Living Choice and Value Case Study

Company: Dacorum Borough Council – www.dacorum.gov.uk
Key Industry: Local Government
Key Sector: Housing

Overview

In April 2012, central government ended the Housing Revenue Account subsidy system for council housing. The Localism Act 2011 introduced new powers for councils to keep their rental income and thereby generate growth capital to fund investment in their housing stock (called ‘self-financing’). One-off payments to or from each council were used to adjust housing debt to reflect the value of a council’s stock using a 30-year cash flow model.

Dacorum Borough Council’s settlement meant that DBC took on a debt of £354m. As a result, it has made long term investment assumptions to establish the detail of a borrowing portfolio, which will see the debt repaid by the end of year 30.

The Challenge

Dacorum is one of the most desirable places to live in the South East of England, with excellent transport links and several areas of outstanding natural beauty. As a result, homes are in high demand and expensive. In order for people to continue to be given an opportunity to live here, the Council has given very high priority to increasing the supply of affordable homes, backed up by significant resources.

The Solution

The Housing Development Strategy sets out the Council’s ambitious plans to build new Council housing for the first time in over 25 years. This strategy to build at least 300 new homes between 2013 and 2020 was launched in November 2013.

The key objectives of the scheme are to:

  • Embark on an ambitious programme of development underpinned by strong risk management, resourcing and procurement principles
  • Take a planned approach to development opportunities that provides value for money while maximising supply
  • Develop a lasting and positive legacy of distinctive and well thought of homes
  • Build homes that contribute to successful communities and growth in the local economy

The Result

DBC has already completed several new developments, including homes for social rent in Berkhamsted, Tring and Hemel Hempstead, as well as a 41-bedroom state-of-the-art homeless hostel at The Elms, Redbourn Road, Hemel Hempstead and a landmark eco-exemplar ‘Passivhaus’ scheme [pictured].

DBC is making sure that all these properties are designed to high standards and constructed in an eco-friendly way to reduce energy bills for future tenants, DBC has also got other developments yet to be completed, including  homes at Kylna Court in Maylands, Hemel Hempstead and  65 homes at the former site of Martindale School in Hemel Hempstead.

Portfolio Holder for Housing, Councillor Margaret Griffiths, said: “Kylna Court is our largest development so far, bringing 79 much-needed new homes as well as business units. We are pleased to be meeting our aims to make best use of previously developed land. The innovative modern design will stand as a landmark at this corner location, bringing character to a key site in the Maylands Industrial Area.”

Completion is due in autumn 2018, and the homes will be allocated to local people in housing need.

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