Jaywick: Council houses a ‘catalyst’ for investment
Tendring District Council leader Mick Page has approved plans to buy land and/or property in the area to boost council housing stock and kick-start investment.
Ongoing negotiations with several landowners and landlords in the area over the past few months have not yet led to an agreement, but the council is hopeful of being able to acquire some sites at less than the market value soon.
Officers have now been given the green light to continue talks and buy the sites if a deal is reached.
There is no set budget for the initiative, which the EADT first revealed in March, but TDC can draw from a £1m pot for housing which has been set aside for building and acquiring new council homes, while there is also scope to borrow extra money for the scheme.
Parts of Jaywick have been classified as the most economically deprived in the country, and this has led private sector developers to shy away from the area.
Mr Page said: “The only way we will start anything in Jaywick is for us to lead it. We will be the catalyst.
“We hope to buy land and build some houses, maybe 40, so that other developers will do the same. They just don’t want to be the first.
“Almost no-one else over the years has wanted to do anything. The Guinness Trust did one development down there which could have been the catalyst but never really took off.
“It is a two-way thing as it also helps reduce our housing waiting list.
“We are trying to be community leaders to make sure things happen. It will not be done overnight, but this is the first part of it.
“However the officers would not have prepared this report if they were not at a stage where they are certain negotiations have come nearly to an end.”
Two new houses built in Hastings Avenue, Brightlingsea, due to have their first tenants move in during the next six weeks, are the first new-build council homes in Tendring for around 30 years.
A report for TDC has said any council homes built in Jaywick would need to be rented out long-term to achieve any direct financial return to the authority.
Dan Casey, a ward councillor for Golf Green which includes Jaywick, said: “I understand the council was hoping to start building by the end of this year, which now does not look like it will happen. But I am assured the council hopes everything will be in place by the end of the year to start in 2015.
“I’m ever an optimist and I just hope we do start something here, because I really do believe we need to do something.”