Your views wanted on Thanet council’s new housing and homelessness plan

Deputy council leader Helen Whitehead says the housing plan aims for a new approach through the work of all the political parties

A Thanet council consultation on a plan to tackle the issue of accessibility to quality, affordable housing and to reduce homelessness has opened to the public today (Monday, January 13).

The draft Housing Strategy looks at the way existing accommodation is managed and how best to plan the delivery of new homes in the future.

The consultation which runs for six weeks seeks to gather feedback on the strategy as a whole and calls for feedback on four specific priority areas:

  • Improving access to and supply of housing
  • Improving housing standards and safety across all tenures (ownership or renting)
  • Supporting the health and wellbeing of residents and communities
  • Preventing homelessness and tackling rough sleeping

The proposal examines ways in which housing  can be increased  to ensure homes are affordable to those on low to median incomes. It looks at how to promote housing for essential local workers, as well as addressing building homes that are suitable for an ageing population. It also explores ways that housing standards can be improved both for council homes and those in the private sector.

Read here: New Thanet council plan aimed at tackling housing crisis

The plan also examines effective ways to address impacts on the health and wellbeing including how to improve the support people have at home, tackling poverty and inequality while also exploring ways to combat loneliness and isolation.

There are also a number of proposed ways to both prevent and address homelessness and rough sleeping. Early intervention and setting up effective partnerships to support rough sleepers are part of the suggested approach.

Read here: Unique homeless sheltersuits delivery and council report on stark reality for Thanet rough sleepers

Cllr Helen Whitehead, Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “I would urge everyone who lives or works in Thanet to review the proposed Housing Strategy. Planning for our future housing needs is vital if we want to ensure that all of our residents have access to good quality accommodation.

“We want to be transparent and collaborative, and so your input is essential as it is a plan for housing in Thanet, and it needs to reflect the wishes and concerns of the residents of Thanet. This is a community effort, and it is essential to secure input from the people that the Housing Strategy affects.

“Giving your viewpoint now will help to shape the decisions we make in the future and mean that we are all invested in the outcome.”

People are invited to give their views on the plan via a questionnaire. The consultation is open to everyone that lives in Thanet whether they are renting or own their home. Views are also being sought from local businesses, community groups and voluntary organisations that operate in the district.

The strategy is available to read here and the online questionnaire is here. Responses must be provided by Monday, February 24.

Consultation responses will be considered and the final Housing Strategy will be adopted by full council on Thursday, March 26.

22 Comments

  1. Instead of building new homes why don’t you repair the run down tower blocks and the houses that are in disrepair they’re not fit for purpose and not fit to live in.

  2. For the Homeless singles (doorway sleepers), you need about an acre of land in the countryside, with electricity, drains and plumbing. Buy about 50 old mobile homes (there are a couple of hundred on eBay alone). Anchor them, connect to water, electricity and drains.
    Most of these homes have 2/3 bedrooms, but I think 2 ‘Lodgers’ per home is the limit.
    These homes are warm and relatively safe, and an ideal temporary winter cover.

  3. Whatever happened to the ‘house in a box’ idea that was discussed a couple of years ago? Kit-home, comes fully-fitted, sort of a very modern prefab, and easily constructed at about £40k per unit. I visited one and the quality of finish was top-notch, far better than many current builds.

  4. Thanet needs homes for people on the waiting lists that are up to good standards so they will last for generations of people, not hardboard and plywood constructions that last 5 years otherwise it will cost more in the long run. Yes, do up all the empty and disrepaired properties, including the council owned but building more decent properties for the future tenants and to bring the waiting list down to a reasonable time is essential.

    • But first could we have a proper definition of how the waiting list is compiled and the levels of need on that list. Its all very well saying there are x thousand people on the list, but if many of those are only on it because they’d prefer a council house because its cheaper , is the the list in reality much shorter, and should there be an element of means testing to determine the real number of homes needed.
      I have tenants who if they try to get on the housing list are bluntly told that all the time they have a roof over their head they’ll never be eligible for social housing as things currently stand.
      Plus given the almighty mess TDC has got itself into with EAST kent Housing, should it not be bringing its current stock upto to standard first? If the same problems were identified with a private landlord the council would soon label them as “rogue” and “criminal” but Councillor Whitehead and TDC are very quiet when it comes to the council housing stock. Instead there are messages of “ sorry for our failures” and “ working to put things right”. Manage what you have properly before expanding.

    • Privately owned site , had been considered for a new secondary school but that was dropped, no doubt housing will be the option put forward by the owners, hopefully not a deal done with a housing provider looking to rehouse londons overflow as that would do nothing for thanets homeless.

  5. Consultation ends on 24th Feb and the Policy will be approved by Full Council on 26th March. Presumably it will need to go to a feeder Committee first (and definitely Cabinet) and, before that via the various internal officer approval processes. I’m not sure they will have the time or the inclination to seriously consider any responses to the consultation. Looks like a box ticking exercise to me.

    • Read the report las nigh, looks as though you are correct, full of dubious comparisons and statistics, poor grammar, and a chart that i can’t make head nor tail of (i’ll try again) , all to steer you to the result required. Though on bright side a RTB buy back is suggested, which is a no brainer for TDC. Worth a read with an enquiring mind.

