Buckinghamshire Council becoming a Social Housing Provider
The Chairman advised that the following Motion has been submitted and was consequently moved by Cllr R Stuchbury and seconded by Cllr R Raja:
“It is essential that good quality social housing is available at affordable rents; we are all aware Buckinghamshire is an expensive place in which to live, leading to a serious hurdle in the recruitment of key workers such as teachers, nurses and GPs. This has the effect of depressing future growth and has a negative effect on the well-being of our residents. By providing good quality social housing at affordable rents we can ensure this trend is reversed; it is therefore economically prudent and socially necessary.
Council calls on Cabinet to instruct Officers to undertake a feasibility study to determine the business case for the development of additional local authority owned social housing.”
Cllr R Stuchbury introduced the motion highlighting that Buckinghamshire Council was not bound by the decisions of the predecessor authorities and emphasised that there were housing issues to address including the need for these to be accessible and affordable. In proposing the motion, Cllr Stuchbury noted that by adopting this motion, the next Council formed in May would have the task and responsibility of ensuring people had the opportunity to have their own homes and key workers such as teachers and care workers could live in Buckinghamshire comfortably creating a prosperous socially balanced society.
In seconding the amendment Cllr R Raja spoke of social housing providing a vital role in meeting the housing needs of the county and every effort should be made to create homes which are available to all and fit for purpose.
An amendment to this motion was proposed by Cllr I Darby and seconded by Cllr J Chilver, this amendment was as follows:
“It is essential that a range of good quality
including social housing is available at affordable
rents; we are all aware Buckinghamshire is an expensive place in
which to live, leading to a serious hurdle in the recruitment of
key workers such as teachers, nurses and GPs and other key council
staff. This has
the potential to
effect of depress ing future growth and
to have has a
negative effect on the physical,
mental and economic well-being of our residents.
By maximising the provision
of By providing good quality affordable housing, including social
housing at affordable rents, we can ensure this risk is minimised. trend is
reversed; it is therefore economically prudent and socially
Council calls on Cabinet to instruct Officers to
undertake a feasibility study to determine the business case for
the development of additional commission a report detailing both current and
future possible affordable housing delivery models,
authority owned social housing, which will maximise the
provision of the best range of good quality affordable housing
appropriate to the needs of our
In proposing the amendment, Cllr Darby advised that it was not appropriate at this time to look at a single delivery vehicle to find a solution to the housing needs of those in Buckinghamshire, such as the Council solely providing housing as a social housing provider and the motion would be better placed if it were to include the range of delivery vehicles the Council had at its disposal for improving the housing options for all residents.
The amendment was seconded by Cllr J Chilver who suggested the amendment better reflected the wider aspiration to support and encourage high quality and affordable housing through a range of delivery models, of which council owned social housing was one. Cllr Chilver spoke of schemes underway across Buckinghamshire including affordable apartments at the Tatling End development delivered through the Council’s solely owned subsidiary property company Consilio, sixty new affordable homes at Bellfield in High Wycombe offered at social rent through a housing association and forty affordable park homes at Bassetsbury Triangle, a former brownfield site.
Cllr L Monger spoke of the importance of addressing the wider housing need adding that the amendment to the motion took away the direct issue of the Council acting as a social housing provider.
This amendment passed and became the substantive motion.
The motion was therefore:
“It is essential that a range of good quality affordable housing, including social housing is available at affordable rents; we are all aware Buckinghamshire is an expensive place in which to live, leading to a serious hurdle in the recruitment of key workers such as teachers, nurses and GPs and other key council staff. This has the potential to depress future growth and to have a negative effect on the physical, mental and economic well-being of our residents. By maximising the provision of good quality affordable housing, including social housing at affordable rents, we can ensure this risk is minimised.
Council calls on Cabinet to instruct Officers to commission a report detailing both current and future possible affordable housing delivery models, including local authority owned social housing, which will maximise the provision of the best range of good quality affordable housing appropriate to the needs of our residents.”
Cllr M Winn supported the motion and highlighted the importance of ensuring residents could afford to live in Buckinghamshire. Previously Aylesbury Vale District Council had built homes in partnership with housing associations through section 106 funding receipts and sales of council homes and the importance of partnership working remained key. Cllr Winn acknowledged that locally owned social housing was important, and added that a report should look at all affordable housing models to provide the affordable housing which the residents of Buckinghamshire needed.
Cllr I Darby emphasised that there were a number of ways of securing housing at social rent and a number of different schemes available to meet individual needs, such as shared ownership, and these remained important to people.
Cllr R Raja was pleased to note that all members recognised that housing in Buckinghamshire was an important issue which needed to be addressed, stating that it would have been positive for the motion to include a deadline for when the report would be available.
