It has been accepted for some time that the UK is not currently building enough homes to meet demand. With cuts after cuts to local authority budgets, grants drying up for housing associations, and the cost of building and land getting more and more expensive for the private sector, it can at times seem like a daunting prospect to try and build more homes.
However for some innovative local councils that is exactly what they’re doing. After the borrowing cap imposed, many councils have had to think creatively about how they can continue to operate in a difficult housing sector and some, such as Sheffield, have come up with new ways to get around this.
Sheffield Housing Company came out of a 2007 initiative by then housing minister Yvette Cooper, who encouraged local councils to partner with private developers and build on council land. Since then, SHC has completed 325 homes for a mixture of affordable rent and shared ownership.
Enfield Council have also recently welcomed their first residents into the regenerated Alma Estate, the first new council housing in Enfield for 30 years, by investing millions into transforming housing in this part of the borough for a mix of tenures.
Whilst local authorities continue to struggle with the borrowing cap, housing developed in this way through council owned housing companies is not subject to the right to buy, and the private developers that build the new homes can buy land cheaply from the council. All this means that profits from rents and sales go straight back into the council, as 100% shareholders of the company.
If more councils think outside the box, this may prove to be the future of council building.
Categorised in: News
This post was written by Innermedia Ltd