  6. Here’s a thought! TDC could take out a loan say for about £25 million, and use it to buy back council houses that were sold off for peanuts! That would probably create 2,500 council houses, and the repayments could come out of affordable rents, over say a 60 year period, simples? That’s what the Labour government did after the war with a mortgage for 60 years I think, and the last repayment was made in 2005 I believe, to the Americans who lent us the money in the first place!

    • Sorry sums wrong! But if say £250 million was borrowed, that could buy up say 1,250 previous council houses, at £200k each! Fixed interest rates mean repayments would be low over a 60 year period, paid back by affordable rents!

  7. The housing list was cut several times and now it is a very insubstantial safety net for those in most desperate need.The days of waiting on a list till you got enough points and waiting until it was your turn has long gone and is one of the reasons why many locals feel aggrieved.
    I can recall the accusations that Council tenants were being feather bedded and that home owners were getting a worse deal.It was untrue and led to the injustice and aggravated shortage of good solid housing,when right to buy was instituted.Right to buy is still going, even though the housing shortage is reaching critical levels and this blinkered thinking bedevils any rational, workable solution to what really is a housing crisis.
    The private sector works well enough for short term lets to those seeking a short term rent, otherwise it is pretty useless.What we have in Thanet is a lot of poorly maintained rack rent properties rented at prices that put many in debt.
    So no, Local chap, leave the housing lists alone, and start building, buying and maintaining decent housing, rented out at no more than a third of local wage rates.
    It is thoroughly miserable renting in the private sector because of all the many restrictions, poor maintenance and a lack of security.
    East Kent Housing was a complete failure, because the priority of cutting costs overcame sensible management and a sense of humanity.
    No one comes out of this with any saintliness, but at least someone at TDC is recognizing the failure and offering alternatives.
    The armchair critics are full of vituperation and blame, but are offering little in way of solutions, so unless they can offer viable options, I think less said soonest mended.
    I do think that well designed, well built prefabricated dwellings are an option, because building in the time honored ways doesn’t guarantee quality or quantity.

    • My suggestion was not to change the housing list but to have it qualified in terms of the needs of those on it, its all very well saying there are so many on it, but many of those may well be perfectly well housed. You might even meet those of my tenants that have been in them over 10 years, they all have as much security as they wish ( legislation aside) so long as they behave themselves, as a result my buildings cause nobody any harm. As for the costs, a recent study reported that on average each private rented property benefits the exchequer to the tune of 1k per annum, lower the tax burden and i’ll happily pass it on to my tenants.
      You are more than welcome to visit my properties , like a huge proportion of the private rented sector they are better than most council housing and far better maintained.
      Just because someone at the council has a solution to the EKH fiasco does bot mean its a good one, TDC are/were fully complicit and implicated in the failure, when the costs of setting up EKH are added to the costs of dismantling it and setting up a TDC dept to manage things , does anyone believe the 9 years of EKH has been economically advantageous?
      Its another prime example of poor TDC management over the years, experience does tend to suggest that improvement is not that probable.
      The state of the TDC housing stock is resulting in huge billsfor leaseholders ( i am one) in order to get them compliant and inngood order, as suggested above TDC could currently buy up a good number of leasehold flats currently on the market for very reasonable money, the costs of the repairs being used as a bargaining point ( though given the circumstances rather reprehensible) , it would give TDC full control of some blocks again and provide quick and easy additional housing. Probably in excess of 10 homes inside 3 months, beats any recent or projected provision on both time and cost.
      Is that a reasonable armchair suggestion?
      25 years of dealing with TDC has given me a degree of experience and insight as to what happens and how they evade, distort and obscure at will.

  8. Why soo many empty places in town not bring used or changed to useful accommodation, the town is looking like a forgotten and unloved placed embarrassed when friends and family come to stay

    • Renovating or converting property to current standards is both costly , time consuming and sometimes just not practical for modern lifestyles. Plus where the value of property is low it makes it financially pointless. The council has intervened in some instances and there was news of another venture at the old orbit building at the bottom of the town, though there was some commentary at the time suggesing thisinvolved a bit of balance sheet chicanery to keep the interested parties looking good.
      The top end of margate highstreet and king street in margate are most certainly an embarrassment.

  9. One thing that would be a possibility is to legally sequestrate any properties that have been bought and “land banked” by developers, and have been empty for more than three years. These properties could be renovated, converted into flats, and rented off at affordable rents.

    • In the absence of substantial grants etc, such projects are not favoured, they reperesent poor value for money and can be very problematic. Instead the council should be using its powers to ensure that owners of buildings detrimental to an area are served with notices to force either improvement or sale to someone willing to improve.

  10. I’m on the housing register I’m a over 55yrs,I just need a small flat not much to ask.
    I can’t afford the high rents in private sector.
    So many empty properties in thanet.
    Come on Thanet Council get your finger out and get us all housed.
    Caravan parks say you have to have an address away from the park it can’t be your main address,I’d willingly live in a caravan,the they say you have to leave two weeks of the year.
    Let Parks have a 12 month license.

  11. Blame recent governments not Thanet council. Certainly TDC has failings but this government is not going to convert to an entity which genuinely cares for the electorate. It will give you a scraping of jam but no bread.

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