Thanet council to buy 10 properties at Reading Street and Westwood

House building in Thanet

Thanet council Cabinet members have agreed the purchase of five homes in Broadstairs to be let to those on the housing list and/or in temporary accommodation.

The purchase is part of the council’s plan to buy or build 400 affordable rented homes by 2027. The homes are to be let at Local Housing Allowance rates to Thanet residents on the housing list.

Thanet council was contacted by Millwood Homes which is required to deliver five new affordable homes, as part of its development at Reading Street.

The developer was unable to secure an affordable housing provider to take on the properties and Thanet council has now agreed to spend  £800k and £50k for associated costs to buy them for authority housing stock.

The properties are one 1 bed flat, one 2 bed flat and three  3 bed houses.

Cllr Helen Whitehead, who is the Cabinet member responsible for housing, said: “There is a significant level of need for one bedroom homes as well as larger family homes.

“Very importantly this provides social housing in an area of Thanet that is often inaccessible for renters. Property and rental costs in Broadstairs are significant and acquiring genuinely affordable housing in Broadstairs is often challenging ensuring that all of our isle is accessible to residents is incredibly important and local individuals and families should be able to remain where their local connections are.”

The homes, through rents, will begin to provide a surplus by year 13, meaning those funds can go towards further affordable housing.

Cabinet members also agreed the purchase of a further five 3-bed homes at Westwood which will be part funded by a government grant.

Four homes will be to temporarily accommodate Ukrainian and Afghan refugees before then being used as part of the general housing stock and one will be for temporary accommodation.

Thanet has been allocated £694,000 from the government’s Local Authority Housing fund which it must match with £788,860 from its housing capital programme.

This is the second round of the LAHF scheme, Thanet received £1.9m in the first round and in June agreed to match-fund the grant with £1.996million from its housing capital programme to buy 6 x 3 bed units and 3 x 4 bed units being built at Westwood. The homes will be used for Thanet households on the housing list after the government specified period of three years.

This scheme delivers a surplus to the council, through rents, from year one due to the grant funding towards the purchase.

Cllr Whitehead said the developer has provisionally agreed to an offer of £1.4m for the homes, which is 80% of the market price.

In July Thanet council agreed to ‘significantly’ speed up its affordable housing development with the aim of providing at least 400 social homes by 2027.

Members also approved a £7.485m spend to buy 51 new homes to “kickstart” the programme.

These were made up of 42 properties at the Spitfire Green development by Barrett Homes at a cost of £5m the nine Ukrainian and Afghan refugee households.

Since 2015, the council has added to its existing housing stock by building or buying 144 new affordable rented homes. This represents over 60% of the 313 new affordable homes provided by the council and its housing association partners in that period.

The council currently sets affordable rents at the lower of either  80% of market rent or the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate.  LHA rates have not been increased since April 2020 and will remain fixed until at least 2024/25.

Cabinet members are due to discuss the purchase of another 24 homes at Tothill Street in Minster when they meet in December.

The cost of the eight 1-bed and 16 two-bed properties is circa £3.2m.

61 Comments

    • It was government policy under Margaret Thatcher so councils didn’t have much choice and couldn’t use the receipts to build new ones. Tenants bought at a discount and, provided they stayed in them for a specified period, could sell on at a huge profit.

  1. Looking at Milwoods accounts, Turnover is down amount in bank is down and number of Employee’s are down could this suggest that the climate has changed for them also. Perhaps they will pull out of further development in Thanet…….With Luck as far as Westgate and Birchington are concerned.

    • Developers across the country are all cutting back Mr R. Which leads to the question how is the Government and Labour going to achieve their pledges?

  2. There is no housing crisis in Thanet.

    This is a total pack of lies yet again by councillors. It is a matter of pure greed to suck money from London housing associations to prop up the financial profligacy that the retards and bottom-feeders in the council chamber have practiced for several decades now.

