Val outlines plans for 200 council homes a year

THE ways in which Thurrock Council will create 200 new council homes a year were outlined on Wednesday (12 December) evening.

Cllr Val Morris-Cook, portfolio holder for housing, told the meeting of the cabinet that “the development of an affordable housing strategy will deliver the key housing objectives for a house-building programme and estate regeneration from 2013 and the following five years”.

Speaking afterward, she said: “We can’t just conjure up new homes, we have to look carefully at available land and available funding; we have to look at where other land can be found and where new funding could come from.

“So it’s got to be a phased approach and here we’re looking at Seabrooke Rise in Grays and Bracelet Close in Corringham as well as the Calcutta Road car park in Tilbury in the first phase. Land that is available and funds that are available.

“We’ll be looking at finding sites with the most immediate development potential, analysing their capacity and viability – and making sure local people are kept fully in the loop throughout the process. This is already happening in Grays, Corringham and Tilbury.

“We have to look closely at the finance options open to us, including prudential borrowing and where the council can maximise its Housing Revenue Account resources, work with partners or use new vehicles to provide leverage.

“And we will have to consider who will be our delivery partners, who will work with us to create the new developments.”

Cllr Morris-Cook said: “This really is great in so many ways – great for the council in that we’re helping people in need, we’re actually building houses; great for the people who need new homes who will be able to bid for top-quality, environmentally-friendly and well-designed homes; and great for the whole area which will be really improved and enhanced by the new build.

“And alongside all of this – and at the same time – we are looking at our present housing stock and ways we can regenerate our estates and homes, bringing them all up to the Thurrock Decent Homes standard, a standard which leaves the national one in the shade.”

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