Ambition for Council to deliver affordable housing

Bold proposals have been unveiled which would see Middlesbrough Council building homes for the first time in a generation.

Tomorrow the authority’s Executive will be asked to approve a report outlining the need for the Council to positively intervene in the housing market, and ensure the delivery of high quality affordable homes.

If adopted, a housing delivery model would allow the Council to directly build houses, as well as giving the local authority greater control over development to focus on residents’ needs rather than being market driven.

For the first time in decades Middlesbrough is experiencing population growth with people attracted to the growing economy.

Although the growth seen to date has been hugely beneficial to the town, there is an affordability issue that is developing, highlighted in the report, as the average cost of new homes in the town rises beyond the means of many residents looking to get on the housing ladder.

One significant gap identified is for professionals in the 25-35 age category who are increasingly unable to afford to buy a property but do not want to rent the older terraced properties that are prevalent in the market.

Other groups who could benefit from the targeted building of new homes are the elderly and disabled residents.

Cllr Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, said: “Middlesbrough is currently witnessing city-scale developments – both Council and private sector-led – and the economic growth of the city centre needs to be backed up with a housing offer to match.

“We are making a bold statement on housing that we want to give people the good quality homes that are desired in all areas of Middlesbrough and we want to make sure that they are affordable.

“In establishing a housing delivery vehicle, the Council will be able to have control over where we build and what we build – suiting the diverse needs of our current, and future, residents.

“Without intervention people may leave Middlesbrough to find a suitable home when in reality they would rather be close to family, close to work and close to the Tees Valley’s city centre.

“We can make sure everyone has the opportunity to have the home they want to live in – the private sector is profit driven whereas our model will be people driven.”

If approved the Council will begin work on working up the housing delivery model that would give a steady supply of affordable housing, increase the pace of housebuilding to ensure continued economic growth and to maximise income to the public purse to pay for services.

The Executive are also being asked to approve the establishing of a Shadow Board to consider a detailed option appraisal of housing delivery models and identifies three members to sit on the board.

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