Thanet Cabinet members expected to agree purchase of 24 homes in Minster for council housing


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].


    • not really – this ‘chunk’ of houses had to be sold to either a housing association or a council providing for local residents in the area where the houses are built – housing associations are no longer keen on taking smaller blocks (less than 100) of properties (as per quote in the article) and so if TDC had been unable to take them then Barratts would have had to get legal permission to sell them to another interested council from outside of Thanet

  1. As council house tenants can purchase after 3 years, I wonder if any of these homes will still belong to TDC after 15 years. And if they are sold would the price paid even cover the cost of purchase by TCC? It is time that legislation is changed so council houses cannot be sold and definitely not at below market value.

    • To be offered a council property you need to be in pretty dire straits and currently over 65% of so ial housing is tenanted by households dependent on benefits , so the chances of many of the new tenants being able to suddenly find decent jobs and save enough for the deposit is a bit unlikely.

      Quite where will TDC conjure up 3.2 million from. No doubt some will be grants from central gov. The rest will need to be borrowed from somewhere . So say 25% is grants/cash in bank, leaves 2.4 million borrowed at a conservative 5% so 120k a year in interest plus capital repayments, rental income at current lha rates for all the properties will be 170k a year , seems a bit optimistic for this to cover all the running/maintenance/ legislative costs AND “break even” inside 15 years , though quite what break even rally means in this context probably needs defining.

      • Good news – another small step in the correct direction. Let’s hope the new Labour Government elected in six mohnths time abolishes once and for all the con job that is RTB

    • The same thought was going through my head Jane, people buying council property after 3 years at a huge discount caused the imbalance of rents and property sales that exists today, thank you M. Thatcher!

        • Yup Ms Pink, and caused a massive rise in homelessness, and people living in squalid bed & breakfast accommodation, well done M.Thatcher! The Tories have elected 3 female Prime Ministers, and sacked all 3 in office, including Thatcher!

          • Labour are still stuck in the ’50s, having nothing but white male leaders. Not the party for a modern woman like me!

  2. I feel for the young couple who have worked hard for years to build a deposit and pay a mortgage to buy one of these new homes only to find living next door council tenants paying the rent with housing benefit found by said council. They must say to themselves why have I bothered when I could have got it anyway by not bothering to get up in the morning.

  3. It’s always been hard to save for a deposit be it 60 70 80 ect my 1st house I bought I needed a deposit of 1470 . Doesn’t sound a lot in today world but I was only taking home 42 £ a week.

    • 20 years ago, the average house cost c3 x avg annual salary.
      Now a the average house costs c11 x avg annual salary.
      Houses are less affordable now to first time buyers than at any other point since the war.

  4. As buying a home has become unaffordable , and the ridiculous house prices are ( if market forces are allowed to operate free from Government interference ) due to collapse to a realistic value, it would be prudent to do nowt until the inevitable slump occurs. The supply is vast and the affordability is near zilch recently

    • Why doesn’t or can’t the council buy n build an whole estate at cost ( surely there’s a grant), from homebuilders ( tax rebate for them). Would be better to have a couple of hundred house’s ( bulk buying) then the odd 20/30. Also built with never being able to sell on. It worked in the past so why not now

  5. TDC have already received large funding from government. If they had any foresight or business sense they should have borrowed when interest rates were at there lowest and fixed the rate to build council houses. I wonder what they are paying the developer for these. It would have been far cheaper to employ their own craftsmen and give apprenticeships to train youngsters to build the house. No brains in Thanet of course and no brown envelope from the developer!

    • There’s no way the council has the wit or ability to build on any real scale, they’ll be reliant on contractors doing it all for them at whatever the going rate is. The only advantage TDC will have is when it can find bits of land that it already owns for development.
      You’ve only to look at some of the bills TDC gets for maintaing its current stock to see that there’s really no proper cost control, the days of a council having a decent “clerk of works” department that runs things is long gone.
      So long as the housing is truly self financing through grants from central gov and the rental income from the estate as a whole all well and good, but this should include the full costs of the social housing staff within the council including pensions, in addition whilst using land for decelopmemt from within the current council housing estate is perfectly sensible there needs to be full and proper payment for transfers of land from other departmwnts within TDC to social housing , as in the case previously reported for 27 homes at Jackie Bakers. Such land should be bought at the correct market rate and the money used to support other services. Ie in the case of JB’rs the money goes towards the provision of a new pavillion.
      Robbing Peter to give to Paul is only going to make us all worse off with fewer assets, in order to give a lottery win to very few.

