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£20 million fighting fund to help councils build and buy more houses

Released: Tuesday, 27 November 2018

More than £20m is to be pumped into the local housing market by Adur & Worthing Councils to provide more affordable and temporary housing to help meet ever rising demand.

The Councils are increasingly moving back into house building and development and the fresh funds will go towards buying properties to develop.

Adur District Council has its own council housing stock under Adur Homes and a recommendation has been made to create a £10m budget which will fund the building of emergency accommodation but also affordable housing to add to the stock.

The Council is working with a local developer on a new scheme for Albion Street in Southwick and will demolish existing houses to build 44 new homes of which at least 15 will be affordable homes rented to local residents. Fifteen more are to be built at the Cecil Norris House site in Shoreham and two more at North Road, Lancing.

If the recommendation to spend the money from Adur Homes' Housing Revenue Account is given the go-ahead a new team will begin to search for fresh property and land to build more council homes. Under a scheme called Hidden Homes, the Council has identified 40 potential sites on council-owned pockets of space within the district.

In Worthing the borough council does not own any council house stock but is looking to invest £11m in temporary, emergency and affordable accommodation. It is looking to buy 32 flats and other properties that can be converted to use as temporary and emergency accommodation.

The borough council has just bought the old Downview Pub in Tarring Road to build at least 13 houses and flats for temporary and emergency accommodation.

The investment comes as the costs of housing families in emergency accommodation is rising rapidly for both Councils because of changes in central government funding. Currently across Adur and Worthing 155 families are in emergency housing.

Both Councils are stepping up their programmes to prevent homelessness and keep people in their tenancies wherever possible. In recent months the Councils housing staff have helped prevent more than 40 families from being evicted. Both Councils are also actively leasing 42 flats and five houses on a long term basis to house those in need of temporary accommodation.

Adur District Council's Executive Member for Customer Services, Cllr Carson Albury, said:

“We are working hard to deal with the increasing number of families who need accommodation and also those looking to find somewhere affordable to live.”

“We have now decided we will build homes to help meet this need. In the long run it will save us money and it means as many people as possible can be housed in their home towns.”

Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Customer Services Cllr Dr Heather Mercer said:

“By buying places like Downview and purchasing other units we are taking a lead in dealing with this crisis. I should also add that our housing teams are doing great work intervening to keep families in their homes so they don't experience the misery of homelessness. It is this twin track approach which is having some effect on this challenging problem.”

The recommendation to create the funds, a mixture of income, borrowings and government grant, in Adur and Worthing goes to the Councils' Joint Strategic Committee next week.

Full details of the report can be found in:

Image: Artist's impression of the Albion Street development

PR18-204 - Artist's impression of the Albion Street development

(PR18-215)

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