Agenda and minutes

Economy and Housing Policy Committee - Tuesday, 28th November, 2023 6.30 pm

Venue: Walton Suite, Guildhall, Winchester and streamed live on YouTube at

Contact: Matthew Watson, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Tel: 01962 848 317 Email:


No. Item


Apologies and Deputy Members

To note the names of apologies given and deputy members who are attending the meeting in place of appointed members.


Apologies for the meeting were noted as above.



Declarations of Interests

To receive any disclosure of interests from Members and Officers in matters to be discussed.


Note:  Councillors are reminded of their obligations to declare disclosable pecuniary interests, and non disclosable interests in accordance with legislation and the Council’s Code of Conduct.      


If you require advice, please contact the appropriate Democratic Services Officer, prior to the meeting.



No declarations were made.



Chairperson's Announcements


No announcements were made.



Minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 September 2023. pdf icon PDF 331 KB

That the minutes of the meeting be signed as a correct record.



That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 September 2023 be approved and adopted.



Public Participation

To receive and note questions asked and statements made from members of the public on matters which fall within the remit of the Committee


Members of the public and visiting councillors may speak at the Policy Committee, provided they have registered to speak three working days in advance.  Please complete this form ( ) by 5pm on the 22 November 2023 or call (01962) 848 264 for further details.



Julian Perkins on behalf of Tenants and Council Together (TACT) and Councillor Lee addressed the committee, and their contributions were summarised within the following agenda items.



Housing Revenue Account Rent Setting And Business Plan pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Report Reference: BHP49

Additional documents:


Councillor Westwood, Cabinet Member for Housing; introduced the report, ref BHP 49 which set out proposals for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Rent Setting and Business Plan, (available here).  The introduction included the following points.


  1. That the plan aimed to provide affordable Council housing, maintain, and expand the housing stock, and prioritise tenant welfare.
  2. That the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) faced an unprecedented financial challenge.
  3. That the HRA functioned as a ring-fenced landlord account, ensuring financial sustainability through rents and service charges.
  4. That the HRA's 24/25 draft plan addressed both the high inflation and increased building costs.
  5. That two significant work programs aimed to improve existing housing and construct energy-efficient new homes. £45 million was being invested in retrofitting council homes for energy efficiency, with an additional annual £2 million for repairs, maintenance, and staffing.
  6. That modernising services, enhancing digital access, and improving customer service were deemed necessary and that £2 million was provisionally allocated for housing management system review and maintenance contracts.
  7. That the HRA business plan aimed for sustainability, including a £45 million investment and a commitment to constructing 1,000 homes.
  8. That it was proposed to acquire more homes from developers and adopt 80% market rents for new eco-friendly homes.
  9. That proposed rent increases were based on CPI plus 1% for 24/25.
  10. That measures encompassed cost recovery for service charges, revised rent increases for shared owners, and asset disposals for capital investments.
  11. That comments and views on the draft HRA business plan were invited before final approval in March 2024.


Simon Hendey, Strategic Director provided the committee with a presentation which included the following:


  1. The report projected a 7.7% rent increase for the upcoming financial year and provided a summary of anticipated expenses and income.
  2. The Housing Revenue Account estimated an expenditure of £37.927 million, and an income of £36.476 million, resulting in a forecasted deficit of £1.451 million.
  3. The proposed deficit offsetting approach involved identifying £318,000 in savings, using £492,000 from interest on balances, and funding the remaining deficit from changing balances, aiming to bring forward £640,000 in the next year.
  4. The broader 30-year business plan highlighted:

a)    A £30 million investment to achieve EPC - C for all housing stock by 2030.

b)    Enhancements in Energy Efficiency, maintaining the Decent Homes Standard, increased repair and maintenance expenditure, and the delivery of new homes.

c)    Policy options focused on potential strategies such as property acquisition, rent adjustment at 80% of market rates, and prioritising energy-efficient homes, aiming to save £400,000 over two years (£318,000 in 24/25 and £82,000 the following year).

