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Redbridge Council to set up own housing company

PUBLISHED: 12:31 13 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:47 13 April 2016

Redbridge Town Hall

Redbridge Town Hall

Archant

A new council-owned housing company, which aims to create thousands of privately-rented homes, is set to be created.

Redbridge Council passed recommendations to create the company at its cabinet meeting on Tuesday night.

The principal aim of the business will be to build housing on council-owned land in Ilford as the authority looks to create more than 8,000 new houses across the borough over the next five years.

These will not be affordable homes or targeted at households towards whom the council has a housing duty.

Cllr Ross Hatfull, cabinet member for housing, payments and benefits, said the company would ensure the council was delivering good quality housing.

He said: “Instead of selling council-owned land to developers, we want to build the developments ourselves.

“We are very keen to increase the number of homes in the borough, and ensure they are of the highest quality for residents.

“This meets those aims, whilst also bringing in revenue for the council.

“This is already happening in other boroughs, such as Newham, which has created a lot of new homes for residents.”

The company would be financed by the council after the cabinet agreed to invest up to £2.5million in the project, which the council expects to make a return on.

The council may also benefit from growth in the value of the properties, and any future dividends (profits after tax) after the company starts to make a profit.

Studies have shown that homes in close proximity to Crossrail stations are forecast to increase in value by at least 20 per cent, as commuters move to greater London.

Between 2001 and 2011, the number of people renting from the private sector in Redbridge increased by 9.5pc, while owner occupation decreased by 10.7pc.

Cllr Hatfull said: “There is a lot of demand for housing and this company means the council retain control over the quality of the building.

“As soon as we sell the sites to developers, we have less control.”

The majority of houses will be rented out to people in the borough, and a small amount may be sold, said Cllr Hatfull.

Initially the company will be focused on Ilford, where several sites have already been explored, but it could be expanded borough wide.

A further report will now be brought back to cabinet.


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