Council priority one Better homes and communities for all
We want to increase access to social and affordable homes as one of the council’s highest priorities.
We want to ensure better build quality of new homes, more social and affordable housing and a good standard of maintenance, to ensure homes are fit for purpose across all sectors. To us, delivering better homes is about far more than bricks and mortar; it is about using our resources and influence to keep people healthy and safe. It is about the quality of the setting of the homes, whether that is town, village or countryside and about the amenities, the open space and infrastructure that serve the houses and contribute to the wellbeing of residents.
Ian Williams, our home repairs contractors
We believe that as the planning authority we have a crucial role to play in delivering better quality homes, ensuring the right homes in the right places and enforcing high build standards. Through our enabling activities, we intend to drive the delivery of much needed social and affordable housing. We will be pressing harder than ever for the ending of the Right to Buy which deprives the council of crucial housing stock.
As a council we also wish to reduce poverty and deprivation and intend to use our resources to achieve this.
Recognising the significant contribution of the voluntary sector to building community, we will seek to strengthen the sector and to support volunteering and the third sector.
A portfolio has been introduced to cover leisure and culture, recognising the importance of these sectors for our local economy, our communities, tourism and health and wellbeing.
The Creative Cabin at Queen’s Drive Space, Exmouth
Our priority actions for better homes and communities for all
Promoting better homes and stronger communities
- Prepare and promote robust policies in our local plan to address the need for more and better quality homes and communities for all.
- Deliver more social housing and explore new ways to build more affordable homes.
- Deliver on the commitments in our Housing Strategy and Housing Service Plan.
- Implement our Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy to assist those in greatest housing need, providing options through our own housing revenue account, by working with our partner housing associations (registered providers) and by responding to the consultation of Devon Homes relating to their banding of property and their assessment of those in need of housing.
- Promote Home Safeguard services and develop our supported housing offer.
- Ensure that council homes are well-managed, in good repair, fit for purpose and safe for our tenants and that we obtain high performance and value for money from our integrated asset management contract for repairs and maintenance and continue to invest in tenants’ homes, guided by stock condition data.
- Engage with and involve tenants in decisions affecting their homes and to improve communications between tenants, the council and its contractors.
- Apply for grants to promote energy efficiency and promote access to grants through greater publicity to residents of available options.
- Advise on and enforce standards in the private sector to attain suitable management and safety standards, including affordable warmth, houses in multiple occupation, mobile homes and private water supplies.
- Through our planning policies and the spending of Community Infrastructure Levy monies seek to secure the timely delivery of new infrastructure to support new development.
- Continue to work with our communities to support them in developing Neighbourhood Plans that reflect the community’s future aspirations and where those include community-led housing schemes work with them to progress their proposals through the planning process and towards delivery.
- Acquire a site to facilitate self-build plots and support their delivery.
- Research the ability for local communities to control the number of second homes in their communities.
Promoting health and wellbeing across the community
- Implement our Anti-Poverty Strategy, designed to reduce hardship and inequality in the district.
- Implement the actions contained in the Public Health Strategic Plan designed to improve public health, wellbeing and the quality of life of our residents.
- Ensure that our services and facilities are Covid‑19 secure and that the community support hub continues to be supported.
- Promote our natural environment, culture and leisure opportunities as part of our plans to deliver public health (including mental health) projects.
- Take forward the agreed recommendations of the strategic leisure review in a timely manner.
- Work with Devon County Council and the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that a model of place-based care is in place to make the best use of the existing space in community hospital sites, the better to serve the communities of East Devon; this will reduce travel requirements to Exeter and assist in meeting the targets on carbon reduction as a by-product.
- Review our public toilet requirements, including their location, to ensure they are fit for purpose, working with town and parish councils.
- Ensure that developers pay the required contributions towards infrastructure through Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 agreements, and that where monies are available to be spent by the community, that they are supported by public engagement on spend and given easy access to funds.
The Gate to Plate food festival in Honiton
Promoting culture and community
- Develop a stronger commitment to and offers in arts and leisure through the development of a Culture Strategy and an Events Strategy for our own land.
- Encourage town and parish councils (and the third sector where appropriate) to protect and support their community spaces.
- Promote community wellbeing programmes through a culture and activities offer, led by the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Seaton Wetlands, Wild East Devon, and expand our community development activities.
- Promote the links between arts and culture and climate change through the Creative Cabin and other initiatives, raising awareness of the public and seeking to change behaviours.
- Support communities through the transfer of appropriate community assets to towns and villages, enabling local communities to own, manage and develop assets in support of community aspirations and benefits.