    There is no need for a single new house in Thanet. The reason for the new housing is to bring in yet more migrants or dross-from-London, none of whom have jobs waiting for them and will place yet more strain on our already overburdened social and health services.

    2000 house planned for Westgate on Sea alone! Where are the jobs? Where are the GP’s? Where are the dentists? Where are the school places?

    Thanet is becoming an island-wide sink estate.

    • Tell that to the homeless, tell that to people like us waiting for affordable or social housing that could take years.

    • Apologies, Alex Peters, but that is utterly incorrect.

      There is a huge housing crisis in Thanet, mostly caused by rent inflation, frozen Local Housing Allowance, the cost of living crisis and lack of social housing.

      Homelessness applications are up by 30%; temporary accommodation usage is up by 17%.

      Properties that once cost £500 a month are now routinely £800; I have absolutely no reason or need to tell any lies, the truth is visible, and many residents are experiencing it.

      • Of course tdc is partly responsible for rent inflation , as it has chosen to charge landlords 100% council tax during voids, whilst an empty property benefits to a degree from services provided by council tax ,100% is purely a case of maximising income, rather a pot and kettle situation when landlords similarly wish to maximise income.
        It also discourages landlords from carrying out improvements during voids. Rents in cliftonville were subject to quite an increase to cover the costs of selective licensing , which was little more than a tax on decent landlords to raise funds then used by tdc to do the work they should already have been doing.

      • In 1999 a basic 2 bed flat would have had it’s rent assessed at £450 for benefit purposes. Using a couple of online inflation calculators you get current figures of

        Bank of england calculator. . £823
        Hargreaves lansdown calculator. £1038

        In that same period the value of the property would likely have increased 3-4 fold.
        Rents have also been forced up as a result of societies attitude towards private landlords and the policies introduced to discourage them, this has been very successful and landlords are generally lselling faster than they are buying and for a while many changed over to short term holiday lets. The end result of such policies was a lack of supply at a time that the UK’s population has increased by around 8 million since 1999.
        It’s an oft ignored fact that many developments relied upon off plan landlord purchases to fund developments and as a result fewer starts are being made.
        Tenant satisfaction is better within the private rented sector than the social sector, private landlords have better safety records, better mixes of tenants , evict fewer tenants and in the overall scheme of things provide better housing at lesser cost ( once you take into account taxes paid by the private secor and the extent of grants to extent to the social sector).

        • Rents have mostly gone up due to the requirements of financial institutions and external financial markets, not societal attitudes.

          It’s incorrect, unfortunately, to say that conditions are better within the private market, or that there are fewer evictions within the private market; it is correct to say that there is far more information on social housing, as we record all we do, including condition reports and full compliance data.

          More than happy to meet to discuss the differences in data collection across private and social sector housing.

          • In the first quarter of 2020, social landlords made 14,119 possession claims in the county courts. Private landlords made 5,884.

            Eviction claims by social landlords have consistently been much more common than those by private landlords since the MoJ began compiling the statistics in 1999.

            (Taken from an Inside Housing article)

            Private renters were more likely to be satisfied (79%) with the services their landlord provided than social renters (70%). Satisfaction with housing services varied by region, with substantial differences in the social sector: 83% in the North East to 63% in London

            From English Housing Survey 2021/2

          • No rents have mostly increased purely through inflation, just as council tax has increased considerably for similar reasons. As the numbers show those rises largely in line with inflation.
            Societal attitudes towards landlords has resulted in Sec.24 , increased legislation and the money raking wheeze of selective licensing.
            As mentioned before TDC were quick enough to raise a landlords costs by charging council tax during voids.

  3. So, if my maths is correct, there are 10 new properties being purchased in this round – of which 40% are going to Afghans and Ukrainians ?

    • No; but neatly divisive.

      The Local Authority Housing Fund provides enough grant money to ensure that accommodation provided within it provides surplus from year one; which means, pleasingly enough, that these properties are actually immediately providing revenue to purchase others, which are already in the pipeline.

