Thanet council Cabinet members are expected to approve the purchase of 24 homes in Minster to be added to the council’s housing stock and let at rents that do not exceed the Local Housing Allowance rate.
The council was contacted by BDW Barratt, which is heading up a 214 home development at Tothill Street, after the firm failed to find a housing provider to take the properties on.
The properties will be bought as part of Thanet council’s programme to provide 400 new affordable homes by 2027. The homes agreed for that programme since July currently stands at 92.
The cost of the 24 properties, consisting of 8 one-bed homes and 16 two-bed homes, will be £3.2m plus £50,000 for associated fees. Thanet council says it will break even on those costs, through rental income, by year 15.
The properties are to be rented to those on the council’s housing list or in temporary accommodation when they are built.
Work on the first phase of the Tothill scheme is due to start at the beginning of next year and will take an estimated 12 months to complete.
Ashley Jackson, Head of Housing and Planning, told members of the scrutiny committee last month that most registered providers [housing associations] were not taking on deals of less than 100-homes as Homes England grants could not be gained for small sites. She said developers asked Thanet council to purchase properties as “a last resort.”
;During the meeting Green councillor Mike Garner queried why there were only 24 social rent homes when the planning committee had previously agreed 28 with a further 12 shared ownership properties to make up the required 30% for affordable housing.
He said: “Since planning consent was given in June where we agreed 28 for rent, that’s been turned into 24 so we have lost four affordable homes for rent.”
Following planning consent the affordable housing units were later reduced to 24 and 16 are now set aside for shared ownership. These changes will be reviewed by the council.
Outline planning permission for the 214 home scheme was granted permission in September 2021 despite councillors’ concerns over traffic, school places, adequate medical facilities, Southern Water capacity and the number of houses on the site.
A reserved matters application for the first phase of 133 homes was approved in June this year.
The land on the west side of Tothill Street, Minster, is owned by St. John’s College Cambridge and Spanton Farms Limited. The site is on a Special Protection Zone.
Other homes agreed for purchase by Thanet council are at sites including Reading Street, Westwood and Spitfire Green.
Cabinet members will discuss the homes purchase at a meeting on Thursday [December 14].