Hous­ing project aims to tar­get peo­ple in need

Macclesfield Express - - CHARITY ROUND-UP - STU­ART GREER

COUN­CIL chiefs are look­ing at build­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of coun­cil houses for peo­ple who can­not af­ford rents charged by so­cial land­lords.

Cheshire East Coun­cil leader Michael Jones has launched a project for those in ‘ ab­so­lute need’ such as the home­less, as well as key work­ers.

Cru­cially, the homes would also have no rightto-buy op­tion, which is at odds with gov­ern­ment pol­icy.

Coun Jones said while he be­lieved in right-to­buy, the peo­ple he was tar­get­ing were peo­ple in ab­so­lute need who can­not af­ford a mort­gage.

He said: “It has be­come clear to us that we need ab­so­lute cheap ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“The pri­vate sec­tor and the RSLs (reg­is­tered so­cial land­lords) are do­ing their bit in cer­tain ar­eas but there is a gap. We want to fill that gap.

“What we’re look­ing at is the po­ten­tial of hav­ing our own, pri­vate pos­si­bly, coun­cil-led definitely, af­ford­able hous­ing com­pany for rented ac­com­mo­da­tion with proven need.

“So I’ve asked two coun­cil­lors, Glen Wil­liams and Sam Cor­co­ran, to look at this. We’ve got ex­perts ad­vis­ing them with a plan how we do it.”

The coun­cil leader said fund­ing was avail­able for the scheme, adding: “We don’t want it to be rightto-buy be­cause we want it to be there as a safety net

rented for those need.

“That’s what we’re look­ing at. It’s about re­solv­ing our home­less­ness – we haven’t got much – and pos­si­bly some key worker staff too.”

in

ab­so­lute

If the coun­cil does go ahead with the scheme it will be the first time any hous­ing stock has been un­der its con­trol since it was formed in 2009.

It is be­lieved the stock could be man­aged by an al­ter­na­tive ser­vice de­liv­ery ve­hi­cle (ASDVs) – a coun­cil con­trolled com­pany sim­i­lar to Ansa, which runs waste and streetscene ser­vices.

It is hoped the cost of the scheme can be sourced from hous­ing de­vel­op­ers by re­plac­ing their cur­rent obli­ga­tion to build af­ford­able homes.

Coun Cor­co­ran said: “It’s at a very early stage but I’m de­lighted Michael Jones is look­ing at this and I hope to be in­volved.”

Peo­ple have been able to buy their coun­cil houses since 1980, and ear­lier this year the gov­ern­ment an­nounced so­cial hous­ing ten­ants would get the right to buy their prop­er­ties.

‘We want there to be a safety net for those in ab­so­lute need’

Ni­cola Detheridge

●● Olympic sil­ver medal­list Roger Black MBE (left) with Cheshire East’s lung can­cer project team at the awards cer­e­mony

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