Four expert speakers addressed the Place North West Social Housing Forum held in association with Bidability and Hill Dickinson.
The main theme recurring throughout the conference at Radisson Blu hotel in Liverpool was the high level of doubt surrounding the social housing sector, with the coalition government's new funding regime and reduced budgets changing cultures and business models for all concerned.
Read a summary of the presentations below and click on the links to view the PowerPoint slides in full.
Managing director of Regeneration and Commercial development
Plus Dane Group
- From 2008 to 2011 Plus Dane built 1,300 units funded by the Homes & Communities Agency
- Development continues at 400 units a year
- No amount of new funding measures such as council-led tax increment finance or institutional appetite will address the abolition of Housing Market Renewal Initiative
- Social housing can lead regeneration and encourage other investors; eg Tesco Park Road in Liverpool only there because of HMRI
- The increase in rent levels under the affordable rent programme could attract more bank debt and private developers into social housing
Director of Housing Regeneration
Bolton at Home
- Created in 2002 to deliver Decent Homes programme. Reconstituted in March 2011 following stock transfer. Delivers private sector housing as well as managing council stock
- Aspiration is to create homes people will be proud to bring someone back to
- 6,000 new homes were planned – looks very ambitious now, being revised downwards as part of current review
- Bolton at Home is working with housing research analysts Arc4 on 12 sites for further development, to begin over the next couple of years
- A modest bid was made for government funding under the affordable rent programme
Interim director of housing and neighbourhoods
Liverpool City Council
- 27% of city's rented accommodation is social housing
- There are 25 housing co-operatives in Liverpool
- Full housing stock transfer to registered social landlords improves conditions in social sector
- Council is at start of a new journey to redefine role of housing in regeneration
- Working with developers to sweat council assets and deliver new housing
North West strategy manager
Homes & Communities Agency
- In 2010/11 the agency funded starts on 3,766 units and completed 4,350 unit
- HCA still investing but budgets greatly reduced. Also offers enabling support with master-planning advice as a critical friend
- HCA confirmed as asset steward for ex-North West Development Agency sites such as former Bickershaw Colliery
- Language has changed, issues are the same. The new paradigm is around decentralisation, incentives, localism.
- Expect new initiatives such as housing bonds to emerge in next 18 months