Agenda item

Notice of Motion - Supply and affordability of Social Housing

To consider, in accordance with Full Council Procedure Rule 1.1-H, the following Notice of Motion to be moved by Councillor Crow and seconded by Councillor



The Full Council considered the Notice of Motion – Supply and Affordability of Social Housing – as set out on page 71 of the agenda.


The Motion was moved and presented by Councillor Crow, who in doing so gave further explanation of the reasoning behind the Motion, which had followed the submission of a petition in July 2022 and the Full Council’s resolution  declaring a housing emergency in February 2024.  It was seconded and supported by Councillor Millar-Smith.


Councillor Jones moved and presented Amendment 1 to the Notion of Motion (as shown in the Supplementary Agenda), along with a verbal amendment for accuracy purposes which replaced Natural England as a ‘Government department’ with a ‘non-departmental public body sponsored by DEFRA’. The amendment was seconded by Councillor Irvine.


A single debate occurred on both the recommendation and the proposed amendment. Councillors Lanzer, S Mullins, Charatan, Burgess, Nawaz, C Mullins, Mwagale, Lamb and Millar-Smith all spoke during the debate.


Councillor Crow used his right to reply on the proposed Amendment and on what had been debated.


The Mayor then called for a vote on the proposed Amendment in respect of Notice of Motion 1 – Supply and Affordability of Social Housing, which was carried by 20 votes in favour, 0 against and 13 abstentions.


The Mayor then called for a vote on the substantive Notion of Motion – Supply and Affordability of Social Housing (as amended), which was carried unanimously.





That the Full Council notes that:


At the meeting of the Full Council in July 2022, the following petition was submitted under the Petition Scheme, signed by over 1,000 Crawley residents.


“We need truly affordable, publicly owned homes for Crawley people. We, the undersigned, are appalled at Crawley Borough Council’s decision to charge council tenants so-called affordable rents at the maximum 80% of the market rate. This policy is causing unnecessary hardship and must be scrapped. Instead, we call upon the Council to borrow the money to build council houses at rents comparable to existing stock and use housing cooperatives to reduce the cost.”


It was presented and after discussion, it was agreed to note the petition and for councillors to be provided with information relating to the charging levels for affordable rents, which was subsequently done.  It was also noted that at the time of the meeting, only 4% of Crawley Homes stock was charged at the higher affordable rate, a percentage which remains broadly the same at the current date.


That the Full Council further notes:


Since July 2022, we have seen increased housing costs for all tenures, including for council tenancies charged at social and affordable rent levels.


At the February 2023 meeting of the Full Council, the following items occurred:

·       The annual budget was passed, with it being highlighted how exceptionally high temporary housing accommodation costs would become financially unsustainable for the council.


·       A motion declaring a Housing Emergency for Crawley was passed with unanimous support.


·       A written question was submitted and answered, which showed that in 2023, only 37 new Council homes were delivered, which was lower than in previous years which can be directly attributed to the delays caused by the additional planning restrictions on water neutrality imposed on the Borough by Natural England, a non-departmental public body sponsored by DEFRA.


That the Full Council resolves to:  


1.     Following the declared Housing Emergency declared for Crawley, fully explore all options with renewed vigour, including borrowing and using housing co-operatives, to maximise both the delivery and the speed of delivery, of new social housing for Crawley.


2.     Notes the plans being brought forward by the Labour administration at Crawley Borough Council for approximately another 500 council and affordable homes anticipated to be delivered over the forthcoming two years of the next council.


3.     Notes the failure of the national Conservative Government (a) to adequately support social and council housebuilding in the UK, (b) their lack of action and active attempts to suppress the replacement of housing stock lost to councils and (c) their continuing failure to respond to unsustainable levels of expenditure being incurred by councils such as Crawley on temporary accommodation costs by refusing to unfreeze housing benefit subsidy from 2011 levels.


4.     Increase the rate of lobbying to all those who could potentially positively influence the outcome, to resolve the water neutrality restrictions that is negatively impacting the delivery of new housing in Crawley, and wherever possible, present a united cross-party approach in doing so.


5.     To assist with affordability for future tenants, continue to share information and best practice with other local authorities, to see how more affordable rents for new properties can be realistically set at the lowest possible amount within the 50-80% range that is national policy.


6.     Request a report to the Overview and Scrutiny Commission in 2025, to report back on social housing delivery during 2024, including what efforts and progress the council has made with regard to the first five resolutions of this motion.

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