Cumbrian council in bid for more affordable homes

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Eden District Council
Eden District Council
Friday, July 14, 2017 at 10:16AM

A Cumbrian council is bidding for affordable homes on a new housing development in an effort to meet demand in the local area.

Eden Council's commercial arm Heart of Cumbria (HoC) is looking to buy 86 affordable homes from Persimmon Homes.

They would be constructed at Carleton Meadows, Penrith, between 2017/2018 and 2025.

It was a moved backed by district councillors at a full council meeting last night.

Heart of Cumbria chairman councillor John Owen, the council's development portfolio holder, said: "This is an exciting development for the Heart of Cumbria Ltd to bid for much needed affordable housing in Eden.

"By working more commercially, we can potentially help to realise a long-term council priority, but also derive an income stream to support and develop services our resident’s value.”

As part of the planning agreement at Carleton Meadows, Permission Homes has to provide an allocated number of affordable dwellings.

With more than 900 local people on the waiting list for social housing, it is a priority for the council to provide more affordable homes.

In September the council set aside almost £1.3m for housing projects to use directly itself or loan to HoC for approved projects.

Councillors chose to support the HoC bid for affordable homes rather than making a council bid.

This way money received from the investment in the affordable housing would not be ring-fenced for use by the council’s housing service but would be available to support other services or projects.

It also means tenants of the housing stock will not have the right to buy to ensure the homes are available to meet future generations of people in housing need.

Mr Owen, added: “The council owns HoC and has a controlling number of directors on the board.

"If Hoc’s bid is accepted by Persimmon Homes, a fixed charge will be made against every dwelling purchased to secure it and protect any council financial investment.

"A commercial rate of interest will be charged to give the council a return on its investment. We now wait and see if our bid to Persimmon Homes is

accepted.”

If successful eight to 12 affordable homes would be built each year between 2019 and 2025. Three would be built in 2017/2018.

Councillor Lesley Grisedale, deputy leader and Housing and Health Portfolio Holder, said: “The delivery of affordable housing in Eden is largely dictated by the vibrancy of the housing market.

"During the past few years the council has been able to secure more affordable housing from developers through Section 106 agreements.

"The demand for social housing for rent or affordable homes to buy in Eden remains high as house prices and rents out strip local wage levels.

“The resilient financial position of the council means through HoC we have the means to potentially secure the housing provision our residents need and retain these assets into the future.

"More receipts from Section 106 Agreements are coming into the council in the near future to help fund this type of initiative.”

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