    • TDC didn’t borrow when it was cheaper because that’s when the Conservatives were in control of the council and they didn’t come up with the idea of buying more council houses – the plans to increase council housing by at least 400 properties over 4 years has only come about since Labour took control in May

      the price being paid to the developer is in the article (but they only sold to TDC as a ‘last resort’ because none of the housing associations wanted only 24 properties, so presumably the developer also hoped to get more money out of the housing associations)

    • Thanet didn’t borrow to buy these houses when interest rates were lower because bringing down the number of people in housing need was not on the Conservative administration’s list of priorities.
      The Labour administration is funding these houses by borrowing at preferential rates.

  6. Just imagine you have paid market rate for your new home . Next door is rented to a family that after a few years . They can buy there rented home at a discounted price now wouldn’t that piss you off. Social housing must never be sold off . Your just creating the whole mess again .

    • In reality it might be better for it to be sold to an owner occupier, there would then likely be a greater degree of “pride of ownership” it be better maintained and kept looking good, fewer issues with antisocial behaviour etc.

      The idea of the social / affordable component of new developments is to create more balanced communities ( ie avoid creating new sink estates) but this is an idea created by people who can afford to live in areas that are very inlikely to have social housing as neighbours. The notion that there is a reason that most people don’t want to live in the middle of social housing ( often for good reason) seems to escape them.
      It’s because people won’t choose to live on such estates that landlords have bought ex right to buy properties , purely because no one else wanted them. A real world example of normal people making the decisions they do.
      The real beneficiary of right to buy is the tenant that initially bought it, for many it will have presented the best chance of social mobility ever offered to them.
      It should not be forgotten that as well as being a bribe to those in social housing the idea was also to try and rebalance social housing developments and have a better mix of socio economic groups represented , this a response to the changes in social housing allocation that occurred in the late 70’s and housing then allocated on a needs based basis rather than being for those who were most likely to be able to pay their own rents from earned incomes.
      The post war council estates that everyone harks back to were very different in terms of the people living there to what they are today.

  7. It’s great to see TDC now under Labour control doing a great job trying to fix our major housing problems in Thanet.
    All I can say is well done guys.
    Thatcher caused this decades ago nationwide selling them all off and never replacing them and now the working class are homeless putting unbelievable stress on all local council housing departments, splitting up local families.
    It also doesn’t help living in a coastal area where rich outsiders, DFL’s buy up endless housing to rent out for AirBnB or have as second homes/holiday homes & then try and rent them out short term over the winter for temporary 3 months for silly money, money grabbing investments at a cost to the local communities, Broadstairs has been totally taken over by them with many locals having to find accommodation out of the area away for family & lifelong friends exactly what you don’t need in later life.
    Whitstable many years back now Broadstairs these past few years – next will be Ramsgate with Margate almost there with the Artyfarty types wanting to invest there with it’s history of Turner and now the wonderful Ms Emin even Banksy wanted to get onto the showboat – Got no money? then we have no place for you here in Thanet, move on you low-lives and we really don’t care where attitude.

  8. Why doesn’t TDC spend the money on cleaning the streets? Because it would be against the law to do so, apart from anything else. It is unlawful to borrow for revenue spending (day to day activities) and the cost of borrowing for capital spending on social housing is ringfenced to the housing revenue account, that is, repaid from future rents.

    The council is planning to build homes on its own land, but if it bought land and built on that it would have to secure grant funding for the 40% discount (in this case secured from the developer through the section 106 agreement) and the calculation wouldn’t then stack up.

  9. “Kentish Man” is surely being ironic. Thatcher’s legacy has caused immense damage. Not just in the loss of thousands of council homes. There was and is nothing to admire in Thatcher’s government.

    • At least she was a born leader who commanded worldwide respect for many years. The sad truth is that – Right to buy – Help to Buy – Shared Ownership – Stamp Duty Holiday- Interest Only mortgages – equity release etc etc have all conspired to prop up property prices . The prices asked today for quickly thrown up timber frame , energy efficient , small homes are now astronomical and beyond most local peoples affordability . Without those schemes and left to market forces , I am sure prices would be 33% or more less . Demand will always be there but the affordability is beyond most local residents reach

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