Agenda item

Public Questions

Notice of questions to be given in writing or by email, by 12 noon, Monday, 15 November 2021to the Council’s Monitoring Officer and to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Order 10.


The Chair reported that two questions had been received from members of the public.


Question 1:

The Chair invited Ruth Molyneux to put her question which was:


What are the needs and targets for affordable housing for Wirral?”



There are currently 13,693 people on the Housing Register. 19% have an assessed housing need and been awarded a priority banding accordingly, (Band A the highest through to Band C).  Those with the highest priority Band A equate to 207.  The pressure for meeting housing needs is a challenge and the Council recognises this, as does this Committee.


The Council is in the process of concluding its Strategic Housing Needs and Market Assessment as part of the local plan. The emerging SHMA which is still to be formally approved recommends the need for 374 additional affordable homes each year.  The Council’s proposed target which is still subject to viability testing and is currently recommended to be 20% of all new homes. 


However, we are striving to meet the demands within the Borough and it was anticipated as part of Wirral’s Delivery Plan for 2021/22 a total of 400 affordable housing units would be completed and 700 units started on site.  The current position at the end of quarter 2 is that 235 units have completed, with 650 on site.  It is further estimated that the target 400 units will be surpassed which is positive.


Supplementary Question:

“When will an affordable housing strategy plan be published?”



Affordable Housing targets for each area in the borough will be included within the local plan which is due to be approved by Members early in the new year.  A new Affordable Housing Statement is currently being prepared and informed by the key findings emerging from the Strategic Market Assessment. This Committee will be considering this statement for approval before the end of the municipal year. 


Question 2:

The question was submitted be Giuseppe Roberto, who was not able to attend the meeting in person. His question was read out by the Solicitor, Matthew Neal on his behalf:


“During the first lock down, Wirral Council ensured zero street sleeping with Everyone In. 

But, with no-fault evictions starting again, the housing market on Wirral is still not meeting everyone’s housing needs and many people live in insecure or over-crowded homes. I understand there are still over 2,000 people on housing waiting list assessed as high priority. 

The Wirral Plan 2021-2026 states “A new plan will be set out outlining our needs and opportunities for the delivery of affordable housing with our partners.


How will more affordable housing be delivered?” 



There are broad range of mechanisms to deliver affordable housing, and this includes both the direct involvement of the Council and by us working in our ‘enabling role’ with partners.


Specific examples of what this entails includes: -


·  Bringing forward the Councils own assets and/or acquiring land to deliver a range of housing to meet our Regeneration ambitions.  i.e. the former Rock Ferry High School site where 186 homes are being delivered in partnership with a Registered Provider.  The Legacy Scheme within the Birkenhead Regeneration area where 100 units of affordable housing will be delivered.

·  The Council acquiring our own affordable housing.  The approval to purchase some units having previously been approved by this Committee earlier in the year.

·  Bringing forward early development of affordable housing, through existing and emerging delivery vehicles, such as the Wirral Growth Company and the Urban Development Corporation.

·  Working closely with our Registered Providers to secure grant and access funding for delivery. 

·  Through planning policy, we seek to ensure that new market housing developments in Wirral meet the current targets for provision of affordable housing, wherever it is viable.