To receive and consider the recommendations of the Cabinet (Minute 73(b)) as an amendment to the following Notice of Motion submitted previously to the Council by Councillor Hannaford and referred thereto in accordance with Standing Order 8(2), namely
Council notes with concern that Devon is in the grips of a serious housing crisis. Second home sales are soaring, private landlords are switching to holiday letting in huge numbers, significantly fewer homes are available to buy or rent, and both renters and buyers are being priced out of the county in an unprecedented way.
The post pandemic far South West property boom has especially compounded decades of systemic under investment in social and affordable housing, that has prevented local councils, housing associations, alms houses and charities from investing in more much needed homes for local people and families.
We know that across Devon we have thousands on the Devon Home Choice waiting lists, with thousands more not eligible to apply, and thousands more in often poor quality private rental stock. Home ownership is now only a distant dream for so many.
People who’ve lived here for generations are being pushed further away by property prices that they simply cannot afford.
Furthermore, we also risk our communities becoming unsustainable, we have a county wide recruitment and retention problem across all sectors, including at Devon County Council.
Council therefore resolves to;
· Set up a high level action group to look at using Devon County Council resources to provide some key worker accommodation for our own staff such as adult and children’s social workers.
· That Devon County Council use its convening powers to host and coordinate a county wide Devon Housing Forum with all key partners to develop a range of effective local and grassroots solutions to help solve Devon’s housing crisis, including key workers such as nurses, care workers, teachers, hospitality and retail sector and those serving in the blue light services.
· Work with all our local Members of Parliament to ensure that new Secretary of State for Housing and Local Government fully understands the collective housing challenges that we urgently face in Devon, and to secure the necessary powers and resources through the Devon Devolution Deal to make significant and lasting progress to provide people in Devon with somewhere affordable, safe and secure to call home.
Having had regard to the aforementioned, any factual briefing/position statement on the matter set out in Report (CSO/210/15) and other suggestions or alternatives considered at that meeting the Cabinet subsequently resolved:
(a) that the County Council assess the potential for it to offer accommodation to new social and key workers to attract them to work for Devon County Council;
(b) that the County Council, as a member of Team Devon (Leaders and Chief Executives), propose to Team Devon that a Devon strategic housing taskforce be established to help draw together the work of existing pan-Devon housing partnerships and focus on tackling homelessness and improving the availability of affordable housing in Devon; and
(c) that the County Council, as a member of Team Devon (Leaders and Chief Executives), proposes to Team Devon that it write to Devon Members of Parliament asking them to support changes to legislation and policy to address the housing problems in Devon described in the Notices of Motion. Team Devon’s letter to MPs should propose strengthening the criteria on how a property becomes liable for Business Rates instead of Council Tax. Owners of these properties should have to show that they are commercially letting the property and not just declaring them available for rent.
See resolution on ‘Supporting Residents into Homes of their Own’.
Refer to minute 67.