Resolved: That the substantive motion be carried.
To Support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill
The Chairman advised that the following Motion had been submitted and was consequently moved by Cllr D Lyons and seconded by Cllr R Stuchbury:
Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt in the UK and around the world. Global temperatures have increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm) and continue to rise. This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity.
Without more significant and sustained action, the world is set to exceed the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit between 2030 and 2040. Therefore the current UK target of net zero by 2050 is not satisfactory. It is too little too late. The likelihood of a pandemic like Covid19 was predicted by scientists: mainstream scientist say there is an overwhelming likelihood of catastrophic climate change without urgent ambitious action. The current Covid pandemic will seem trivial if we fail to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees.
Council notes that
(i) The Council noted in July 2020 that climate change is a global emergency;
(ii) Many local authorities have established Citizens’ Assemblies that are playing an important role in assisting them in their plans to achieve net zero by 2030 or before; and that
(iii) There is a Bill before Parliament—the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the “Climate and Ecology Bill”)—according to which the Government must develop an emergency strategy that:
(a) requires that the UK plays its fair and proper role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures;
(b) ensures that all the UK’s consumption emissions are accounted for;
(c) includes emissions from aviation and shipping;
(d) protects and restores biodiverse habitats along overseas supply chains;
(e) restores and regenerates the UK’s depleted soils, wildlife habitats and species populations to healthy and robust states, maximising their capacity to absorb CO2 and their resistance to climate heating;
(f) sets up an independent Citizens’ Assembly, representative of the UK’s population, to engage with Parliament and Government and help develop the emergency strategy.
Council therefore resolves to:
(1) Support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.
(2) Inform the local media of this decision.
(3) Write to local MPs, asking them to support the Bill; and
(4) Write to the CEE Bill Alliance, the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, expressing its support (email@example.com).
Cllr D Lyons introduced the motion and spoke of the importance of taking responsibility for carbon that has been outsourced to or procured from other countries. Cllr Lyons advised that Citizen assemblies made well thought through recommendations and connected Government to ordinary people. Cllr Lyons stressed the need to take urgent action to tackle the climate emergency. He highlighted the annual report from the Director of Public Health for Buckinghamshire which emphasised the significant scale of the challenge of climate change. Cllr Lyons explained that through working together to make changes and by approving this motion, the Council could make it clear to the Government and electors that the UK could lead on this issue.
Cllr R Stuchbury, when seconding the proposal, deferred his speech until the end of the debate and debate on the motion then ensued.
Cllr W Whyte spoke of the issues raised being superfluous and not having taken account of the positive work the Council had done to date. Cllr Whyte spoke of there being no requirement for a citizens assembly as residents elected their own local representatives to this Council which they would again do in May 2021. Concern was raised that the motion was political and a way to distract from the progress being made locally and nationally.
Cllr B Chapple advised that he could not support the motion stating that he did support the national target to become net zero by 2050 and the recent Government commitment to cut carbon use by 68% by 2030. Cllr Chapple said that the UK should not take on responsibility for other nations carbon emissions and instead needed to encourage those countries to show the same ambition as the UK. Cllr Chapple explained that international aviation and shipping were covered by alternative emerging agreements through the international civil aviation organisation and international maritime organisation. Cllr Chapple highlighted environmental work going on in the Council at present and agreed with Cllr Whyte that the Council was effectively a citizens assembly.
Cllr M Tett stated that he did not doubt the significance of global warming and spoke of the strong motion passed by the Council in July 2020. Cllr Tett described the motion being proposed as undeliverable, disrespectful to the Council, un-costed and undemocratic. He explained that the UK was accountable for 1% of global carbon use and therefore could not be held accountable for other countries carbon use. Cllr Tett added that a large number of residents in Buckinghamshire relied on the aviation industry for employment and their right to a job should be supported with focus being placed on decarbonising the industry.
Cllr L Monger spoke of the seriousness of the issue and how Government and local authorities must act now to reduce carbon emissions and urged members to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.
Cllr C Clare affirmed the message that the Council was already taking action through its own emerging Climate Change Strategy as were the Government through its recent announcements on setting challenging, but achievable targets and these were signs of how serious all were taking the issue.
Cllr R Stuchbury and Cllr D Lyons were in agreement that the motion should not have been made a political issue and was more focused on urgent action being taken for the future of Buckinghamshire and the UK as a whole.
Resolved: That the motion was not carried and therefore fell.
- Notices of Motion (Council 09 12 2020), item 9. PDF 472 KB
- Notices of Motion with amendments (Council 09 12 2020), item 9. PDF 180 KB