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South Holland District Council to provide affordable housing schemes in Surfleet and Spalding

Three new schemes to provide affordable housing have been given the green light by senior councillors.

Members of South Holland District Council’s cabinet met on Tuesday and gave their approval to three separate plans to purchase homes for those struggling to get on the housing ladder.

The plans related to eight homes in Station Road, Surfleet, a block of a dozen one-bedroom flats in Roman Bank, Spalding and six two-bedroom properties in Holbeach Road, Spalding.

Welland Homes building properties in Spalding in 2018.
Welland Homes building properties in Spalding in 2018.

Coun Rodney Grocock told councillors: “There is strong demand for this accommodation.”

The first two schemes would be purchased under the council’s Housing Revenue Account, while the latter would be bought by Welland Homes, a company owned by the council.

The authority’s Strategic Housing Market Assessment has identified a need for 282 new affordable homes every year in South Holland.

Of those, 85% need to be for rent and 25% should be one-bedroom accommodation.

However, on average just 67 affordable homes a year were built between 2016/17 and 2020/21 by either the council or other providers.

Between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, there were 103 ‘affordable housing completions’ in the district, 46 of which were to be rented.

The council also revealed that Covid is drastically driving housing demand up.

An officer report to cabinet stated: “It is anticipated that the demand for affordable housing will increase as a result of the pandemic. Analysis of the SHDC Housing Register indicates that the number of applicants on the register has increased from 350 at the end of March 2020 to 460 at mid-April 2021.”

The council’s housing register suggests there is demand for 28 two-bedroom homes in Surfleet alone, which the first plan will go towards.

The eight homes in Surfleet are already being built by a developer and include four for shared ownership - to be delivered next month - and four for rent, due for handover in July.

In Roman Bank, the plan is to buy 12 one-bedroom flats from a landowner, with a likely October 2022 delivery date.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said one bedroom properties would be in big demand and appeal to two sections of the community.

“Those in the elderly population who are now left on their own by bereavement, which is always a very sad thing to happen, and our younger population, who are starting out in the world.”

He welcomed the current plan, although said it was a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared to the need - and hoped the council could carry out further investments, especially to help younger people who were ‘taken advantage of’ by the property market.

Both the Surfleet scheme and this one would be financed from a £13 million funding pot to be spent by 2024/25 - and would help fill gaps caused by council homes being bought by tenants under the ‘right to buy’ scheme.

Welland Homes already rents out 39 properties across the district - and aims to have 60 properties on the books by 2022/23.

Its new batch of six two-bedroom homes in Holbeach Road would be built by this August.

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