Council helping hand for new home owners

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South Kesteven District Council is making a big push to give scores of people a leg up onto the housing ladder by helping them pay deposits.

For the first time in ten years, work has started on building the first new homes in South Kesteven, which covers Bourne and The Deepings, and this will add to the success of the Local Lend a Hand scheme and a project to bring empty homes back into use.

Under Lend a Hand, the council guarantees up to 20 per cent of the deposit leaving the applicant to find just five per cent.

Following an initial £1million cash injection, 43 people are now enjoying life in their new homes.

An additional £1million has been newly allocated to continue the success.

Darren Turner, the council’s strategic director corporate focus, said: “We want to do as much as we can to help would-be home owners across the district and are hoping to see more people get the keys to their own homes.

“That is why we have allocated an extra £1million in our budget to not only help people buy their first property, but stimulate another five property transactions further up the housing ladder and, hopefully, make some dreams come true.”

The council has raised the maximum purchase price for assistance from £125,000 to £155,000.

More than 100 privately owned homes have been brought back into use as part of the council’s empty homes initiative – and a fresh, six-month project starts in May to boost that number.

The council says the project is cutting down on homelessness and reducing council house waiting lists.

The authority identified 485 houses in the district that had been empty for more than six months and worked with landlords and property owners to help bring them back into use with the offer of council grants.

SKDC’s head of housing and neighbourhoods Ian Richardson said: “The council and the third party agency (Capacity Grid) commissioned to deliver the first phase of the project have been hugely successful by bringing 101 properties back into general use at a time when we have a distinct housing shortage.”

• All four flats have been sold in the newly refurbished mill on Wherry’s Lane, Bourne, following a £2.14million redevelopment of the area which has seen new retail units created as well.