      They also become general usage properties if there is no direct need for them/at the end of the right to remain within the named government programmes.

      One of those rare moments in life where you can do the right thing morally, and it also produces a direct financial benefit to provide for all.

      • How have I got that wrong ? There are 10 properties being purchased in this round. Of these 10, 4 are being allocated to Afghans and Ukrainians.

        I’m not being divisive but that’s what the article says. On a more general note, at which point are the Afghan or Ukrainian tenants asked to leave ? How long as they allowed to stay in their home ?

        • Because, as discussed with the last round of the LAHF, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

          Because these properties are grant funded, they are already producing other social housing through their revenue income; which means that these numbers have to be viewed through the lens of the entire housing strategy, rather than just in the blocks that individually come to Cabinet.

          We are at 92 properties secured/delivered so far in six months; and that doesn’t include properties that grant funded projects will enable us to deliver.

          LAHF properties can only be rented to those who are part of approved government visa programmes; the right to remain for those programmes is determined by central government; for the Ukrainian schemes for instance it was limited to three years.

          There are efforts nationally to change that, as many, including myself, believe that if you have been forced to leave your home through war or conflict and settle in another country, you should be able to choose to stay where you have established yourself; many individuals and families want to return to their country as soon as they can in terms of conflict abating, but others will have built a life here and feel fully a part of their community; but the current central guidance provides temporary refuge, rather than permanent.

        • Totally agree with you and as you can see by Whitehead reply she would rather have them stay in new homes while British people go with out. And she hates being told that she is wrong . In her words and seeing the bigger picture she spent 4 years training to not give a truthfully answer or even telling the truth.labour and Tory are both failing this country

          • Dear Chris;

            I’m not a great fan of being told that I’m wrong when a) I know I’m not, and b) I know my portfolio.

            I’m also not a great fan of being deliberately misrepresented by people who don’t know me, and who have chosen not to look at the details of what we’re trying to do here.

            Leaving aside the fact that people in general deserve homes, these properties immediately provide revenue for us to purchase other properties for our general portfolio, and also come back into that portfolio in three years.

            So not only are they providing a great good, they are also providing further housing, and will continue to provide local housing in perpetuity.

        • Yet , you don’t have the good grace to accept the data on evictions provided by the Ministry of Justice or the data on tenant satisfaction from the English Housing Survey, you refuted both despite the information being from reliable sources.
          So , in some instances ,yes you are wrong and perhaps don’t know your portfolio as well as you believe.
          Just as TDC has a pretty poor record on compliance, the EKH issues with gas safety ( a convenient scapegoat until it’s realised TDC was a part owner) and that TDC still has housing that doesn’t comply with the 2005 fire safety order act.
          Without doubt the private rented sector has it’s issues , but equally the social sector is far from perfect , this should be honestly accepted.

          • Dear Fate Amenable To Change;

            If you provide outdated data, and I provide the up to date data, from the same statistical source, and the data I provide proves my point, not yours; I am not wrong.

            Equally if you choose to ignore the difficulties in clear statistical analysis across two entirely different forms of housing provision, one which includes comprehensive statistical analysis and transparency (social housing) and one which doesn’t (private housing), there is absolutely nothing I can do about that, other than continue to point out that accurately measuring issues within the private market will be impossible until we have comparative systems of analysis. Private landlords are not held to the same requirements in terms of data analysis or recording, or property repair; and it is left to Councils to enforce that.

            That doesn’t mean that there aren’t good private landlords, who do provide high quality accommodation.

            It does mean that it is absolutely impossible to directly compare two entirely different forms of housing provision.

