The Housing Forum: High priorities for council housebuilding

The Housing Forum: High priorities for council housebuilding

Housing Forum December 2017. Photography: Tom Eskenazi.

The pace is quickening for the many councils nationwide who are rapidly taking a significant role locally in the delivery of new homes and in partnership through Homes England and with others, says Shelagh Grant, Chief Executive of The Housing Forum.

he Housing Forum established a dedicated Councils Network in early 2019, which has now grown to over 75 councils, giving them a place to connect and understand the breadth of development skills and commissioning approaches available throughout the housing industry. The Councils Network covers all of England and includes combined authorities, cities and districts plus the London Councils — all aware they can gain from understanding approaches and solutions taken in areas different to their own.

The Housing Forum is an independent cross sector network, that works with local councils, developers and contractors, housing associations, design and cost consultancies, and the suppliers and manufacturers into the housing construction industry to share best practice.

The Councils Network sets its own agenda for twice-yearly conferences through an Advisory Group with a regional balance including smaller and larger councils. The Councils Housing Spring Conference in May brought housing and planning officers together and planning
and regulatory changes were debated with support from the Planning Officers Society. Homes England highlighted the launch of a new Local Government Capacity Centre (LGCC) to provide a “well-structured and joined-up access to a range of tools and initiatives” intended to boost local authorities’ skills and capacity to deliver their housing supply ambitions. Gravesham Council’s topic addressed local housing supply issues through a low energy downsizing initiative. Housing and planning services working together on council-led Garden Communities also featured. Professor Janice Morphet gave early findings and insights from the Third National Survey of Local Authority Housebuilding activity.

For the autumn conference we expect to cover what to anticipate in years to come, as the Future Homes Standard will begin to impact on the design and performance of new-build home.

Housing Forum events Council Network members also attend the full range of Housing Forum events where council initiatives are regularly featured. Asset Strategy Forums are covering Net Zero Carbon and the steps to take now, plus developments in the Building Safety Case trials. The January Asset Strategy Forum showed the results of collaborative council and contractor partnership working — where reinvestment decisions reduced the liability and cost of future repairs freeing up investment for urgent structural fire risk measures. Our February Development Partnership Forum covered Council-led housing regeneration in Rotherham Town Centre and the strategic East Leeds extension.

Insight reports from these events are on The Housing Forum website

We are delighted to have LABM magazine on board as the media partner for our council housing events, with many readers responsible for the construction, retrofit, refurbishment and maintenance of social and affordable housing, there are strong parallels with The Housing Forum’s remit of sharing best practice information.

For details of The Housing Forum’s forthcoming events visit:


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