Public Sector Property

03.07.19

District councils making ‘great strides’ in building houses post-borrowing cap

District councils are now building and planning homes at a “considerable pace” as a direct result of the borrowing cap being lifted, a new report has revealed.

A survey, commissioned by the District Councils’ Network (DCN), in partnership with the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), shows that a third of councils with housing are already planning to increase housebuilding.

The remaining two-thirds are reportedly preparing to embark on plans to increase the supply of new homes, but that they need more power and resources to do this effectively. There were “no councils standing still”.

READ MORE: Shaping healthy places with district councils

The DCN said more and more homes are being built and planned by district councils, but additional freedoms for councils without housing stock could accelerate plans further.

John Fuller, DCN Fuller, said: “All councils just want to get on and build homes people need. Stock holding authorities have had a head start in getting back into the housebuilding industry.

“[Housing Revenue Account] freedoms are a welcome start but the government needs to allow us to go further. It must reform Right to Buy, implement a streamlined Compulsory Purchase Order process, introduce step-in rights to intervene on stalled proposals, and release Housing Infrastructure Funding to enable all areas to contribute to getting a roof over everyone’s head.”

READ MORE: How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

DCN says that on top of the Housing Revenue Account cap being lifted, local authorities need certainty of future funding and more support from government agencies to speed up development.

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of the LGiU, said the report “highlights the great strides that district councils have made in rising to the housing challenges of the last few years.”

“The scrapping of the HRA borrowing cap has opened many doors for District councils up and down the country to build and plan for new homes.”

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