Housing revolution bringing hundreds of council houses and affordable homes proposed for South Tyneside
A housing revolution creating hundreds of new council houses and affordable homes has been proposed for South Tyneside.
Council chiefs are meeting next week to approve the construction of at least 250 new homes for rent as well as hundreds more affordable homes in the borough.
South Tyneside Council’s ruling cabinet is being asked to approve the first council houses to be built in a decade in the borough following changes to the cap on council borrowing limits and grant funding conditions.
Subject to approval from council chiefs, the homes would be built over the next five years with sites already identified for ‘phase one.’
This includes six two-bedroom houses at a site at Henderson Road, South Shields and four two-bedroom apartments, three two-bedroom houses and three two-bedroom bungalows at Hindmarch Drive, Boldon.
South Tyneside Homes would carry out the construction works and manage the developments on behalf of the council.
Councillor Mark Walsh, the council’s lead member for housing and transport, welcomed the proposals.
“It’s exciting to think that a century after we first started building council homes in South Tyneside, we could be doing so again,” he said.
“It’s important that there is a good choice of homes to rent in the borough and these new developments would provide modern, affordable properties that people would be proud to live in.
“Housing is about more than just bricks and mortar; people’s lives can be enhanced by good quality housing in sustainable communities.”
He added: “We’re committed to meeting the housing needs and aspirations of local people, now and in the future, which is why we are proactive about developing homes across all tenures.”
“That is where the council can use its land and borrowing power to fill the gap and ensure we meet our government-set house building targets.
The council housing programme will be funded through the local authority’s housing revenue account, following the easing of restrictions, and will be supported by some external funding.
Alongside council housing, South Tyneside Council’s cabinet will also be asked to back other housing commitments for the next five years.
This includes building up to 200 new homes for sale in the borough through Centaurea Homes – a company that was set up by the council to identify and develop sites that big housebuilders have shunned.
The company plans to appraise further sites for housing following the success of the firm’s development Langdale Grange in Jarrow, with profits from land sales reinvested into council priorities rather than being lost to private companies.
Cabinet will also be recommended to agree to an approach to building specialist housing for some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents.
Subject to cabinet approval, South Tyneside Housing Ventures Trust (STHVT), which has provided 440 affordable homes over the last five years, would deliver at least 350 specialist homes to support the council’s Adult Social Care Accommodation Strategy.
The council will provide land and loan finance to support the independent not-for-profit company and ensure that the right types of homes are provided for all communities in the borough.
The first projects include specialist and supported accommodation at the site of the former Father James Walsh Centre, Hedgley Road, Hebburn and the site of the former Nolan Hall at Concorde Way in Jarrow.
Extra care accommodation is also planned at a site in Hebburn Town Centre and land off Dean Road in South Shields.
According to a cabinet report, a nominations agreement would be put in place with STHVT to “ensure eligible local residents receive priority.”
The five-year programme for council housing, specialist accommodation and homes for sale will seek to use local supply chain and businesses to maximise local employment and training opportunities, including apprenticeships.
If approved, it would also aim to improve standards in new build housing, from higher space standards to trialling new technology in line with the council’s climate change objectives.
Cllr Walsh said the five-year plan represented a “huge commitment by the council to providing good-quality housing meeting a variety of needs across the whole of the borough.”
He added:”It’s recognising that we have got a population who are getting older, who have some specific needs and we have got a general population.
“We want to attract people into the borough so hence Centaurea Homes with the ability to get onto the housing ladder to get a really good high-quality property.
“And then to deliver our council house building for the first time in around 10 years, to make sure that people who do need to have social housing with social rent can genuinely access it.
“And importantly for people who do have complex needs, we will provide them with high-quality accommodation with that necessary support around them so they can stay within their local communities.”
The housing plans will be discussed by cabinet on Wednesday, March 17.
The meeting starts at 4pm and will be broadcast on the council’s YouTube channel.