Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing Services and Cabinet Member for Strategic Growth and Skills is attached.
Councillor Claire Cummins, Cabinet Member for Housing Services, presented the report which proposed the use of a brownfield land site for development of 100% affordable housing for older people (c.35 properties). Members discussed the report and it was noted that this was part of the wider regeneration and the 100% affordable housing was secured through the Registered Provider framework proposed rather than open market.
In response to Members questions it was noted that funding would de-risk the site, so if funding were not secured the development would go ahead but with a reduced capital receipt to the Council. Members also noted that discussions with the chosen Registered Provider would secure the best deal in terms of housing standard, and conversations regarding nesting bricks were underway.
1. Approved the proposals for the disposal and redevelopment of Townfield’s Close as set out within the report, to expedite delivery of the priorities within the Housing Strategy, Adult Social Care vision for housing and Town Centre Masterplan; and
2. Delegated the finalised terms of this disposal to the Council's Section 151 Officer, Director of Law & Democratic Services and Executive Director of Place in consultation with the Director of Housing and Cabinet Member for Housing Services.
Reasons for the decision:
· To facilitate the Councils ‘brownfield first’ approach to housing delivery and reduce revenue costs for holding, maintaining and securing long-term disused sites.
· To facilitate delivery of the Housing Strategy 2021, ‘Let’s Do It’ strategy and Bury’s housing vision for ASC, which puts the spotlight on making every decision about care, a decision about housing.
· To deliver much needed, low carbon affordable homes for older people to relieve pressures on housing waiting lists and address shortages of accommodation in the town centre for this demographic group.
· To prioritise residents of existing sheltered housing schemes as the first beneficiaries (following consultation) and offered the opportunity of improved housing at Townfield’s Close.
· To unlock nearby underutilised sites for wider integration within master planning activity within the Market St area for further redevelopment.
· To support a Phase 1 of a wider Pyramid Park multi-generational living development.
· To promote innovation and ensure that the Council meets the obligations of the best value requirements of s123 of the Local Government Act 1972. Members noted a red book valuation would be obtained.
· Create wider social, environmental and financial benefits including additional council tax revenue.
Alternative options considered and rejected:
· Do nothing: Bury has high levels of need for affordable housing in general and older people specifically and supply is required in the marketplace immediately. This is a brownfield site suitable for housing in an area of high demand, to do nothing would not be an option.
· Market the site on the open market: This option has been discounted. Given its location and future use of Pyramid Park, the site has been identified as an appropriate location as an affordable housing scheme for older people, and this model would not be delivered by a private developer in the current housebuilding marketplace.
· Direct development of the site in partnership with a Registered Provider (RP). This scenario would require the site to continue to be owned by the Council and managed by the RP. This option would require capital funding from the HRA and would generate revenue income back to the HRA from rents and service charges. This option has been rejected on the basis that it would require the council to contribute capital, take on ongoing maintenance liabilities for the site and provide development management resources.
· Develop the site as part of the wider Pyramid Park development. This option was discounted, as the wider site is subject to TfGM interchange and tram/train proposal due to come forward in 2026/27. Whilst Townfield’s Close and Pyramid Park can be jointly remediated (in the interim), the housing scheme on Townfields section can be brought forward sooner as the site is unaffected by the interchange and tram/train proposal.