Your District Council has been shortlisted for the UK housing sector’s premier awards.
One of eight finalists to become Strategic Local Authority of the Year at the UK Housing Awards, Derbyshire Dales impressed the judges with a submission that highlights the 1,500 affordable homes the authority has enabled for local people since 2002.
The awards ceremony will take place in London on 2 May, and the District Council's Leader, Councillor Lewis Rose OBE (pictured above at the start of a recent affordable homes scheme in Matlock) said:
"We are delighted to be nominated for such a prestigious award alongside much bigger local authorities such as Hull City Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.
"Housing has been a corporate priority for us since 2002 and we are a rural council with a successful track record of building quality homes in protected natural environments.
"The judges were impressed by the way we focus corporate resources to great effect, providing new affordable homes despite the challenges, plus we use different techniques to engage with our communities and have developed the right partnerships to take forward specific schemes and services."
The Derbyshire Dales' house price to income ratio exceeds 10 and this, combined with a lower than average wage, drives demand for homelessness services and new affordable homes.
Councillor Rose added:
"Our work matters because without a rural housing programme, families will leave the area. In 2017/18 we will complete 63 new affordable homes with 100 due to complete in 2018/19. We focus our development activity in areas of greatest need, using parish housing needs surveys delivered by our Rural Housing Enabler.
“Site identification takes place with planning officers and housing associations leading to successful planning consents, such as those in the Peak District villages of Taddington and Winster in 2017, giving hope to younger households."
Head of Housing Rob Cogings said the District Council made the most of revenue funds to commission services designed to prevent homelessness, reduce debt, generate income, support people to attain a home and maintain their tenancy, attracting resources to tackle issues not normally associated with rural districts, such as estate regeneration and shaping the delivery of inward investment.
"We make a real difference to people’s lives each year," he said. "Through our commissioned services we prevent 850 homelessness cases which includes supporting 150 debt clients with an average of £16,000 debt per client with advice from the CAB, helping 50 older people receive a total of £200,000 in unclaimed benefits through Age UK and supporting 109 of our most vulnerable households to prevent homelessness through support and advice provided by Adullam Housing Association. We do all this with just 10 staff in the housing team."