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Council invests £23m in ‘secret’ housing deal to avoid London gazumping

Canterbury City Council has announced an investment of £23m in social housing in a deal that was conducted “behind the scenes” over fears of the deal being highjacked by wealthier London boroughs.

The council will convert 44 properties that it bought freehold into 63 self-contained, affordable flats and houses off Sturry Road. There will be a total of 132 bedrooms with plenty of living space and modern facilities.

Negotiations were taken forward in secrecy to avoid that richer London boroughs, which have reportedly been buying properties all over Kent, did not get in ahead of the city council.

The purchase will be part-funded by money raised from homes sold under the Right to Buy scheme. Other funding will come from the council’s housing reserve, with the rest made up by a loan.

Council leader Cllr Simon Cook said: “This deal has been a long time coming and is the result of a great deal of hard work by officers behind the scenes. We have not been able to talk about this earlier for fear of being gazumped by those with deeper pockets than our own.

“These properties, which are close to the city centre, will provide a massive boost in the number of socially-rented homes across the district. Local people tell us affordable housing is one of their key priorities and high house prices and market rents are an issue.

Top image: kbwills via iStock 


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