‘Ambitious’ £22million plan to buy 100 new council homes

Colchester Borough Council will vote on plans to invest �22m into council housing. Picture: COLCHEST

Colchester Borough Council will vote on plans to invest �22m into council housing. Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL - Credit: Colchester Borough Council

A new “ambitious” plan to buy 100 new council homes in Colchester at a cost of £22million is set to be approved.

The investment would see 100 properties acquired by the council, helping to meet the current demands for affordable housing.

A newly-released council document set an “ambitious” deadline of March 2022 for the homes, if the funding is made available.

Colchester Borough Council is set to vote on the investment on Wednesday, September 2 when its cabinet meets online.

The cabinet report, which advises approval of the plans, sets out the extent of the social housing needs in the area.

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Author Tina Hinson said there are just under 3,000 households waiting for affordable housing, as well as a further 170 who have experienced homelessness while waiting for accommodation to become available.

All homes would be “truly affordable”, according to the report, with rent typically set at 60% of the market rates.

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The project would see the acquisition of 12 one-bedroom flats, 36 two-bedroom flats, 45 four-bedroom houses and three four-bedroom homes.

The homes will assist the council’s investment in environmental and sustainability improvements to reduce fuel poverty and ensure that the council responds to its climate emergency commitments.

It is also said that the homes will help boost the local economy post-coronavirus.

The report read: “The purchase of 100 homes will have a positive impact on the local economy and contribute to economic recovery, following the global health pandemic.

“The repairs and improvements to bring homes up to a lettable standard will provide work to contractors, as well as keeping supply chains going.”

The paper also addressed how the Covid-19 pandemic could impact the demand for Colchester’s homelessness and housing services.

Despite admitting that predictions are “difficult” to make, Ms Hinson said it is “unlikely” demand for affordable housing will fall - given how much it has increased during the pandemic.

The first £2m of funding for the project will be raised from retained 1-4-1 Right to Buy receipts, while £20m will be borrowed from the government’s Housing Revenue Account.

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