The Housing Strategy and Operations Manager gave a verbal update on the council’s current development programme
Hatherley Court – Phase 2 was progressing well after delays caused by having to move pipes and cables and is now expected to be completed in February 2020.
Frambury Lane and Newton Grove – the four properties on each of these sites were now nearing completion with Frambury Lane due to be ready for letting in December and Newton Grove just into the New Year. It was suggested that members might like to view these properties before they were occupied.
Walden Place – The plans for a pre planning application for this scheme are being finalised. The plan is to detach the main house from the rest of the sheltered scheme and then sell the listed house for private development, whilst new communal facilities and replacement flats would be added to the remaining part of the scheme.
The Moors – We are now in contract for building 16 new council properties on this site, half of which will be at social rent thanks to the HOMES England grant funding we have received. Planning conditions are being discharged and it is hoped building works will commence properly in January with the scheme completing in early 2020.
Great Chesterford site – we are currently waiting a planning committee date for the revised scheme for this site. Although the site has planning permission, which was gained by Hastoe Housing Association before the council bought this site, the current permission is for 11 larger market style properties and we are seeking to change this to 13 properties appropriate for letting at affordable rents. We have started to discharge some of the planning conditions associated with the original application as they will be the same under any new permission granted. If we do not get a new planning permission then we would have to build out the current permission.
Thaxted Road Saffron Walden – planning permission has now been granted on this site and detailed plans are now being drawn up prior to going out to tender for a contractor.
We are also at the various stages of the development process for sites in Saffron Walden, White Roding and Elsenham.
Cllr Dean asked a question regarding the standard of housing being developed by the council in terms of energy efficiency. Officers explained that we had a build standard that was set by members in the past and that was set to meet building regulation standards. We didn’t currently develop Passiv houses because of the additional costs involved which would result in us delivering fewer houses. The Asst Director said that if members wanted officers to look again at these standards then officers could look at comparative costs of both building costs and what this would mean in terms of savings to tenants on their heating costs.
Cllr Reeve asked a question regarding the thermal efficiency of current council stock. The Asst Director explained that we had a programme for external insulation on our single brick homes that was currently about half way complete. There were still over 200 properties to go and the budget was currently set to complete 10 properties a year due to the expensive nature of this type of work. She confirmed that currently there were no government grants available.
The Assistant Director: Housing Health and Communities then presented a report regarding the future of two of the council’s sheltered schemes. Alexia Houser in Dunmow and Parkside in Saffron Walden. It was explained that both these schemes no longer provided accommodation of the standard that would meet 21st Century living and therefore it was proposed to look at full re-development on both these sites. Parkside would continue to be older person’s accommodation but not a sheltered scheme and the Alexia House site would be considered for general needs housing.
Officers were looking at this stage for an in principle agreement from members so that officers could start talking to tenants about the future of these sites and to stop the allocation of any future vacancies.
Members were keen to see this work progressed especially that a scheme in Dunmow was being considered as there was a perception that everything happened in the north of the district.
APPROVED Officers to move to the next stage of undertaking feasibility studies on these two sites, informing tenants of the council’s plans and not re-letting future vacancies within these two schemes.