Council land identified for Better Homes project

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

As part of our Better Homes project we have identified land we own at 12 sites throughout the borough, which has the potential to be used for the delivery of quality housing that is affordable for local people.

All 12 locations have previously been subject to consultation as part of our current Local Plan but as eight of the sites are classed as public open space, Cabinet will be asked next week to approve these locations to go forward for additional public consultation.

If Cabinet gives authorisation, consultation will take place to seek views on the potential future disposal of the open space sites to a housing delivery partnership with the council, for use in the delivery of new homes. An extended period of time beyond the statutory two weeks consultation period would be given for members of the public to make comments and objections. 

The eight public open space sites are located throughout the borough. In Whitby, two sites have been identified at Rievaulx Road and one at California Road, Spital Bridge. In Scarborough sites being considered are at Prince of Wales Terrace, Sandybed Crescent, Sandybed Lane/Pollard Gardens and Moor Lane, Newby. The final location under consideration is land at Clarence Drive, Filey.

The four, non-public open space locations are at Sandsend Road, Whitby, West End View in the Cayton area of Scarborough and two sites at Musham Bank in the Eastfield area of Scarborough.

We see our Better Homes project as critical to addressing the borough’s shortage of quality housing for local people, which is also affordable.

Approximately 37% of jobs in the borough are paid below the Real Living Wage and around 41% of employed clients of the local Citizens’ Advice claim in-work benefits. This has resulted in 2,000 households on the waiting list for social rented housing and the average cost of a home valued at around seven to nine times the average salary of £27,000.

Demand for affordable homes is therefore high and the council estimates that around 220 are needed per year. With the borough’s ageing population, there is also a need for 4,000 specialist and adaptable homes.
  
All this cannot be met solely through current planning policy or from our traditional approach of land sale to developers, which is why developing alternative delivery models and considering different types of potential sites for development is so important. 

A further report to Cabinet to consider the Better Homes project’s full business case and potential delivery mechanisms will be considered in June. To allow councillors to make informed decisions, the report will include relevant objections or representations made by members of the public from the public open spaces consultation.

Cllr Carl Maw, Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities and Housing, said:

"In order to deliver this hugely important, ambitious and above all essential project to the best of our ability, it is prudent for officers to recommend all available options for land that could be used.
 
"It is Cabinet’s role to consider whether these sites should be put forward for public consultation, based on their current merits and whether we think they are likely to help achieve our ambition of a quality home for all."

The Better Homes project is linked to our economic development plans for the borough, including stimulating recovery following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Liz Colling, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, said:

"Providing quality homes that people can afford, in the right locations, is part of our overarching strategy for boosting the local economy.

"We expect the works to generate local jobs and apprenticeships, to use local suppliers where possible and stimulate investment in new sustainable industries to help us on our journey to carbon neutrality, as well as providing well paid jobs for the future."

You can view the full report to Cabinet by referring to agenda item 11 here.