does.
if we want to use that cash on developments in Pembury, it needs to go to Cabinet.
if it stays with impact, it would then fine, it's the portfolio holder can decide.
as I think needs to stay within the community,
otherwise we're short-changing our residents
set something that's possible, so when you're agreeing a section 1 0 6 agree, when you're trying to negotiate Section 106 agreement, and you find that.
we can't deliver affordable housing on site, say you wanted to to meet the sum, is it that that can then be, even though it's commuted it can be earmarked for delivery within a particular ward boundary or within a community?
was that a fair summary,
idiots yeah I think so when I went on to the policy statement, I think it was on the
the further pages, the bits to read, I think.
pages 57 onwards, it mentioned something like that, I think in the options, but I couldn't really relay that back again to the particular paper we're going through now, so we could get some clarity.
yes, so in regard to the section 1 or 6, if the individual commuted sums that we do collect, they will be legal restrictions on, so in certain circumstances,
the second one of six will state that the funds could only be used within a particular parish, for example,
what the affordable would be affordable housing fund request which is Appendix B form will help us to do. Is we will be able to take any any recommendations or suggestions from Richard providers
who are looking to request the funding from us and we can then distribute the funding to those certain parishes for risks to provide us to use within that certain Paris, so what be how affordable housing fund request form will enable us to do is taking those requests for funding and will be able to
take it over to our cabinet odour sorry our portfolio holder and be able to see which best suit the funding which projects best suit the funding basically, so if we want to keep that particular funding for Paddock or any other parish, we can then, for example, we have a housing provided electronic country have a particular set of developments within Paddock Wood we can then them up that funding for that particular parish.
because I answered your question, Councillor Blake.
I think it does because we dare you say right the way I interpreted that we're saying it's fluid, so we could have a thousand houses in Paddock Wood and arguably that should attract, let's say, 100 social housing but for whatever reason the developer decides they don't want to build it on site I think you're saying that that's then up to the full portfolio holders to decide whether it stays within Paddock Wood or puts it in crumbled brick, another town,
b the Local Planning Authority, the Section 106 wall, beside whether whether the funding for that particular parish or that particular
development will stay within the parish, so we, the local planning authority, when it is approved at Cabinet, who had that discussion at the time of the planning application being approved so within the section 1 or 6 it will highlight where we can use that funding for, so I think currently there is only one section, one or six that has that restriction in terms of locality which I think was Cranbrook. whereby it is restricted, the funds are restricted to using Cranbrook, and the application fund form was help us. What the rated providers will look to do is
look for a project Van Camp Cranbrook, request the funding from us that the housing department and will be able to see whether of a whether that particular project is in within Cranbrook and when we can approve those funds that are earmarked for Cranbrook for that particular project, so the section 1 0 6 in the local planning authority would normally earmark and have the restrictions for the section 1 0 6 agreed sorry orbit funding within the section 1 or 6 and they've and once they've agreed or negotiated those terms within the section 1 0 6 Alvin be able to follow that through and make sure that funding is earmarked for that particular parish.
Councillor Munday, Desai is that carer.
we're not saying it by default our way, so my position is that if we're having housing in an area by default, it should social housing should also be in that area, unless the Cabinet decide otherwise
Councillor pound you do you want to address this?
thank you, and thank you Mark.
so I'm taking notes because this needs to be discussed at cabinet, but also clearly it needs to be discussed with officers before cabinet, which is part of the value of of this dialogue, so
I have to say that I have sympathy with your view and and what you're saying, particularly as an example in Paddock Wood, so I will go back to Carlos Hone, the Head of Planning and Peter Hockney at the head of of development and I will have a discussion about
what are the objections if there are any to very clearly tying Section 106 monies for commuted sums in relation to affordable housing to a particular location if they can give me valid reasons why I'll come back to you and others and explain if not, then it does seem to me reasonable other than a time constraint that we should try to tie
