Council to build 300 new homes in bid to replace houses bought by tenants
THREE hundred council houses costing about £24 million are set to be built in Derby over the next three years in a bid to replace those sold to tenants at a discount.
Derby Homes, which manages Derby City Council's housing stock, expects about 300 homes to be sold through its Right to Buy scheme over the next three years.
But it says it will be able to replace these on a "more or less one to one" basis by building new houses across the city during that period.
This does not include the 17 homes already under construction in Chaddesden, but would involve one and two-bed houses, and bungalows.
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The situation in four years time looks bleaker with Derby Homes predicting it will only be able to replace about half of the housing stock sold.
David Enticott, the organisation's director and company secretary, said the three-year building plan was positive news for the city.
He said: "It may not increase the actual number of council homes available but it does mean that they will be newer.
"Under Right to Buy a lot of three-bedroom homes have gone and many will be replaced by one and two-bedroom properties.
"We need a lot of smaller homes because welfare changes mean that people receiving benefits can be penalised if they are living in properties that are too large for their needs."
Mr Enticott said about one quarter of the cash for the homes would come from cash raised from selling properties through Right to Buy.
The other three quarters would be funded through loans which would then be repaid using income from rent from tenants in the new homes.
He said the council was in the process of finding sites for the homes but that none had yet been confirmed.
Mr Enticott said: "We are looking at small pockets of land which the council already owns but we are quite flexible about that."
The Right to Buy scheme makes council house tenants legally able to purchase the homes they are living in.
In April last year, the Government introduced higher discount offers for people who want to buy their council homes.
He said the final amount received by the city council for the sale of its homes was between 35 and 70% of their value.
He said this meant the authority wouldn't be able to sustain building at the same speed after three years.
He said: "We will start slowly losing council housing stock unless the rules change further."
Derby Homes' Board is expected to support the council's house-building proposals at a meeting on Thursday.
At the same meeting, the board is also expected to support plans to increase rent for council homes by an average of 5.2% in line with Government recommendations.
This would bring the average weekly rent up to £72.05 a week. The highest average increase the city council could suggest is 9%.