New public sector housing focus on affordable homes

CABINET councillors last week agreed plans that will see unsuitable council-owned properties that do not meet the government’s decent homes standard either sold or demolished and new affordable homes built in their place.

Avon, Kilkenny and Longford retirement courts are among those properties earmarked for demolition and the land used to create 42 family houses.

The council says income generated by the process will help the council implement the government’s new system for funding local housing services and allow the decent homes improvement work to be completed.

Historically, housing services relied on government subsidy, but from April 2012 every council must work within a self-financing framework where the service is, for the largest part, financed through the rent paid by tenants.

Consultation with affected residents started in 2009 and has been on-going.

Residents will be given the widest possible choice of new homes to suit their needs and compensated for their moves with appropriate home loss and resettlement payments.

Cabinet portfolio holder for Housing and Community Development, Councillor Margaret Bannister, said, “The speed of change in the social housing sector has never been greater.

“The government’s new approach to funding housing services brings both challenges and opportunities.

“Above all, we must grasp the opportunity to tackle the shortage of housing and build more affordable homes for our residents.”