Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall
Contact: Mrs Sara Steele, Democratic Services Officer 90320202 x6301
Apologies were recorded from Councillors Cobain and Maghie.
Declarations of Interest
No Declarations of Interest were reported.
The Deputy Chairperson welcomed to the meeting Ms. F. McGrath, Head of Place Shaping Belfast, and joining remotely, Mr. A. Hannaway, Interim Regional Manager, and Ms. H. Russell, Housing Solutions Manager, representing the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE).
The Head of Place Shaping Belfast advised the Members that the update report on the Social Housing Development Programme for the period 2022/23 (figures as at, 17th November 2022), had been circulated with the agenda and she drew their attention to the following key points:
· social housing completions – 180;
· social housing units under construction currently 1619; and
· 1,409 units programmed to start through the Social Housing Development Programme (SHDP).
She outlined the current demographic trends and the resultant social waiting list needs, and apprised the Committee regarding the performance by the Housing Executive in relation to new build start and completion and future delivery timescales.
In response to a Member’s question in regard to the energy efficiency ratings for new builds, the NIHE Representative advised that, where possible, Housing Associations were including solar panels and heat pumps amongst other efficiency measures.
The Member stated that he would like to see the NIHE activity encouraging the Housing Associations to increase such measures to ensure that all new builds had above average energy ratings.
A further Member welcomed the Community Planning linkages between the Council and Housing Executive and encouraged the Housing Executive to also liaise with the Housing Associations regarding the future Place Shaping of areas, along with the Department for Communities (DfC). He emphasised that when Place Shaping were considering housing schemes it was not just about addressing housing need but also building communities.
Discussion also ensued regarding the requirement for developers to provide at least a 20% allocation of social and affordable housing as part of planning requirements, several Members reiterated the need for more mixed tenure housing and expressed the opinion that the 20% target should be viewed as a minimum requirement.
Following a query from a Member regarding mixed tenure housing, the Head of Place Shaping confirmed that the NIHE was committed to supporting the 20% social and affordable housing policy as it viewed that it would help bring forward a balanced community for all developments.
In response to several issues which had been raised during discussion, the representatives confirmed that:
· a demand existed for smaller units as well as family homes;
· the Housing Executive favoured a mix of social and private housing in the city centre and advised that a scoping exercise of Belfast was being undertaken currently with both the Council and DfC to try and identify suitable land for future social and private housing schemes;
· the NIHE was committed 100% to mixed tenure and shared housing in the city centre as they considered that there was a latent demand for this and were looking forward to the first site emerging;
· the NIHE were watching from a waiting list perspective any new developments as they progressed through the planning system and confirmed that ... view the full minutes text for item 3.