Affordable housing for local people

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Plans to increase the amount of affordable housing available for local people will be discussed next week.

Swale Borough Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve measures to meet the demand for affordable homes at a meeting next week.

An initial proposal being considered is to use council-owned land in Sittingbourne town centre, possibly selling it to registered social housing providers to include affordable housing.

Cllr Roger Truelove, leader of the council, said:

“We are looking at making use of Cockleshell Walk, Fountain Street and the Old Bus Depot.

“The crucial difference would be that unlike the Spirit of Sittingbourne plans, we would be focusing on local need, the need for quality affordable homes and at a much lower density than previously planned.

“Carefully planned development on this land will make the town centre and its retail offer, more viable in difficult times.”

The council would also work to set up a wholly owned housing company to deliver more affordable homes. This would allow the council to develop, buy and manage properties, and offers greater influence and control of developments, as well as a financial return which would fund future projects.

Cllr Ben Martin, cabinet member for housing at the council, said:

“Affordable housing is in short supply across Swale, and the developments we are seeing coming through the planning systems aren’t filling the gap.

“Too many local people are being priced out of the housing market, and we want to try to give them a realistic option of finding a home.

“This administration is committed to delivering more affordable homes, and we want a borough wide approach to meet our ambitions.”

Cllr Ghlin Whelan, deputy cabinet member for housing at the council, said:

“Developers don’t have a great track record of delivering affordable homes locally, and whilst we’re hoping to see that pick up in the next few years, there is still a long way to go.

“By using the land we hold, we’ve can have more say on what is built there, and we can make sure it is built to benefit local people, not to make profits for developers.”

For more information visit the cabinet agenda page.


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