Making sure everyone has a safe and decent place to live is at the heart of what Labour stands for, and what Labour councillors want for the people we represent, whatever your background and whether you rent from the council or a private landlord, or can afford to own your own home.
Since we took over the leadership of the council, we’ve had to fight the headwinds of a Tory government that never makes the serious policy changes that are needed.
They impose high targets on local councils to give planning permission for lots of houses every year, but don’t give councils the powers to demand developers actually build those homes. There is permission for about 4,000 existing homes around the district but government just demands more. Refusal to implement government’s demands results in councils and local people losing the power to have a say where new homes go. Nor do local communities benefit when local land values go up as the result of planning permission being given.
We will continue to fight for a greater say in the numbers we are supposed to build and hold the Tories to account for their manifesto promises to fund infrastructure before housing developments.
Home ownership is declining and we need more homes for rent. We’ve built the first council homes in the district in a generation, and yet more are needed. The Tories increased the discount for those who want to buy their council home and many of those sold properties later end up in the private sector. The council can’t build new council homes quickly enough to balance the average of 25 homes we lose to right to buy each year.
As a result, more families end up in the private rented sector as there aren’t enough affordable homes. As a council we work with landlords to support those that are trying to do a good job. But we want to see all private rented homes at a good standard, so we are pledging to introduce more measures to check up on private landlords.
A path to carbon neutrality: Built Environment
• Work with partners to grow a local Retrofit ecosystem so all buildings, public and private, across the district can become energy efficient, investing in the skills and capacity in the local economy to do this work
• Create a retrofit centre of excellence to learn from best practice, for example in the work done in our own council housing stock
• Existing and new council homes to be fitted with renewable energy generation, and used as pilots for community energy schemes
• Deliver on the next phase of making existing council owned housing stock as energy efficient as possible by 2024, building the foundations for all council homes to be retrofitted by 2030
• Use council-owned assets like the Museum in the Park as an inspiring example of how to meet the challenge of achieving carbon neutrality in a heritage building
Affordable local homes
• Aim to build 200 affordable and social rented homes each year in partnership with registered providers, developers and community-led schemes.
• Maintain the council’s own new build programme delivering new council homes each year
• Drive up standards in the private rented sector by increasing regular inspections
• Increase supply of low cost home ownership by increasing the number of one- and two- bedroom homes in new developments
• Invest £30m over next 5 years to repair, maintain and invest in current council housing stock
• Keep the voice of council tenants at the heart of services that affect them
• Continue to invest into sheltered schemes and independent living for residents over 55
• Continue to prioritise prevention of homelessness working with partners across Gloucestershire
• Invest in more temporary accommodation so people at risk of homelessness can stay in the district until more permanent homes can be arranged
• Put extra resources into specialised support for helping rough sleepers
Planning and Delivering
• Ensure the new Local Plan is adopted by the end of 2021 to protect against speculative planning applications
• Maintain zero carbon building standards for new buildings
• Use the Building with Nature standards for key regeneration sites across the district
• Preserve and celebrate our unique industrial, cultural and natural heritage for the benefits of residents and visitors