          • Choosing to look at just a tiny quarter period as against the 20 plus period of data from the ministry of justice, is a touch disengenous especially given that historically the social sector has consistently evicted more people and that the current rise in the private sector is largely the result of landlords choosing to exit the sector as a result of the direction of travel on tax and legislation along with the absurdity that residential letting is considered an investment activity rather than a business for tax purposes ( which would be fair enough for hands off landlords but for those for whom it’s a full time job and do everything they can is hardly justifiable) choosing a period that includes that spike without explanation is again a little misleading.
            Are you saying the English Housing survey is incorrect in terms of tenant satisfaction?
            Private landlords as you know are subject to a huge amount of legislation, it’s for councils to enforce it, that TDC is very selective on what it chooses to act on , this only allows the rogue/criminal element to thrive, which is in some ways conveneient as it allows the whole of the private sector to be acted against for the failings of the few. Which would be all very well if the social sector was similarly treated for its failings.
            As you point out the two sectors are entirely different , which makes your comments about soaring rents and evictions a little out of context , tax treatment alone makes a huge difference the costs of each sector, plus a considerable portion of social housing stock has been bought and paid for decades ago , yet under the decent homes standard the sector still needed 40 billion plus of taxpayer subsidy to bring the housing upto standard. And as the recent articles show TDC is in receipt of more grant funding.
            Will TDC choose not increase rents on the new properties to the upcoming increased LHA rates? The council has shown that they can make the numbers work on existing rates so is there a need to extract more from the exchequer? And if those rates are deemed suitable for the tenants of newly purchased properties , why is there no pressure on government to allow them to be applied to the cpuncils older more traditional stock? This would surely mean that greater surpluses would accrue for futher purchase/builds.

  4. The Thatcher government stole millions of homes across the U.K. that had been paid for by taxpayers. Those homes were sold of at below the market value. The net result was councils were robbed of £ billions of assets and rental income and those on the waiting lists were discarded like rubbish hence the housing market has never recovered and the homeless list became longer and longer
    but at least Thatcher had bribed the voters for her election.

    • But no Labour government reversed the policy. That’s not saying I agree with it as I am totally opposed to council houses being sold off.

      • They wouldn’t dare. A lot of voters around retirement age are reaping the benefits of Margaret Thatcher’s policy, including many friends of mine.

    • Just as Gordon Brown tried to buy votes with the creation of LHA and Hunt has just done by announcing a readjustment to LHA next year ( no doubt it’ll be paid out just before an election) , for those on benefits in 2 bed properties it’s likely to be an increase of around £1800 a year (tax free) ,
      A couple 40/38 with 2 kids 10/12 living in a cliftonville flat with no disabilities and totally reliant on benefits will currently receive £447 a week in benefits ( from entitledto.com) so £23,244 this will increase by 6.7% next year plus the uplift in LHA so a total likely income after April of £26,600 , by no means a kings ransom but when you add on the other extras triggered by the benefits dental, prescriptions, school meals etc, hardly a pittance. Those happy to do cash in hand work on the side ( way more common than most believe) have a pretty comfortable lifestyle that equates to an effective pre tax salary of over £40k
      How many workers in thanet will be receiving a 6.7% plus 1800 post tax increase in their take home pay next april.
      It’s why in far too many areas playing the system is often a sensible lifestyle choice. Manage to get yourself into social housing and there is pretty much no incentive to work ( not that it makes you any better off financially) but there’s very little incentive to improve your lot.

  5. the corruption of the tories will haunt us for years , and has done already ,interesting point about who will get 40% of the house allocation ? people wash up here and are given everything , you cannot even get into australia with mud on your shoes ! we need to take a leaf out of thier book

    • Dear Chris; only if you deliberately ignore the fact that this is part of a much larger delivery programme that has already produced or acquired 92 homes, and the fact that the properties provided via the Local Authority Housing Fund are already producing other properties.

    • Chris and Real world, your totally wrong, thousands of Asylum Seekers, and Refugees are being threatened with eviction by this Tory government, if you go to the Refugee Council website you will see an appeal for them who will be destitute, after being thrown out on the street!

