Council plans to create its own housing company to tackle isle shortage

New homes

Thanet council aims to create its own housing company to tackle the isle’s homes shortage.

An initial budget of £50,000 needs to be agreed with the aim of launching the company by April 1, 2020.

The company would enable the council to directly buy land and build properties.

It is hoped the project will mean better standard housing,better management and more affordability for residents.

The initial budget would come from the Business Rates Equalisation Reserve, and spending authority would be delegated to the council’s the Deputy Chief Executive.

Need for 1,137 new homes per year

A report to Cabinet members, who are due to discuss the plans this week (July 25) says: “The draft Thanet Local Plan sets the housing requirement for 17,140 homes by 2031. This sets the annual requirement for 897 homes, including 397 new affordable homes, per annum over the 20 year plan period.

“As a result of slower than required delivery in the early years of the Plan, the residual requirement has increased for the remainder of the plan to 1,137 per annum. Over the last 10 years, however, annual completions have averaged only 424 units.

“This illustrates the need for the council to identify a different way of delivering housing to address the under-performance of the development sector in the district. A wholly owned housing company has the potential to be part of the council’s response to these challenges.”

Council owned company

Officers are recommending the company is limited by shares with 100% of these held by the council. The company would be able to establish subsidiary companies or joint ventures and to issue shares to other partners in exchange for equity investment.

Wholly owned housing companies can trade for profit and proposals will include  using those for other housing projects or priorities. Income from rents and sales would be available to the company to fund borrowing costs and management and maintenance costs.

Any surpluses, after corporation tax, could be returned to the council in the form of dividends. Council officers undertaking work for the scheme could recharge their time to the company.

Cabinet members are expected to approve the initial budget of £50,000 for legal, taxation and treasury advice.

Waiting list

There are approximately 2,645 households registered on Thanet’s housing waiting list and some 111 placed in temporary accommodation.

Thanet council is tackling the issue with its own scheme of building or refurbishing 150 homes by 2020 at a cost of £30million.

A bid to government to fund a further 35 new homes at the cost of £8.8million has also been made.

Some £14million has been spent on housing schemes across Thanet. These projects include new build programme, Margate Housing Intervention project, Empty Homes Project 2012-15, and King Street intervention.

Investment has been £7,258,330 in Ramsgate, £1,377,202 in Broadstairs and £6,048,514 Margate.

10 Comments

  1. We need a clear definition of affordable housing, social housing, for singles and families. A community village of modular housing is one idea to include temp. accommodation for families and singles. Water features, greenery, warden-protected and community based come to mind.

  2. “Thanet council is tackling the issue with its own scheme of building or refurbishing 150 homes by 2020 at a cost of £30million” – that equates for £200,000 per home!!
    “A bid to government to fund a further 35 new homes at the cost of £8.8million has also been made.” – averages £251,428 per home!!!

    These figures seem high.

    My first home was a studio flat with separate kitchen and bathroom and I lived there for 8 years until I could afford something else. Why can’t the council build a block of studio flats – it would be a lot cheaper and solves part of the problem for single people – and even the homeless. Possibly leaving more money to build more homes.

    • But you’re forgetting that the aim is to provide very expensive housing ( that most of us will never be able to afford) at very cheap rents to those lucky enough to get a winning ticket in the social housing lottery. Which then ends up subsidised by the tax payer for ever more.
      All smoke and mirrors, and the reason there are so many on the social housing list , the vast majority of whom will already have a roof over there heads.

      • I don’t think you’re right in your assertions-do you have any facts to back them up? Why would the council want to build fewer but more expensive houses if there are existing techniques for quicker and cheaper house/flat-building?

        The more social housing we have, the better.

  3. Why doesn’t the the council buy houses that are up for sale locally now. Many are up for sale because the owners want to downsize. There are many houses 3/4/ bedrooms with just one or two people living in them. The council could buy them and rent them out. The council could negotiate with the sellers because the council would in effect be cash buyers.

  4. The council could focus on producing flats for older people –over 55 maybe– when those people are selling bigger houses they no longer need. Starting with local sellers. That would free up bigger houses for families. Being over that age myself, I would quite like to downsize to buy a smaller flat with on-site staff and a council-run maintenance scheme.

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