New council housing likely to get go-ahead

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The first new general needs council houses to be built in a generation in Bath and North East Somerset could be given a green light next week.  

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s cabinet is to consider building 58 new council houses to rent to help meet the demand for affordable homes in the area when it meets on Thursday 11 November.

If agreed, the new homes would be the council’s first directly delivered and owned general needs council housing for more than two decades. 

It would represent a significant milestone in the council’s housing delivery programme and signal a new role for the council in helping to provide more homes for social rent.

Councillor Tom Davies, Cabinet member for Council House Building said: “Bath and North East Somerset is a very desirable place to live but that’s resulted in high house prices and rents which are out of the reach of many, so there’s a huge demand for affordable homes right across the district.

“At the moment there are around 6,000 households on our social housing waiting list, but typically only around 600 properties become vacant each year. We are determined as a council to play a leading role in helping to bridge this gap and for this reason I am delighted that the cabinet is being asked to approve the first new general needs council houses in our area for a generation. 

“The council’s Corporate Strategy made a clear commitment to deliver more social and affordable housing and this is the first phase of what we intend to be a substantial programme of new council houses over the coming years. We will also ensure that this programme delivers homes which are designed and built in a way which meets our commitment to tackle the climate and ecological emergencies.”

Under the proposals, the new homes would be designed, delivered and owned directly by the council, meaning schemes could help deliver the council’s goals by minimising environmental impact using low-carbon technology. The report also highlights the opportunity to speed up delivery and reduce waste through innovation, with the potential use of ‘Modern Methods of Construction’, where key elements of a building are constructed off-site using prefabricated or pre-assembled products.

The report says the cost of delivering the homes would be around £12m, with most of this money coming from central government grants and council borrowing funded by the rental income.

It recommends cabinet allocate funding to the council’s property company Aequus to work up development schemes to planning application stage at five of the sites with council officers working up delivery proposals for the remaining three.

The council is also currently developing around fifty units of specialist and supported housing.  This includes accommodation for former rough sleepers and more temporary accommodation for homeless families in crisis.  These units will increase the council’s ability to provide residents with suitable accommodation and support when required.  

View the report to cabinet

To watch the cabinet meeting live or view it later visit the council’s Youtube channel.

You can find more information on affordable housing projects across Bath and North East Somerset on  website.

For housing advice talk to one of the advisors