Harlow Council is to undertake a further programme of building new houses with 14 new Council homes to be built this year and next.
Last night (14 June 2018) at the first meeting of the Council’s new Cabinet, the programme was approved along with a proposal to look at the first phase of 14 new Council homes being built by the Council-owned company HTS (Property & Environment) Ltd.
The Council has also agreed to set up a company to undertake housing and regeneration projects. This aims to help the Council gain more benefit for local residents from the opportunities presented by the town’s economic potential in the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor, the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town project and Harlow’s ambitious local development plan.
Over the next year the Council will be supplying 11 new Council homes with refurbishments at Sumners Farm Close, Partridge Court, Hare Street Springs and Collins Meadow. An additional three Council homes, which are subject to planning permission, will be built on a derelict garage site in Readings. There is also the potential to build around 80 new homes over the next three years using derelict garage sites across the town.
The last time Council homes were built was in 2014/15, when 18 two-bedroom houses were provided on three former garage sites. All homes were allocated to local people on the Harlow Housing Needs Register.
The Council continues to work with developers to provide new affordable homes for rent, which are being allocated to local people on the Housing Needs Register. As part of phase 1 of the Atelier development in Staple Tye, 33 homes have so far been allocated to people on the register with a further 133 being allocated in the same way during phases 2 and 3. The regeneration of Elm Hatch, which is subject to planning permission, includes five homes for people on the Register. Proposals have also recently gone on show for the redevelopment of the old Lister House site with at least 30 percent of the homes being affordable.
Creating a housing and regeneration company gives the Council the opportunity to lead and control these types of developments to directly benefit more local people.
The Council has this week also received Government funding which will be used to turn two derelict council homes into accommodation providing specialist support to six rough sleepers.
Councillor Mark Wilkinson, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:
“This decision reaffirms our commitment to our number-one priority – more and better housing. Within that priority is the promise to do what we can to build new Council houses and work with others to build affordable homes for rent for local people on the Harlow Housing Needs Register. It’s all about looking at different ways to meet housing need while recognising that there remains a desperate shortage of social housing. It may not be enough to house everyone who needs a home, but it is a start and it sets us back on track to build more homes in the future.”
Councillor Mark Ingall, Leader of the Council, said:
“We want these 14 new Council homes to be built for local people by HTS (Property & Environment) Ltd. It’s a win-win situation for all. Setting up HTS has been a real success story for Harlow, generating money from its commercial activities which come back to the Council rather than go in the pockets of shareholders. Building homes for Harlow is another benefit of what HTS can do for our town.
“Alongside this would be another Council-owned company under the HTS banner, which will drive forward regeneration and housing projects helping to ensure that there are more Council-led developments in future. This will increase opportunities for local people and ensure that more residents benefit from regeneration schemes and new housing projects.”