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1. Apologies for Absence

2. Mayor's Announcements

3. Declarations of Interests

Members are reminded that they must disclose any interests they know they have in items of business on the meeting’s agenda and that they must do so at this point on the agenda or as soon as they become aware of the interest. If the interest is a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest they are also obliged to notify the Monitoring Officer within 28 days of the meeting.

4. Minutes

Minutes of meeting on 8 December 2021

5. Public Questions

To receive questions from members of the public in accordance with Council Rules 10.1 to 10.6 on Item 6 on the agenda.

Any member of the public who wishes to submit a question or statement to this meeting should email it to 24 hours before the start time of the meeting. All valid questions and statements will be published with the agenda on the website at least six hours before the start time and will be responded to at the meeting. Those who have submitted a valid question or statement will be entitled to put it in person at the meeting.

Question received

6. Cabinet Question Time

The Leader and Members of the Cabinet to answer questions submitted by Members of the Council in accordance with Council Rules 10.18 to 10.22.

7. Reports from the Cabinet on 25 January 2022

7.1 Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2022-23

Appendix - Equality Impact Assessment

7.2 Capital, Treasury and Investment Strategies 2022-23

7.3 Budget for 2022-23

8. Appointment of External Auditor

9. Pay Policy Statement 2022-23

Appendix - Pay Policy Statement

10. Community Governance Review Terms of Reference

11. Authorised Absence of Councillor R J Shepherd

this item has been withdrawn.

12. Notice of Motion - Housing Strategy and Responding to Housing Need

In accordance with notice duly given, Councillor C Davidson will move, and Councillor G H J Pooley will second:

“Council notes that:

The housing charity Shelter said, “we live in a country that is feeling the effects of 40 years of failure in housing policy” and believes there are “six million households whose right to a home is either denied or under threat” .

The Government acknowledges that we have nowhere near enough homes in the right places and that housing is becoming increasingly expensive.

While supply is of critical importance, so is affordability (as the House of Commons Library has reported).

In Chelmsford:

The national housing crisis has led to the price of an average house in Chelmsford rising by 54% in the last 8 years, far higher than general inflation at just over 15%. The price of an average home in Chelmsford is now £380,000. And market rents have responded, rising by nearly one-fifth over the last two years.

Rising market prices for both buying and renting reflect the shortage of supply – Chelmsford does not have enough homes. These market options have become unaffordable for an increasing number of residents, especially as the local housing allowance is at least of £150 per month lower, making benefits insufficient.

This and reduced re-letting by social landlords have led to over 300 Chelmsford households now being in temporary accommodation arranged by the City Council; over 850 households are on our Housing Register, waiting for a permanent home that meets their needs to become available.

Insufficient supply of homes of the right type becoming available means that, at best, a family needing a 4-bedroom home is likely to wait more than 3 years in temporary accommodation after becoming homeless, and a similar family that is overcrowded or in otherwise unsuitable accommodation will wait far longer on the Housing Register before they can hope that their needs will be met.

In addressing these challenges, Council therefore:

Welcomes its emerging Housing Strategy and Actions, published today and expected to be adopted by its Cabinet next month following consideration at the Policy Board on 3 March, and endorses the Vision to address the housing needs of all Chelmsford residents so everyone can reasonably aspire to having a home that meets their needs.

Looks forward to seeing an increase in the availability in Chelmsford of affordable housing of the right size and tenure as a consequence of the actions set out in this Strategy.
However, Council notes that the housing crisis reflects failures by governments over many years to address the underlying causes and shape government policy and legislation to ensure sufficient housing is available. It is concerned by reports of local house-building being limited by shortages of building contractors and materials. It therefore:

Calls on the Government to:

Refocus planning law to enable local authorities to respond to local housing need, abandoning its First Homes policy which will make little or no contribution to meeting housing need in Chelmsford and permitting land to be allocated for social housing

Provide more resources to support the acquisition of land for social housing

Empower local authorities such as Chelmsford, with no directly owned social housing stock, to influence the allocation of grants to housing associations and others so they better meet local housing needs

Allocate Chelmsford to the same Local Housing Allowance area as Brentwood, increasing the current levels of Local Housing Allowance so they more closely reflect Chelmsford’s housing costs

Urgently introduce measures to address the shortages of skilled construction workers so that the building of new homes is not limited by this factor”

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