  6. Good news. Should gave been done years ago but better late than never. Council housing is a no-brainer. Good quality housing at a reasonable rent – speak to the tenants in the very small number of new build properties in Broadstairs. They dalk like they have won the lottery. Only real demand is .ORE, NOW!, We are getting there but at least this is a good start

    • Dear Keith,

      We’re at 92 produced or acquired now, in six months; that’s over a tenfold increase in previous production, which I’m very proud of considering our size and comparative funding. Housing are working incredibly hard.

    • Well that’s because they have won the lottery, a lifelong tenancy with total repairs and maintenance included, at a huge discount to the real cost and all subsidised by the tax payer.
      65% of social housing is occupied by benefit claimants costing the country 20 billion a year. ( that’s a national figure , i don’t know the numbers for thanet) Is it really a sustainable housing model?
      Traditional council housing prior to 1977 was generally given to working households , under that model it was self sustaining / financing.

  7. Excellent news – keep buying, you’ve a long way to go yet.
    Thatcher should have been crucified for selling them all off, we are all paying for her mistakes over three decades later, Just as we will from this Tory muppet show.

    • Thank you.

      We’re at 92 produced or acquired now in six months, as well as having two more in house temporary accommodation projects planned, and our first Council owned rough sleeping accommodation established; I’m very proud of Housing and how hard everyone is working on this.

  8. Helen you will never please everyone. You can only do your best with what you have got. The London mayor has just asked the government for 470million to build houses in London. Watch this space.

  9. The original question by thanetian blind was 10 homes and 4 going to Ukraine and Afghan that equals 40%. No bigger picture no hidden tricks just wanted a straight answer,, which is YES…
    Not much to ask but still unable to do so.

    • Chris; you may not want there to be a bigger picture, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, and it also doesn’t mean that you don’t need to see that bigger picture to understand what is being done here.

  10. This is far too little far too late, this should not be the gift of a local authority specifically not a wealthy one but should be the Westminster government’s responsibility. They have not invested in the creation of new council housing following selling stock off since to 80s, what did government do with the millions they recieved from the sell off.

    • My last reply seems to have been deleted, please see my 5:34 post which gives a bit more detail from the article you’ve provided a link to.
      As further reading will show, evvictions from social housing has been greater than that from private rented housing in the period since 1999 according to the Ministry of Justice.
      In the first quarter of 2020 social landlords evicted more than 3 times the number the private sector did.

      The 2020/1 english housing survey reported significantly greater tenant satisfaction within the private rented sector than the social sector.

      • My apologies the data i quote above was from a different Inside Housing article, however for balance within the article linked to

        Before the pandemic, social landlords represented 60% of all eviction proceedings, while now they represent 33%.

  11. Since covid greed has taken over . Any opportunity to charge more for anything has become the norm. Something happens on the otherside of the world and we pay the price for it.

  12. It was nice to read some well-reasoned arguments from some of the contributors. Unfortunately the string was somewhat spoiled by the utterances of Thanetian Blind, who cannot wait to air their xenophobic views whether it’s housing, benefit claimants,or even the RNLI that are in the news.

    • Xenophobic ? I don’t think so. I was quoting figures from the article and asking how long the Afghans and Ukrainians are allowed to stay in these houses.

      The long term consideration is if resettled people from these countries are then allowed to reside in the UK on a permanent basis then presumably they can carry on living in these houses and they won’t then be freed up for local people with housing needs. Let’s face it, Ukraine is bound to grind on for years. Putin seems happy to wait it out until the West get fed up of supporting the war effort. The Taliban aren’t going to lose grip of power in Afghanistan so it will never be safe for those people to go back home.

      You can question housing and immigration policy without being racist and xenophobic you know.

      • The people calling you racist, Xenophobic etc. do so because they’re unable/unwilling to debate the subject in an objective manner and therefore have lost their argument.

