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Hundreds of new homes on horizon as council turns housebuilder
THE North-East’s biggest council has backed plans to build hundreds of new homes to boost the region’s slowly recovering housing market.
The Labour cabinet at Durham County Council today (Wednesday, December 18) gave its unanimous support to proposals to build up to 310 homes at a cost of around £26m.
Housing chiefs hope the pioneering move, thought to be the first of its kind in the North-East, will help people secure their own home and also be a money spinner for taxpayer.
Sites are yet to be identified but plots near town centres with good transport links would be favoured.
Various sizes of house would be built, with an emphasis on family homes.
About a third would be made available for private rent at market value, while two-thirds would be sold off.
The houses built for sale would cost about £18.4m, but could sell for up to £31m – generating a profit of more than £12m.
Councillor Eddie Tomlinson, the cabinet member for housing and rural issues, said the idea was very much a work in progress but he was convinced there was a need for more rental properties and the houses for sale would be profitable.
“The proposals represent an opportunity for the council to utilise land in a new and imaginative way to build new housing,” he added.
Deputy leader Alan Napier said the council needed to meet people’s needs, build the right types of houses and in the right locations.
He urged the council to use local labour and take advantage of so-called section 106 payments brought in by development.
Figures suggest the North-East housing market is starting to recover following the global economic downturn of 2009, but slower than some other parts of the country.
The council cannot build houses itself, so will look into setting up a board to take the project forward and draw up a business plan.
Cabinet members backed the scheme while meeting at Durham Town Hall today (Wednesday, December 18).
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