affordable housing to the locations in which the commuted sums were raised, but if it is not possible, because there were no other developments upcoming and there is still a need, as we will always have for housing, then it may well be that we're gonna have to say I'm sorry there isn't actually any development within Paddock Wood for example where that can be done and therefore it we're gonna use that money somewhere else, but I think that is a perfectly reasonable question and I will talk to officers and I will come back to you and we will discuss it at Cabinet.
thank you.
set OK.
yes, thank you, thank you
Councillor fairweather,
hi I just on that point, really
of course, that is the best-case scenario now I would totally agree with that.
the flip side of the coin is of course tying the councils' hands and I use only by way of an example the Chudley village plan, as was where you could get huge housing developments in small pockets of the borough and by creating a policy that ties your hands not free up certainly percentage of that money and of course that is an extreme example that the the thousands of houses but we do get extremely large developments of of hundreds of houses and other pockets of the borough that has a very small development. at all, in fact, some wards that have no identified sites for development but of course may have ultimately a or a social housing need, and one, and so I think.
to sort of to to have a 100% ring fence would would be unwise, and a best-case scenario situation would be the best case scenario, but we should always have the opportunity to help out other parts of the borough that maybe haven't got the the income revenue from the same scales from section 1 0 6
thank you, Councillor Fairweather.
Councillor Pam wants to come back on that,
sorry to say, I concur Andy with that with that comment, I think that's right, sir, certainly if you use the example of Tudeley village, there would be no further development beyond that which has been designed or anticipated and therefore you would never be able to provide that volume of social or affordable housing within that site.
and the same is true in frightened and, for instance, where if there had been no source of social housing in that recent development, we would have to have provided elsewhere, I suspect thank you.
CA ETA K Councillor Bevan, Councillor Munday,
yeah sorry, I wasn't saying it should always
be used, I think, by default, it should be that's one saying sort of, if so, the Tulay staff go somewhere else, that'd be a Cabinet decision rather than a portfolio decision portfolio holder,
so I agree there needs to be that flexibility,
but I do think we need to stay focused on the communities that are getting no sort of impinged by the extra development and not necessarily receiving all the benefit.
so it was slightly moved into debate there as anybody actually got any further questions of Councillor Rutland,
and thanks Toby I just wanted to clarify.
so currently negotiation happens at the Planning Committee stage is that right
yes, so negotiations will be committed, some happens at the Planning Committee stages.
yes, you can have is gonna come in as well, actually, or is it gonna make the point that it's part of the consideration of the planning committee?
you know that's part of there are material considerations when I make the decision, but, yes, Councillor Parnell,
just just to be accurate, and the negotiation on the sum, the commuted sum for housing does not take place at the Planning Committee that negotiation has already taken place, the recommendation then comes to planning either for approval or rejection by the Committee.
it doesn't have the opportunity in that meeting to alter the agreed negotiated sum, it can only reject the application and go back for another discussion, but we're not sorry the planning committee is not there to negotiate the sums involved.
OK, thank you, I just yeah, I probably is the wrong word, so it's all done ahead of time and if people unhappy with the arrangements, then the time to bring that up is at the Planning Committee looking at the reports and then it can be revisited if people are not content with the arrangement, thank you.
OK, Councillor Heartland, as anybody else got any other questions or failing that, does anybody want to kick off a debate on this item,
does anybody wants to make any
suggestions to changes to the recommendations?
sorry, I cannot just clarify. you wanted us to vote on these separately or altogether at the end
that was unclear, vote on them individually.
Councillor Marc, thank you, thank you, Chair
Councillor Pond, has said that he would go back to Councillor Munday, would we be copied in with that in that response, please, or could we be coupled in, thank you.
yes, could I suggest that no one has done so that we might just
put in an informative to cabinet that this committed, this Cabinet Advisory Board, would appreciate more information on the default option that Councillor Munday has described
and an explanation? as to how that process may may work going forward, and I will ensure, therefore, that the CAB members and other everyone else on all members received some response before it goes to Cabinet on the 21 of September, I think it is.
OK, so
the recommendations to go forward to Cabinet are set out in the report, Members are now asked to confirm whether
that the recommendations to Cabinet are supported by the Board,
subject to the informative,
as Councillor LB has described to address Councillor Monday's.
concern about clarity over.
commuted sums to particular wards communities.
are we agreed?
the motion is carried.
so we move now to.

