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Liverpool City Council sets out housing vision

Liverpool City Council has set out a vision to improve the city’s housing offer by 2030 with a commitment to support 2,000 new homes a year, reduce the number of empty properties and tackle homelessness.

The city, which is forecasted to grow by 40,000 households in the next 20 years, saw 10,700 new homes built in the past five years but just 11% were classed as affordable.

The Council wants to double that affordable homes figure and help address the fact more than 52% of people in Liverpool live in either private rented or social rented homes.

A report to the Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, 4 June is seeking approval to launch an eight-week public consultation asking residents for their views on a draft housing strategy, which once implemented will shape a £1-billion-plus housing programme across the city.

The draft strategy, which highlights that 20% (44,000) of properties in the city do not meet the “decent homes” definition, will be underpinned by four key themes designed to improve people’s health and support the Council’s net-zero ambitions.

Housing is recognised as one of the key factors affecting people’s health and wellbeing and the Council has set out to address the issue in both its Council Plan, which was agreed in 2023, and the recent State of Health in the City: Liverpool 2040 Report.

Another key focus is to set out a major retrofitting programme to improve insulation and heating sustainability standards as new data shows 18% of households are living in fuel poverty. The programme would also reduce the carbon footprint of the city’s housing stock, which currently accounts for 33% of the city’s carbon emissions.

The Cabinet report also comes just a week after the Council announced it was to carry out a review of empty homes in the city to support a drive to tackle a shortfall in housing, by writing to landlords of more than 8,000 empty properties.

The four key themes of Liverpool’s draft housing strategy are:

1. Delivering quality homes that support needs and aspirations
Key aim: Enabling partners to build at least 8,000 new homes by 2027 and 20% affordable housing.
2. Improving homes and neighbourhoods
Key aim: Improve quality of rented homes and bring empty homes back into use.
3. Promoting healthier lives and sustainable homes
Key aim: Retrofit homes, prioritising those on low incomes in the worst-rated properties.
4. Enabling access to a suitable home
Key aim: Tackle homelessness and rough sleeping by provide more housing for vulnerable groups and those with support needs. This will be underpinned by a new homelessness strategy which is currently being devised.

The Council commissioned a specialist housing consultancy in November 2023 to assist in drafting the strategy which has been informed by extensive data analysis, a review of current housing and planning legislation, housing workshops and meetings with key stakeholders, as well as an online survey with residents.

The city’s housing offer will also form part of a new Local Plan, which the Council is currently working on to replace the 2022 Local Plan. It will provide the statutory planning policy framework for the growth and regeneration of the city and will be underpinned by a Strategic Housing Market Needs Assessment.

Based on an extensive evidence base it will include policies and land use allocations in respect of matters such as housing, the economy, open space, heritage, design and climate change. The council intend to submit the Plan to Government for independent examination in June 2025 and to adopt it by December 2026.

Following public consultation, the Council will develop a detailed action plan for the housing strategy, with specific Key Performance Indicators to be monitored and measured.

  • The final Liverpool Housing Strategy is scheduled to be approved by Cabinet in autumn 2024.

Councillor Liam Robinson, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said:

“Housing is the foundation for building a better quality of life, enabling residents to access the services they need to thrive. Good quality, suitable housing is also a major contributor to the successful economic future of the city and it helps the council better address the needs of its most vulnerable residents.

“This draft strategy outlines our ambitions for improving the city’s housing offer and addressing the housing emergencies that are emerging within Liverpool and nationwide.

“It is a six-year strategy but one which also takes a longer view, seeking to support the housing needs of current and future residents, to progress towards net zero, support the competitiveness and attractiveness of Liverpool and to create the conditions to unlock future opportunities across the economy, health, education, and transport.

“Achieving these ambitions will be reliant on the Council securing strong support from residents and stakeholders for the vision set out in this strategy. Delivering the plan will also require intelligent collaboration with our partners, including the Combined Authority, Government and its agencies, developers, investors and housing providers.”

Councillor Sam East, Cabinet member for Housing at Liverpool City Council, said:

“Housing provides the cornerstone of peoples’ lives – shaping the social fabric of the places we live, our health and wellbeing, and the opportunities we have to learn, work and play.

“Whilst the recent homelessness crisis in Liverpool has necessitated emergency action, we want this strategy to provide a longer-term framework to ensure individuals and families can always access homely and sustainable living in the future.

“This draft strategy reflects feedback we’ve already gathered which highlighted overwhelming support for providing more homes for social rent, improving energy efficiency and insulation on homes, and tackling homelessness and rough sleeping.

“We now want to hear views on the specific proposals within this draft strategy so we can improve and sharpen these proposals.

“Everyone’s view is crucial because we cannot deliver this strategy without the support of our citizens and partners. We can only have success if partners are all bought into a shared housing vision which drives the change required.”