  13. Dear Fate Amenable To Change;

    Considering that you are accusing me of being disingenuous by using up to date data, but are still choosing to use a single recorded measure to try and sum up two very different forms of housing, here are other, arguably far more relevant points, from the same Housing survey that you would like me to use; 2020/21.

    “Social renters are less likely to live in non-decent homes.”

    “Social rented homes are more likely to have damp (4%) than owner occupied homes (2%) but less likely than private rented homes (11%).”

    “In 2021-22, 3.5 million (14%) households were living in non-decent housing. Both local authority (9%) and housing association (10%) renters were the least likely to live in non-decent homes when compared with owner occupiers (13%), and private renters (23%)”

    “In 2021-22 10% (2.3 million) of all households in England lived with at least one Category 1 hazard. Local authority and housing association renters (both 4%) were less likely to be living in homes with Category 1 hazards than owner occupiers (10%) and private renters (14%)”

    “In 2021, the mean SAP rating in the homes of all households was 66. Social renters had a higher average rating (70 points) than owner occupiers (66) and private renters (65)”

    “Reflecting the higher energy efficiency within the social stock, around two thirds of social renters lived in homes with bands A to C in 2021 (69%) compared with less than half of private renters (44%) and owner occupiers (43%). Social renters were less likely to live in homes with an EER band of E to G (3%) than private renters (14%)”.

    If you’d like to discuss things further, I run a surgery every Thursday; you’re more than welcome to attend.

    All the best,

    Helen.

    • My issue with your data regarding evictions is the choosing of a snapshot in a 20 plus year data set. At one point one of the articles stated that social housing evictions ran at 60% of the total.

      As for your other statistics i find the 23% living in a non decent home hard to believe , but in the absence of knowing the definition for non decent used in the survey i’ll have to accept it. All the statistics however are presented as “ likely” and so unlike the MOJ data and the tenant satisfaction data is not definitive .
      In TDC original selective licensing consultation document it was stated that it was estimated that 58-‘85% of properties in the selective licensing area had Class 1 hazards under HHSRS, none of the published reports for the scheme came anywhere close to confirming this.
      Does overcrowding fall under the definition of “ non decent”? If so are there figures for where this is due to natural family growth or is tenant instigated , as against poor landlords knowingly granting tenancies that are overcrowded.
      The figures you quote for the various deficiencies are unaceptable ( with the exception of the energy efficency stats , so long as the properties come to the legal standard , it is acceptable on that measure, but as you are no doubt aware the legislation in that area was a complete mess initially as it was linked to the green deal and so unenforceable when it was closed, until the legislation was updated) but how many actual properties are covered by those deficiencies, ie, how many have multiple areas of concern? How many of the cases are a result of tenants lifestyles , the things i’ve seen over the years in cliftonville are hardly credible.
      Enforcing standards is the job of local councils, it’s not hard to spot properties that are likely to have issues, how many do TDC act on ?
      In the absence of enforcement it makes things easy for the rogue landlords to flourish , the case in athelstan road that took over a decade to bring to court suggests there are problems within the system somewhere and makes a mockery of selective licensing which covered the building for 10 years.

      Unfortunately things are likely to get worse given the levels of inward migration released today and the countries seeming inability to build homes fast enough, despite the nigh on continuous development along the M2 down the thanet way and across thanet itself.
      It’ll ne interesting to hear what labour proposes to do about things in their manifesto and how they go about fulfilling them once they have the power to do so.

  14. Telling everybody that they are wrong is a sure way of losing your job and I hope the labour party will look into your behaviour and remove you from service. Many votes lost for your party I see coming up in the bigger picture

    • If the cap fits, wear it.
      The Cllr has used the same resource that you did in presenting her argument.
      It really is quite childish to throw your toys out of the pram.

    • Chris; to be clear, you want Labour to remove me for being a) truthful and b) honest?

      I don’t see either of those as negative “behaviour”; but you’re welcome to report me to Standards.

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