Affordable housing programme unveiled

Published: Friday 26th July 13

Close to 1,000 affordable homes are in line to be built in the borough over the next five years, as the council looks to secure more housing opportunities for residents.

Wandsworth has also announced that it hopes to directly support development of up to 200 low cost rent homes during this period as part of a major affordable housing programme part-funded by the council.

Wandsworth's Affordable Housing Programme has been developed in response to the ever-increasing demand for all forms of housing including low cost rent housing, which is particularly needed to meet demand from low income working households living in the borough.

Wandsworth's housing spokesman, Councillor Paul Ellis, said: "Across the borough we are seeing investment in housing - and we want to make sure that all of our residents benefit from it, whatever their financial situation.

"Financially supporting low cost rent and home ownership development and encouraging development for private rent are just some of the ways that we are looking to increase the supply of properties for local people.

"As well as enabling more low cost affordable rent housing to be built we are also introducing measures to ensure working households are given greater priority when it comes to the allocation of homes.

"And we are running a Housing into Work pilot scheme, which will see unemployed young people on the housing waiting list given help finding work along with the keys to their own council home."

The Wandsworth Affordable Housing Programme will be one of a few grant giving programmes being put in place by a local authority to support affordable housing development. The council is planning to commit an initial £6m towards the creation of new homes as part of this new approach.

Under the programme, the council will look to secure agreements with development partners whereby, for the council grant available, the maximum number of affordable rent homes are delivered - with the council being given tenancy nominations and relets for those properties.

The affordable housing programme would also enable more housing to be built under the authority's successful Hidden Homes initiative, which sees formerly empty or derelict areas such as old laundries, store sheds, garages, or space on estates prone to crime or antisocial behaviour being used to provide new affordable homes.

On top of this, there are currently several hundred affordable homes planned to date under previously-approved developments in the borough, which will create more housing opportunities for local people.

Wandsworth Council recently announced it was taking steps to give local people first refusal over homes built for private rent as part of its ongoing drive to create a wide variety of housing opportunities in the borough.

The council wants to encourage the development of housing designed and built specifically for private rent, arrange with developers to offer these newly-built homes to local residents and help people secure tenancies that provide a greater degree of stability and security, with rents that are not subject to unexpected rises.

The authority has unveiled a raft of measures it intends to implement to encourage development for private rent and ease pressure in an increasingly popular sector.

It plans to investigate whether developers could contribute a lower community infrastructure levy as an incentive to provide private rent housing to meet local demand.

Also being considered are plans to use Section 106 agreements with developers to require that newly-built private rented housing is initially marketed to local residents and to offer longer tenancy terms than the normal six months.

For housing-related advice in Wandsworth email housingadvice@wandsworth.gov.uk.

Information on home ownership options available to council tenants and non-council tenants can be found at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/homeownership.

ENDS

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