Derbyshire Dales District Council set to build 50 homes it will own and manage in landmark move

Derbyshire Dales District Council is set to make a landmark move to build 50 houses which it will own and manage.

Thursday, 7th March 2019, 11:49 am
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 11:53 am
Derbyshire Dales District Council is set to make a landmark move to build 50 houses which it will own and manage.

Councils building social housing has largely become a thing of the past, due to tightened budgets and new Government rules.

They often receive money from developers in the form of a legally-binding deal called a Section 106 agreement to be used to build affordable housing.

However, the building and managing of these affordable homes is carried out by registered housing associations.

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In the Dales this includes the council working with Waterloo Housing Group, Westleigh, Peak District Rural Housing Association and Nottingham Community Housing Association to build homes with the money brought in from developers.

But now the district council is fleshing out plans to build and manage 50 homes – with seven finished by 2021, 20 in 2022, and the final 33 in 2023.

The scheme would involve using Section 106 money for 28 of the homes, buying and improving four empty houses and building 16 properties on land already owned by the district council.

A report on the move, which will be debated at a meeting on Wednesday, March 13, says: “The council is performing well in the delivery of affordable homes through housing associations, however additional units could be provided via the council’s direct provision.

“Delivering its own homes will mean that the council can specify and deliver exactly what is required to meet local need and to a standard that fully supports vulnerable households.”

The report says that with the introduction of Universal Credit – a new benefits system – private landlords are increasingly reluctant to let houses or flats to vulnerable people receiving benefits.

This has placed more onus on the councils to make up for the shortfall and provide sufficient housing support.

The scheme is set to cost £6.6 million and build stock worth £6.9m – based on current house prices – while rent on the homes would bring in an estimated £200,000 per year.

All 50 homes would be either affordable rent (80 per cent of the market rate) or shared ownership.

Shared ownership would see residents initially only partly owning the home and buying more of a share as time goes on.

The vast majority of the homes would be charged at affordable rent (42 out 50) with eight in shared ownership.

Most of the homes would either be two-bed, two-bed flats or bungalows.

More and more councils are thought to be considering building homes after an announcement from Prime Minister Theresa May at the Conservative Party conference in October.

In her speech, the Prime Minister announced that the borrowing cap on local councils would be lifted in order to allow them to start building houses for low-income families again in serious volumes for the first time in 30 years.

Derbyshire Dales punches above its weight for the amount of affordable homes it has helped to see built through housing associations.

In 2018 it saw 110 completed with a further 437 already planned to be built by 2021.

Last year, the district council collected £3.1m from developers to enable affordable homes to be built in the Dales.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service