Plans for more council homes to reduce waiting list - The Leamington Observer

Plans for more council homes to reduce waiting list

Ian Hughes 27th Feb, 2017 Updated: 2nd Mar, 2017   0

WARWICK District Council is looking to start building council homes once again.

It follows the success of the recently opened Sayer Court development in Leamington – 81 apartments and bungalows for over 55s on the old Featherstone Court site off Tachbrook Road – which were the first new council owned properties built in quarter of a century.

The council currently owns 5,400 properties but officers are now investigating the possibility of adding new homes to the authority’s stock in a bid to reduce the 2,500 people currently on the waiting list.

The move comes as the council prepares to adopt a new housing and homelessness strategy. Figures being presented to councillors next week show how difficult some are finding getting a home. Property prices and rents are both rising rapidly. The average price of a home in the district now costs over £338,000, with the ratio of house prices to average income now nine to one.

District housing spokesman Coun Peter Phillips said: “Sayer Court is a stunning new addition to the landscape in south Leamington and it shows what can be done to provide modern and affordable homes in the district.

“These sites take some time to go from drawing board to completion, because we’d be looking for each site to provide around 100 new homes, so it is only right that we start investigating straight away possible new sites now that we have the success of Sayer Court behind us.

“We will continue to make opportunistic purchases of small numbers of houses and flats as and when the opportunities arise, and investigate any opportunity to build on some of the garage sites owned by the district council.”

But the council’s own Labour group is not convinced the ruling Conservatives are serious about building more homes.

Labour spokesman Coun Colin Quinney said: “The administration continues to utter warm words about their intentions to build more social housing along the lines of the last administration’s Sayer Court. So far there are no details in their budget proposals – which is what we’d expect if they were serious about this.

“The Labour group sought to rectify this by proposing several specific investments in housing on council land such as garages and purchasing small properties in the market to house the most vulnerable on our waiting lists. The council owns 2,000 garages across Warwick District, 300 of which are empty.

“Overall Warwick District Council is only building a third of the affordable housing we need in the district according to the needs identified in our Local Plan.”

There was some good news for existing Warwick District Council tenants after councillors approved a one per cent cut in housing rent. The reduction will come into effect from April and will offer annual savings of between £30 and £60 per home.

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