Housing a major priority in draft council budget for 2020 and beyond

Published Thursday, 9th January 2020

Budget 2020-21 written in white on a blue background

More private homes could be bought and turned into local council housing as part of a proposed £9.5m funding boost over the next three years.

It will be discussed at next week’s cabinet (Thursday 16th January) as part of the draft budget for 2020/21.

The council’s acquisitions programme has already seen £5m spent on buying over twenty local properties to be used to house families on the council’s housing waiting list. Some families were able to move in before Christmas.

This funding is in addition to £14.5m already budgeted to continue the council’s housebuilding programme and a further £6.6m being added to continue the council’s decent homes programme in 2024/25, invest in environmental health and safety and disabled adaptations work.

Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, says: “Ensuring that we provide more council housing and getting local people and families off of the housing list is a top priority of this administration. That is why we have been buying up private homes to add to our council housing stock, and continuing with our council housebuilding programme with £14.5m already committed.

“I am pleased to put forward this proposed investment to allow our acquisitions programme to continue which will provide more homes for people on our housing register to move into.”

In addition, it is proposed that £2.6m is used to buy leasehold properties on the Queensway estate, if and when they become available. Any costs would be reimbursed by Porters Place Southend-on-Sea LLP.

The draft budget will be considered by the council’s cabinet on Thursday 16th January, the council’s three scrutiny committees at the end of January, with the final budget to be discussed and approved at Full Council on Thursday 20th February.