Council makes 'significant investment' for more affordable homes
12th February 2020
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Cabinet councillors last night (Wednesday 5 February) agreed a long-term plan that will create more than 1,100 affordable homes over the next 30 years and improve day-to-day services for its tenants.
Under the plan, the council’s housing stock will be increased from its existing level of 3,440 homes to 4,606 by March 2049. This will be achieved by building 47 new homes per year, on average, from 2023/24, as well as purchasing properties.
Councillor Alan Shuttleworth, Cabinet member with responsibility for Housing, said: “It is critical that more good quality, affordable homes are made available and we are making significant investments in our own housing stock to help meet this growing need.
“In the future, this will prevent families from having to go into expensive and sometimes unsuitable temporary accommodation. Not only will this drastically improve people’s lives, but also relieve pressure on the council’s hefty temporary accommodation bill.”
Councillors also agreed to set aside £500,000 for a pilot project to improve the sustainability of existing council homes and help accomplish the council’s 2030 carbon neutral target.
Work will include understanding the current carbon footprint of the housing stock, investigating opportunities for renewable heat initiatives, assessing the cost-effectiveness and impact of insulation schemes and upgrading existing solar water heating systems.
In addition, the new business plan includes a further £400,000 a year towards enhancing services for tenants and residents focused on areas they have highlighted such as combatting ant-social behaviour, retirement housing improvements and social inclusion measures. 
Councillor Shuttleworth added: “There is strong evidence to show that physical and mental health benefits are linked to well-built, well-managed housing. Our work will improve the lives of residents and at the same time, help a great deal towards reducing the town’s carbon footprint.” 
Published on 7 February 2020
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