An innovative council has partnered with contractors to build low-cost homes on council owned land. The homes are for first-time buyers and families, plus houses and flats to rent at affordable prices.

Hundreds of new homes built by Sheffield council are springing up on the outskirts of Sheffield. Of 325 homes, a healthy 88 are for affordable rent or shared ownership. The semi-detached houses – all with gardens – are selling from a sensible £99,995 for a two-bed, £152,000 for a three-bed and just over £200,000 for a four-bed.

With Tunbridge Wells Borough Council owning land, maybe this is something they should be considering to help ease the shortfall in affordable housing?

Sheffield council didn’t want to go it alone because it lacked the expertise to build and sell homes on the open market, and was wary of taking on all the risk. The joint venture suited Sheffield council because it was able to retain control over the quality of the housing and the speed at which it was built.

Other councils are understood to be closely watching Sheffield’s approach.  Nearly half of 112 councils that took part in a 2015 survey have either set up or were considering creating their own housing company. Fourteen have already set one up, and 38 were considering it.  I wonder if TWBC was one?

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