Extra housing is likely to be added to the current phase of Thanet council’s new build scheme.
Thanet council’s build, buy and refurbish programme is currently in phase four with an £8.8million projected spend for up to 36 homes.
The programme is paid for through the council’s housing revenue account, right-to-buy proceeds and funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Phase 3 provided new build council homes in King Street and Sussex Street, Ramsgate.
Cabinet members at Thanet council will now discuss plans to increase the number of new build council homes in the latest phase from 36 to 61 and will fund it by transferring £8.1 million earmarked for phase 5 to the current build as well as increasing the budget for 2024/25 by £0.2m.
.Phase 4 of the affordable housing development programme covers the 2020-24 financial years. It includes the purchase of 14 properties which has already been completed at a cost of £3.4million.
Twenty-two new homes were due to be started on site in March 2023 and this will now be increased to 47 homes.
The council plans for some of the units to be infill sites on existing estates including, Staner Court and Clements Road.
Thanet council has also bought the former Dane Valley Arms site in Millmead which, the authority says, has capacity for 20 homes and there are detailed design proposals for infill sites in and around Tomlin Drive, where garages are being brought down to make way for between 9-11 homes.
It is anticipated that a planning application for Dane Valley Arms site will be submitted before the end of this year and Tomlin Drive, Staner Court and Clements Road early in 2023, following consultation with neighbouring communities.
Since 2015 a total of 313 affordable homes have been provided by the council and its Housing Association partners. However, there is an identified need for 548 affordable homes in Thanet to be created per year. The council says new initiatives to increase the supply of new affordable homes are needed. The homes are council/social housing for those on the housing waiting list.
Rapid growth in homelessness
A report to Cabinet members, who will discuss the plans on November 17, says: “The council is facing a rapid growth in the number of homeless households. This has led to an increase in the number of households in temporary accommodation; currently 199 households are living in temporary accommodation provided by the council.”
The total approved development budget and capital programme budget is £25m, across both phase 4 and future developments, up until March 2025.
Funding needed for the 2025/26 programme is £7.9million and this is dependent on match funding of 40% from right to buy sales of council homes and Homes England grant funding.
The council has also created flats for temporary housing at Foy House in Margate.
Project update ✨ Foy House, Margate 🏢
Now nearing completion, the former empty office block on Margate High Street was purchased by @ThanetCouncil to convert into temporary flats for homeless families 🏡@BECCONSTRUCTION #kentconstruction #quantitysurveyor #costconsultant pic.twitter.com/cUw5fSZtfu
— Modus Construction Consultants (@modus_ltd) October 20, 2022
The redevelopment of the long-term empty building provides eight self-contained 1 and 2 bedroom flats. Some £1.2million was allocated for the purchase and development, including contingency money, during the previous Labour administration.
The refurbished flats will provide temporary accommodation for people and families with urgent housing needs, who are being supported by the council.
Last week Conservative council leader Ash Ashbee revealed plans to use the former student accommodation at the ex-uni campus in Broadstairs for emergency accommodation.
The premises, on the former Canterbury Christ Church University Thanet campus, had been procured by Clearsprings Ready Homes to house people seeking asylum. However, those at the site were moved out after just three days. It is not yet known whether Clearsprings plan to relinquish the building.
Cllr Ashbee said the council has been working to procure the building for emergency accommodation.
She said: “Since August I have been trying to procure the building for Thanet council. I have been putting together a financial plan so we could provide accommodation for emergency housing for our homeless in Thanet.”
Cllr Ashbee said the council was close to being able to put in a “complete offer” for the site, adding: “The accommodation is set out into single rooms and would not have been suitable for families unless we did some work. We didn’t want to take it on as single rooms and had a design to try and provide between 16-20 units suitable for families.”
Housing waiting list
There are 1804 households on the housing waiting list in Thanet. The most recent rough sleeper count recorded 11 people on the streets and 45 people receiving assistance from the RISE homelessness team. Some 199 households are in temporary accommodation.
Thanet council receives around 1,000 homelessness applications each year. The council is landlord of 3034 properties but demand outstrips supply.
Thanet council Housing Team 01843 577277