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Council reaffirms ambition to deliver up to 350 social homes for Colchester residents

Cabinet restated the aim while backing plans supporting the transfer of council-owned land

Date issued: 6 June 2019

The ambition to deliver up to 350 new affordable homes for local people on Colchester Borough Council’s housing waiting list over the next five years has been reaffirmed by councillors.

Last night’s (Wednesday) meeting of the council’s Cabinet restated the aim while backing plans supporting the transfer of council-owned land in Creffield Road to Colchester Amphora Homes Limited (CAHL) – the council’s wholly owned housing company – to develop.

The council’s ambitious plans include:

  • CAHL delivering 100 affordable homes as part of developments totalling 300 homes across sites at Creffield Road, Military Road, Mill Road and St Runwald Street;
  • building around 35 new homes on former garage sites – expanding on the 34 affordable homes delivered on former garage sites in 2014;
  • buying back up to 50 properties across five years using the Right to Buy clauses on former council homes and a further 100 over five years on the open market;
  • looking at alternative ways of delivering social housing

It is also seeking to borrow up to £75m over five years to support the delivery of these much-needed homes. This has been made possible by the Government scrapping its one per cent rent reduction which has been in place since 2015, as well as removing a previously imposed “debt cap” so that councils can once again borrow funds to build affordable homes.

Councillor Adam Fox, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “It is no secret there is a dire need for more affordable homes across the country. However, while we have had the desire to deliver them in Colchester, we have been hamstrung for years by a variety of Government policies and procedures.

“Now we can drive forward our ambitious commitment to deliver the affordable homes our residents need and want, by building on the partnerships we have through Colchester Borough Homes and our housing company CAHL.

“This is fantastic news for our residents and for supporting the future of Colchester.” 

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