Friday, July 15, 2016

News: Council investing £1.5m in housing

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Rotherham Council is set to invest millions in buying property - from new build houses on the Waverley development to a run-down row of empty properties in Maltby.

Plans were put forward in 2013 for Rotherham Council to have an "enabling and entrepreneurial role" in stimulating local housing growth, backed with a £30m war chest to boost house building and the construction industry.

A shake up of council funding and reduced budgets has seen a significant revision of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan, reducing the capital resources available for new homes.

With a strong demand for social housing the Council has negotiated with a number of house builders to purchase properties on new estates that can then be rented to tenants.

The latest deals include a £1.2m deal to purchase 12 properties from developers Barratt and David Wilson Homes at the £100m Waverley development.

Approved in 2010, the largest, most complex, planning application ever considered by Rotherham Council gave outline approval for South Yorkshire's largest ever brownfield development, creating a new 3,890 home community across 741 acres. The development on the former Orgreave colliery site is also set to have a hotel and wide range of shops, cafés, health, leisure and educational facilities.

With 500 houses on site, plans are being brought forward for a new school and local centre. Harron Homes has recently submitted a detailed planning application for 105 more homes under phase 1I.

The Council is purchasing houses on Phase 1D which includes 54 homes and 1E which includes 126 dwellings, including the first apartments on the site (cgi above).

The Council is also set to buy three properties at Lindum Drive / Hall Croft in Wickersley in a £293,000 deal with Redrow Homes.

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A council report stated: "The strategic acquisitions of new properties supported the aims of the Housing Strategy and increasing the council's housing stock would ensure that high quality social housing was available to those who needed it and would avoid the polarisation of communities, as the properties in question were located on private housing estates."

At Maltby, the Council plans to buy 24 long-term derelict properties to refurbish and let as Council homes on the "Little London" estate. The properties are of a non-standard construction and are empty, attracting anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.

Cllr. Dominic Beck, Cabinet Member for Housing and Neighbourhoods at Rotherham Council, said: "Although some investment is being made to individual empty properties, we need to help them realise their full potential to bring about their refurbishment so they are suitable for private letting. The landlord has responded late to our enforcement activity aimed to keep the properties maintained in a good condition for the benefit of residents. We have no reason to believe that this will change in the future.

"By beginning these negotiations, we are setting out a clear direction and action plan to tackle these properties that are frankly an eyesore and a blight on the local landscape, to improve the local environment while at the same time adding to the council housing stock and adding to the housing options available across the estate."

Images: Barratt Homes / JRP Architecture

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