Council housebuilding programme given formal approval

Middlesbrough Council’s bold plan to begin a housebuilding programme has been formally approved.

The formation of a wholly owned company will allow the authority to build homes “for people, not profit” for the first time in a generation in Middlesbrough.

A business plan has been created which establishes the structure of the company, including the board, staffing and a start-up funding package of up to £10m which comprises part equity and part loan.

The first sites to see homes built by the new company are expected to be brought forward in the Gresham, Beechwood and Hemlington areas.

The scheme was approved by the Council’s Executive prior to Christmas.

Creating a housing delivery vehicle was proposed earlier this year to allow the Council to positively intervene in the housing market, and ensure the delivery of high quality affordable homes, giving the local authority greater control over development to focus on residents’ needs rather than being market driven.

Cllr Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, said: “The formal approval of this housing delivery project is a significant milestone in the major regeneration plans for Middlesbrough.

“Quality housing is a central part of creating a Middlesbrough with a strong city-level economy where people want to live and work.

“We have said it before but it is worth repeating – this is a bold and radical approach by Middlesbrough Council and our company will be driven by people, not profit.

“Alongside our Local Plan, the authority building homes means we can control and direct where new homes are built and what kind of high quality housing we want to meet the needs of local people.”

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 a previous Council 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.

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