TOP Thurrock councillors took the final step towards creating a wholly owned company to lead home building in the borough when they met on Wednesday (19 March) evening.
The council’s cabinet agreed to approve the final business case for Gloriana Thurrock Ltd.
Council Leader, Cllr John Kent, said: “We all know Thurrock’s house building is stalling while at the same time prices are going up – simple supply and demand, you might say.
“But if we approve this item here and now tonight we can make a difference and make a difference now.
“For too long local authorities have been forbidden from intervening in the housing market; unable to build council homes and unable to influence the prices of homes in their area.
“That has meant there is a long waiting list for council homes and thousands of young people who cannot afford to buy their own home.”
He said: “Our housing department is starting work on building significant numbers of new council homes and Gloriana specifically tackles that last group. It will build homes for rent – and sale; and it will build homes local people can afford to live in.
“Obviously this cannot happen overnight, but if we give permission here and now then work can start quickly and we can start making a difference.”
He said that the company would be “directly building homes, directly creating jobs, and directly showing developers how it makes sense to build here”, adding:
“There are around 8,000 outstanding planning permissions for homes in Thurrock that have not been started.
“The average home in the borough is £180,000 – that means there’s £1½ billion worth of housing waiting on drawing boards in architects’ offices or locked away in the developers’ drawers.
“Gloriana will unlock those plans; Gloriana will help move those plans off the boards and out of the offices. Gloriana will launch Thurrock’s house-building.”
Cllr Kent said: “We have looked very carefully at this model and are as sure as we can be that carefully borrowing money is affordable and, more than that, will provide a small return for the council.
“This is a unique proposal which is being watched carefully by others across the country.
“It is financed by the council prudentially borrowing funds, selling the land to Gloriana at the going rate, and getting equity in the company. All returns and profits go back to council.
“Gloriana will not physically build the homes, but employ a construction firm for that, creating local jobs and we are looking at our allocations policy so we can ensure homes for local people are the priority.”
He explained that members were also agreeing that the first site would be the former St Chad’s School in Tilbury, which “has been hanging over this council for many years; a site that has become an eyesore and a magnet for anti-social behaviour and – of late – an illegal traveller encampment”.
“So let’s not delay further. Let’s give Gloriana the go-ahead here tonight so that in a year’s time we can say these new homes are the best, the most ecologically-friendly, homes Tilbury has ever seen.
“The sooner Gloriana can start work the better.”
I think it’s welcome that the council has finally started to think about building more council houses. I’ve worked on a number of regeneration schemes already and what I find shocking is that Thurrock Council will be three years behind other councils by the time they get started. I can only assume that they are holding back in the hope that the Labour party win next years general election and they can claim it as a success story for the Labour party. Everybody will know that’s total rubbish but you can see the soundbites from sister Polly now. Labour, on the side of the poor people again. Forget they’re making the poor people wait for three years though.
Build more homes = more children = more school places.
Either expand current schools or build a new school.
Building new school a bit of a problem as built housing estate on St Chads site!
“It is financed by the council prudentially borrowing funds, selling the land to Gloriana at the going rate, and getting equity in the company. All returns and profits go back to council.”
Of course, if it all goes wrong (It’s Labour run so it has a good chance of failing!) it’s us Council Tax payers who will have to cough up.
” the most ecologically-friendly, homes Tilbury has ever seen.” No comment really, it’s just the funniest thing I have read for a while!
The Council sells the land to itself by borrowing money and gets equity in the company it created. Sounds like a pyramid selling scheme!
At least the Labour run council are trying to do something about it as opposed, to the Tories that do nothing, you can’t have it both ways
Superman have you just woke up from a coma?
Superman – it was the Conservatives that started the Council house building programme in Thurrock. It was an initiative from the then Conservative Leader Garry Hague. If I recall Labour did everything they could to derail and delay it. It is the current Government that reformed the Housing Revenue Account system that allowed Local Authorities to invest in building new Council homes. 13 years of Labour and they did nothing.
So your statement is incorrect.
I’m sure the people of Tilbury are craving ecologically friendly houses.
I would like to put you in a coma but as that is your normal state want can i say
Hhhm. I don’t think that St Chad’s is the best place for Gloriana to start. The Council’s ‘wantaway’ Chief Exec has spent the past several years publicly berating his staff because they couldn’t sell the site to the private sector. Even at a 90% discount there were no takers because the area is prone to flooding. If the Council is going to build houses there they’ll need to spend a lot of money making sure the homes are flood proof. Fingers crossed!
Superman if I was in a coma I would still have more cognitive activity than you have on a normal day, whatever a normal day may be for you. You have seriously made a comment that it’s down to Labour that council houses will be built. It’s a ludicrous claim dreamed up in the world of Superman.
I’m beginning to think that you a rocket1 are one and the same. You’re abusive and aggressive to anyone that disagree’s with your comments.