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Bristol to sell houses on the private market for the first time

Bristol City Council is set to sell houses on the private market for the first time as part of an innovative development model designed to reinvest sale proceeds to build more social homes.

A new housing development planned for south Bristol, which could be completed by 2020 subject to permissions, is proposing to build a mixed development of around 130 new homes at the Alderman Moores site in Ashton Vale.

Around 40% of these would be affordable social rented homes, whilst the remainder would be sold on the open market. Proceeds would then be injected back into the council to fund the construction of more council homes.

The scheme, which marks the first time the city council has built properties for private sale, could become the model for its new council housing delivery company if it proves successful.

Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, argued the shortage of adequate housing is one of the biggest challenges the city faces and one of his chief priorities going forward.

“This is the first time we have used this model of building homes for sale on the open market, and we are hoping this can pave the way for our new housing company to deliver more housing for the whole city,” he explained.

“We are seeking to dramatically increase the number of new homes which are affordable to rent for people in Bristol. Over the next couple of months, we should see around 50 council homes become available.”

The local authority already has cabinet approval for phases 1 and 2 of a council new-build programme, both of which are scheduled to deliver around 140 new social homes by 2018-19. The Alderman Moores site will form part of the next phase of this programme.

Cabinet approval for the site was given at the end of 2016, but the council is still waiting to receive planning consent for the development by the end of this year with a view to start construction works in spring 2018. The scheme could then be completed by the end of the decade.

Public consultation will begin soon to ensure residents can contribute to the proposed designs.

The issue of housing, which has long been listed as one of England’s top priorities in light of a nationwide ‘housing crisis’, was included in last week’s Queen’s Speech, where the government said it would bring forward proposals to ban unfair tenant fees, promote fairness and transparency in the market and help ensure more homes are built.

Almost all councils currently face a severe or moderate housing problem, with all local areas in need of more affordable homes.

(Top image:  Cllr Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing; Marvin Rees, mayor of Bristol; Roger Coffin, vice chair of allotments association; Steven Barrett, service manager for housing development; Phil Lawrence, Senior Associate at Stone King LLP; Simon Liversage, operations director Wilmott Partnership Homes; Chris Wheeler, WPH senior project surveyor; and Phil Cass, allotments site manager)


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