Homes that could not be sold look set to be bought by city council
NINE new houses in Derby look set to be bought by the city council after a developer failed to sell them.
And council leader Paul Bayliss says the authority will "look at any reasonable offer in terms of housing" as it looks to combat the city's "genuine shortage of homes".
He says the city centre properties, in Webster Street, could be turned into a supported housing scheme but that a final decision had not been made.
A council spokeswoman said there were a number of details that could not yet be revealed for commercial reasons, including the value and exact addresses of the homes and details of the developer.
But she said: "The housing development team has confirmed that it is in negotiations over the purchase of nine new-build, fully completed, two-bedroom town houses close to the city centre. The dwellings are of a high quality and are energy-efficient.
"The council hopes to be in a position to confirm the purchase and further details by the end of March."
Mr Bayliss said that having more two-bedroom properties would help the council "minimise the impact of the Government's bedroom tax".
From April, people in social housing with one spare bedroom will face 14% reductions in their weekly housing benefit, rising to 25% for two or more spare bedrooms.
The under-occupation penalty aims to encourage households to downsize if they have spare rooms, freeing up their homes for larger families.
A YMCA Derbyshire spokesman said his organisation would welcome the homes becoming low-cost social housing.
He said: "As the new bedroom tax and welfare changes take effect, it will be more difficult than ever for young people to find suitable accommodation."
A spokesman for the Local Government Association, the national group that represents councils, said it was not aware of such a purchase being made by other authorities but that this did not mean it was the first instance.
Mr Bayliss said: "It's the first time we've done this and I'm not sure it's happened that often at all before."