8 Affordable Housing Commuted Sums Spending Policy

9 Nomination Agreement

8 Affordable Housing Commuted Sums Spending Policy

on too far, affordable housing commuted sums, the spending policy the report starts on page 90 49 of the agenda, presenting officers again, Councillors LB and Mr Phillips.
policy and procedure documents set out the how the affordable housing commuted sums received by the Borough will be utilised and spin. It is important for the Council to have an agreed approach to enabling to enable timely and appropriate use of these monies. The committed summer spending policy has been drafted with the consideration of Tunbridge Rose's existing planning agreements and current housing policy framework, as well as the Council's housing objectives to provide more socially rented homes. The Council can use the section 6 commuted sums in several ways to enable to enable the delivery of more affordable housing within the borough, and therefore a flexible approach will be taken when deciding whether affordable housing projects should be provided within such a one of six funding. These approaches will include the following to provide funding for the betterment of the affordable housing at social rent levels, to subsidise alternative developments, will allow for greater provision of affordable housing at social rent or to create a more favourable mix of social rented properties to fund extra units of social rent, affordable units to contribute towards or towards funding kickstarting off of affordable housing schemes and strategy to facilitate the delivery of affordable housing, such as parish and viability surveys, to reduce funding gap for pipeline and current affordable housing schemes to assist with the works required to bring a void affordable housing property back to usable standard to assist with bringing empty buildings back into use or
to use affordable housing delivery at social rent secure a long time, temporary accommodation to ease housing need and facilitate transition into affordable housing
but can we do some policy and procedure enables enables providers to actively request funding to establish the affordable housing from request form which allows RPs to apply for commuted sums, funding from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council,
any questions.
thank you, David, do Members have any questions?
now I have a question where it says to subsidise alternative developments.
what does that cover?
are you talking here what sort of things are you looking at here?
we will visiting.
so examples of opportunistic developments would be, for example, it would be local authority housing fund,
which is a scheme whereby we are looking to provide 15. you are the 15 household 15 properties, two Ukrainian households and Afghan refugees,
so whereby or certain developments will be able to provide, the Brits are provided with funding to meet that spending gap, so we could have taken the character sums from one development and then use that funding to subsidise the difference between a developer and a registered provider who may have a distance of how much the registered provider can pay for socially rented property.
OK, I see there's no reference direct reference to our residents led
provision of
affordable housing, and I was wondering because I think there is a reference to that in the local plan, for instance.
housing funds or co-operative or groups who've may come from, you know, run by the community and running community interest companies, and I just wondered whether that's something that could be included here, whether that's the thing that you consider would be relevant in this in this report,
yes, it's very relevant. it would lie under the funding for funding and kickstarting affordable housing schemes such as viability, surveys and parishes, but what I can do is highlight that and then give more.
weight to community funding projects such as
English rural, for example,
okay, lovely, that's great Toby at Cosmopolitan.
I am just for members' knowledge or understanding of of some of the bullets at 3.00.1 I give you are a very recent example where a housing a registered housing provider was seeking to acquire some units for social rent. from a developer, who is just building out on a scheme? The developers said that they would be willing to sell those units at a particular price, which would only make them affordable, not social rent. In other words, they would only be potentially rented at 80% of market rate, rather than up to 60% of market rate, and therefore we would be in a position in that instance, although we chose not to do so on that occasion. To use Section 1 and 6 money to help the registered provider to find the difference between affordable housing and social housing for rent as a way of ensuring that we are providing social housing for rent.
So that is one way in which sometimes our section 1 0 6 monies get used is not for new developments, great big schemes. It is literally just helping to ensure that we are providing five or six units or a small number of units in various places across the borough, by being able to fund the registered provider to ensure that they're able to acquire property
thank you, Councillor Pam, to do any Members want to debate.
this item at all or were happy to go for with recommendation.
again, I think this is really just with an added informative.
the recommendations to go forward to Cabinet are set out in the report, members are now asked to confirm whether the recommendations to Cabinet are supported by the board with the addition of addressing
the item on
community led housing provision.
within the report to go to Cabinet, so are we agreed?
thank you, Members, the motion is carried.

9 Nomination Agreement

so we move now to agenda item 9 nomination agreement this report starts on page 2 of your supplementary pack. presenting officers, Mr Phillips, again over to you, thank you very much,
the nominations agreement detailed the nomination arrangements for the allocation of social and affordable rented housing, ensuring that the Council's statutory duties are met by all housing providers operating within the area. currently, the nominations arrangements are identified with within individual planning agreements and or historic understandings between the Council and which providers, and there is a need to formalise the practice to ensure that they are universally applicable. Ensuring applicants on the Housing Register are given a fair opportunity when rich when Richard the providers are shortlisting nominees towards their properties. The nominations agreement will also provide greater transparency regarding nomination procedures, setting out clear criteria, practices and guidance for witnesses providers to follow follow when dealing with the letting process and accepting the nomination from the boroughs housing register, including when, including when within the development and letting process to advertise and request a direct nomination, defined parameters for application with fewer refusal and a referral process for the refusal, reasons and appeals there is a need for the nominations agreement due to current changes in legislation, for example the previously the previously government running Help to Buy agent online facility which was a one-stop shop for intermediate affordable housing.
applications came to an end in April of this year, with an emphasis on the eligibility criteria placed on the rich to provider.
the nomination agreement will help set out the criteria as to which we will add as to which will nominate.
from the housing register, as well as the criteria for shared shared ownership as well.
thank you, type 2, where Members have any questions.
I say no.
where do Members wish to debate the site?
no, I think then we can say thank you very much for the report and.
I think this is probably a really good thing to do and a timely
moment in which to update
the nominations policy here, so thank you very much for that.
OK, so
recommendations are to go forward in Cabinet, as set out in the report, and members are now asked to confirm whether
that the REC recommendations to the Cabinet are supported by the board are we agreed?
the motion is carried, thank you very much, thank you.

10 Urgent Business

item 10 on the agenda is urgent business, I can confirm there is no such business this evening.

11 Date of the Next Meeting

the date of the next meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, the 12th of October 2023,
the meeting is now closed, thank you, your tuppence, thank you Chair.