This was the second Councils Housing Conference. John East opened the conference by welcoming the attendees and commenting on the growth of the Local Authority network over the last year and highlighting the overall theme of the conference: Accelerating housing supply both quantity and importantly good quality, that meets the needs and requirements of local areas, and overcoming the challenges in doing so.



Chair – John East, Local Councils Advisory Group Chair, Interim Strategic Director for Place, Winchester City Council

What is Happening in Local Authority Housebuilding and Where Next? 

The results and recommendations from the ‘Third National Survey of Local Authority Housebuilding Activity’ which highlights the increasing variety, scale and range of activity. Councils are increasing their levels of housing delivery in all ways including development, acquisition, regeneration and joint working. 

There is also growing experience of managing different types of housing tenures and development with opportunities for councils to learn from each other. 

Programmes are not without their challenges however with issues such a land shortage sited as a key barrier. 

Delegates can share views and interact in the Q & A following this and other sessions at the conference. 

Speaker - Janice Morphet, Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Planning at University   

Better Procurement for Better Homes 

What are the key recommendations in this the first comprehensive guide launched in October to help housing associations and local authorities procure and deliver higher quality homes for their residents? Share your views on the guidance on which Geeta Nanda commented “There is so much to do in ensuring that we provide the very best places we can for people to live whilst using our money wisely. This guide shows how it can be done.”  (Geeta Nanda is Chief Executive of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing and Chair of the G15 group) 

Speaker – Shelagh Grant, Chief Executive, The Housing Forum 

The GLA: Delivering Quality Homes Handbook 

The quality of new homes delivered by the public sector is sometimes very good; but despite good planning policy and other standards, quality sometimes still falls below expectations. The GLA is addressing this by publishing the Delivering Quality Homes Handbook. It shows 50 ways in which housing associations and councils can enhance their culture, teams and processes to commission better quality homes. It draws on the expertise of Claire Bennie as well as eight other public sector ‘case study clients’ who have all successfully commissioned high quality new homes. The GLA is piloting the use of this handbook with four partners right now, with a view to potentially mandating its use by partners for future programmes. Claire’s talk will explain both the handbook and the ‘action planning’ process. 

Speaker: Claire Bennie, Director, Municipal 

Accelerating Supply 

Approaches to Unlocking Sites 

Construction is changing but can embracing new digitally led technologies and processes to increase quality, productivity and total value speed up the process of unlocking sites?

How will meeting challenges around sustainability and industrialisation/productivity inform the process by which customers view potential sites. How will different approaches in terms of digitalisation of data, materials, products and components improve the end asset for the owners and the end users

None of these challenges exist independently, they are closely interwoven, the skill is how principal contractors can act as integrators, bringing all these strands together removing friction and managing the interfaces both physical and contractual. We explore how this approach and through true collaboration and integration at the earliest opportunity between customer, manufacturer and contractor is the approach required to the successful unlocking of potential sites whilst adding value

Speaker: Chris Spiceley Business Unit Director Claritas Four Zero

Approaches and exemplars for rooftop extensions 

Baily Garner has substantial experience in identifying and delivering infill developments where a discrete ‘hidden homes’ approach has resulted in modest increases in density creating valuable homes within existing established communities and delivering benefits for all. Our approach has evolved in recent years in response to the shortage of land in urban locations, the changes in planning policy and the drive to look differently at our built assets.

Rooftop development (RTD), or airspace development, provides an alternative option to help alleviate the housing pressures but the opportunity comes with its own risks and challenges. As with other brownfield development sites, rooftop ‘sites’ have various complex and challenging constraints that need to be understood and overcome to realise this kind of development. This session will cover some of the ways in which you can maximise the benefits of RTD, manage the inevitable risks and minimise the impacts to residents.

Speaker: Michelle Minogue, Partner (Head of Architecture), Baily Garner 

MMC collaboration to achieve scale  

Speakers TBC 

Regulatory Landscape and Decarbonisation 

Planning – where next?  

Discussion session: With proposals in the Planning White Paper currently ‘on hold’ what ways could we make the system work better – both in plan-making and decision-making – without ‘starting from scratch’ and how can we work together to promote these?   current status and how councils are dealing with the challenges. Discussion on how councils can more effectively share views. 

Speaker – Nicky Linihan, Housing Specialist at the Planning Officers Society and independent planning consultant 

Journey to the Future Homes Standard  

Speaker TBC

Retrofitting at scale 

Leeds City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and are embarking on a programme to retrofit much of their 54,000 retained estate. With a £100m of projects on the ground moving towards renewable energy, what are the challenges and how are they being dealt with? 

Speaker – Nahim Ruhi-Khan, Head of Strategy and Investment, Resources and Housing, Leeds City Council 

Funding Challenges for Councils 

Panel of speakers and extended Q & A. 

To include: 

  • Innovative funding models 
  • Is the removal of the HRA debt cap the answer? 
  • Balancing HRA with grant funding 
  • Pressures of First Homes and how can a discounted sale property work as an affordable product 
  • Changes in 1-4-1 spend rules and impacts on delivery programmes and budgets 


 The Housing Forum’s Councils Network  is made up of the 76 councils in our membership, and is supported by member sponsors Baily GarnerBPTWcalfordseaden, and Claritas. 

 previous Councils Conference delegate comments included:  

‘A thought provoking and relevant webinar addressing real issues that we are currently experiencing’

‘The webinar was excellent – relevant, timely and informative with good speakers’



Event Sponsors – Bugler Developments

Bugler Developments is an award-winning, family owned residential property development company operating throughout London and the South East. We have approaching 40 years’ industry experience and operate predominantly in the Affordable Housing sector. It is our pleasure to sponsor the 2021 Councils Network Autumn Conference. We recognise the role councils play in much needed new housing and hope that this conference provides an insightful forum for all involved.

~ Bugler Developments


Media Partners – LABM



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