At an Elmbridge Borough Council meeting on 21 February 2018, it was agreed to establish a Council-owned housing company with the aim of building homes to meet the needs of residents. The creation of this housing company will open up new opportunities for affordable housing to be developed in the Borough.
A detailed business plan will now be prepared and directors appointed, paving the way for the new company to start planning for developments in 2018.
Councillor Roy Green, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “This new company will allow us to respond to the needs of the people who live and work in Elmbridge , working with our partners and contractors to build homes that will help local people. We are committed to providing affordable homes in the Borough and the establishment of this company is another example of the work we are doing to ensure there are enough homes in the Borough for all our children and families.”
Affordable homes – a key priority
It is a key priority for the Council to increase the supply of affordable homes in Elmbridge. To do this the Council works with housing associations and others to increase the supply of affordable housing to meet needs of people in the Borough. In the financial year to end of March 2018, it is anticipated that housing associations will deliver around 70 affordable homes and in 2018/19, we expect another 125 to be provided.
Examples of current affordable housing developments in Elmbridge –
The planning consent for Rivernook Farm in Walton- on-Thames includes 40 affordable dwellings (working with PA Housing) as part of a 93-home scheme
Having purchased Albemarle House in Thames Ditton last year, the Council secured planning approval in January 2018 to convert the vacant office building to residential use, and once the refurbishment is completed, the site will provide 5 affordable homes.
The Council’s redevelopment of Weybridge Hall is seeking planning permission for 5 affordable homes as part of the scheme.
The redevelopment of Rydens School, Hersham - 128 affordable homes (of a total of 296 homes) are being built alongside a new school. The first affordable homes are due in Spring 2018. The housing association, A2 Dominion, will be providing the affordable housing, half as shared-ownership and half for affordable rent, of different types and sizes. Priority for the affordable homes will be to households living or working in Elmbridge who are in housing need.
Orchard Lane, East Molesey - CALA Homes is developing 106 homes (of which 43 are to be affordable) on what was the Imber Court Trading Estate. Thames Valley Housing will be providing the affordable housing, comprising 22 shared-ownership homes and 21 dwellings for affordable rent. Again, priority for the affordable homes will be given to those living or working in Elmbridge, with the Council nominating applicants on our housing register to take up the tenancies. The affordable housing is forecasted to complete in early 2019.
There is always more to do
As well as new-build, the Council supports a number of initiatives to make the best use of the existing housing stock. With PA Housing, we launched the Perfect Fit scheme in 2012 to encourage their tenants in homes larger than they needed to downsize, thereby freeing up much-needed larger homes for families in need. Support and incentives of up to £4,000 have resulted in around 150 households downsizing.
We also support Catalyst Housing to run the Elmbridge Homeownership Assistance Scheme, which gives aspiring homeowners and who are priced out of the market, a route to purchasing a home of their own. The scheme offers equity loans of up to £90,000 to qualifying households towards the cost of purchase. 39 households have been helped through this scheme since 2011.
We also help promote the Government’s Help to Buy programme, which offers a range of products designed for those who want to purchase a home of their own, but who can’t afford to buy on the open market. More details are available at www.helptobuyese.org.uk
Cllr Green concluded; “Having lived in Hersham my whole life, I have seen how the appeal of the Borough has increased over the years. Elmbridge is a desirable place to live and we want to ensure it is an open and inclusive community, with enough homes for our children, young people and families.”