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11th Oct 2023
Michael Newey addressing the Broadland Housing Association AGM sm

A leading regional housing association has vowed to remain ‘purpose focussed’ as it faces one of the most financially challenging years in its six decade existence.

Michael Newey, chief executive of Broadland Housing Association, pledged that the organisation would maintain its focus on tackling housing need and homelessness, despite the cost-of-living crisis and soaring interest rates resulting in an unprecedented financial squeeze.

Looking back as Broadland Housing celebrates its 60th birthday, Mr Newey said that the need for its services were greater than ever.  “More people are unable to find affordable homes in the private sector than when we started, while our tenants are facing unparalleled economic pressures, with food inflation at a 42 year high, and energy costs still at very high levels.”

Broadland Housing supported the below-inflation rent cap this year, but the move, combined with rapidly-rising interest rates, has reduced the association’s operational budget by £3.6 million in the current year, said Mr Newey – and that has inevitably resulted in some difficult decisions.

“This has been a year for realistic optimism, not naïve optimism,” he told attendees at the AGM.  “We have had to be brutally honest when looking at our spending priorities.  There has been an inevitable focus on what must be done; sadly not on what should or could be done.

“That has meant a hopefully one-off reduction to our planned maintenance programme, with the focus on responsive maintenance. 

“We have also had to scale back our development ambitions: we now aim to build 75 new homes a year for the next three years, against our original plans to deliver 150 a year.” 

The association delivered 131 new homes during 2022/23, comprised of 55 homes for affordable rent and 76 for shared ownership.

“As ever we are faced with a balancing act between managing our existing homes, providing good quality services to tenants, and building new homes to meet housing need – as well as ensuring that we remain in a position to carry on delivering those priorities into the future.”

Mr Newey emphasised that growing housing need when he revealed that there are 18,710 households in Norfolk and East Suffolk on the waiting list for housing.

“Across England, there are 1.1 million fewer homes available for rent from local authorities and housing associations than there were in 1979, and the proportion of affordable homes as part of the overall housing stock has fallen from 31% to just 17% in the same period,” he said.

Despite the challenges, Mr Newey expressed optimism for the future.  “We are proud of holding true to our purpose across our first 60 years, and the need for Broadland Housing is just as massive today as it ever was. 

“Despite the frustration of facing our toughest financial year yet, we are optimistic for the future, and we will remain resolutely focussed on our purpose of tackling housing need and homelessness.”

Broadland Housing Association, which was established in 1963, provides over 5,500 homes in Norfolk and Suffolk.  A copy of the 2022/23 Annual Report can be downloaded from www.broadlandgroup.org/about-us/governance-documents/annual-reviews.


Selected Statistics from the 2022/23 Annual Report

  • 5,561 homes provided
  • 602 homes allocated, including to 108 homeless households
  • 15,557 responsive repairs completed
  • 439 tenants supported to sustain their tenancies
  • 131 new homes delivered, comprised of 55 for affordable rent and 76 for shared ownership