A project to buy private property and turn it into council housing is continuing to deliver, with thirteen homes now occupied by people that were on the council’s homeseeker’s register.
At their meeting next week (item 16, Tuesday 15 September), cabinet councillors will receive an update on the council’s ‘housing and development pipeline.’
Twenty-seven homes have been bought on the open market so far, totalling £6.3m of investment. Thirty percent of this is from funds received by the council from the sale of council houses as part of the government right to buy policy. Once work has been completed to make them available to live in, the properties are added to the council’s housing stock and help ensure that some families can move out of temporary accommodation.
The remaining 14 homes are in the process of being refurbished, work which has been slightly delayed to due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Eight further property purchases totalling £1.6m are also now in solicitors’ hands, and it is expected that three of these transactions will be completed by the end of September. Sixteen further opportunities are currently being investigated with a view to buying these during 2020-21.
Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, says: “As a joint administration we promised to provide new social housing and key worker housing as a priority and we are doing just that by getting on with this project and delivering at real pace.
“We have now added 27 new homes to our council housing stock, have another eight under offer and 16 further opportunities being explored.
“Most pleasing of all however is the fact that local families in temporary accommodation are already able to call these new council properties their home.”
Councillors will also receive an update on other council housing projects, including three pilot projects on council-owned former garage sites using modern methods of construction (MMC). Two of these sites are in Saxon Gardens within the West Shoebury ward and one site is in Archer Avenue in the Southchurch ward.
The report also states that work has been progressing well with the development for Roots Hall and Fossetts Farm. It says that ‘officers and representatives from the Football Club and Citizen Housing team have been meeting regularly to progress design discussions leading up to the submission of the revised planning documents which will amend the existing application, essentially to replace the retail element with residential development. There is a collective desire to deliver a high quality, highly sustainable development with a strong sense of community with excellent transport options and high-quality walking and cycling connections.’