  1. The plan included a disposals program, involving small plots of land and unfeasible vacant properties.
  2. A proposal aimed at full cost recovery for service charges was pending review after consultation.


Julian Perkins on behalf of TACT addressed the committee and highlighted the following points.


  1. The report on page 17 highlighted the need to enhance customer digital access and service, based on consultation, recent tenant satisfaction survey results, and a provisional budget of £2 million.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Festivals And Events Programming Policy pdf icon PDF 268 KB

Report Reference: BHP47


Councillor Thompson, Cabinet Member for Business and Culture and  Andrew Gostelow; introduced the report, ref BHP47 which set out proposals for the Festivals and Events Programming Policy, (available here).  The introduction included the following points.


  1. That the district embraced a diverse range of festivals, hosted at various sites across the district. These festivals significantly contributed to the district's vibrancy, formed an integral part of our cultural identity, bolstered the visitor economy, and positively impacted the health and well-being of residents.
  2. The paper discussed strengthening the council's offerings and reviewing approaches to better support organisations intending to stage events. This was a working document seeking input on improving the council's appeal to event organisers and ensuring comparability with our competitors. Feedback had been gathered from the Festivals in Winchester Group and other event organisers, and some immediate improvements were underway, including the establishment of a single point of contact to streamline applications, offer guidance, resolve date clashes, and enhance web-based guidance on the event application process.
  3. There was also a reevaluation of the terms and conditions for hiring Council land, particularly concerning the cleanup after large events. Going forward, greater emphasis would be placed on cost recovery while ensuring a fair and flexible approach, tailored case by case, to treat organisations equitably.
  4. This marked the initial phase of creating a more accessible process for event organisation. When fully developed, it would significantly enhance our competitiveness with neighbouring local authorities, stimulate our visitor economy, and foster a stronger sense of pride in our community. Additionally, the ongoing cultural strategy, expected to be adopted in 2024, would incorporate further improvements in organising events and festivals, as highlighted in previous engagement and consultation exercises.


Councillor Lee addressed the committee and highlighted the following points.


  1. He recognised the rich and diverse culture in the Winchester District, celebrated through numerous festivals and events throughout the year. This provided an opportunity for both local communities and visitors to participate, contributing positively to the local economy and well-being.
  2. He appreciated the initiative to refresh the approach to developing and strengthening Winchester District's event offerings. The promotion of a curated event calendar aligned with sustainability priorities was welcomed. However, he urged greater emphasis on accelerating efforts towards environmental sustainability, especially considering the nature emergency.
  3. He urged that events and festivals were made more environmentally friendly to enhance their appeal and suggested consideration of measures such as a ban on single-use plastics or providing discounts for attendees using low-carbon transport.


These points were responded to by Councillor Thompson, Cabinet Member for Business and Culture, Andrew Gostelow, Service Lead - Economy & Tourism, and Emalene Hickman, Culture and Creative Sector Development Officer accordingly.


The committee was asked to comment upon:

  1. The refreshed approach to engagement between organisers and the council,
  2. The approach to improve cost recovery with respect of changes to terms and conditions for the hire of council land, and
  3. The potential and practicalities of adopting an overarching curated programme of festivals and events across the district.


The committee  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


To note the Work Programme for 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 83 KB



That the current work programme was noted.


Registering to speak at meetings of the council:

The information below relates to the majority of meetings of the council but please note that different rules do apply for registering to speak at meetings of Full Council, Licensing Sub Committees, Planning Committees, Open Forums, and the Standards Hearing and Human Resources Sub Committees and the Appointments Panel. Further information can be obtained using the contact details above.

Members of the public may speak at this meeting, provided they have registered to speak three working days in advance. Please contact Democratic Services via or (01962) 848 264 to register to speak and for further details - which can also be found on the individual meeting agenda front sheets.


Economy and Housing Policy Committee on Tuesday, 28th November, 2023, 6.30 pm{sidenav}{content}