More homes for rent on the way in South Holland

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A district council owned housing company is poised to buy and build 60 homes for private rent by 2022.

Coun Peter Coupland, who chairs the Welland Homes board, said £3million has been earmarked to cover the cost of acquiring 15 homes in Green Lane, Spalding, with completion due next month, and to provide a further five homes in Long Sutton by March 2018.

Four further schemes of ten homes for rent are in the pipeline for each year after 2018.

While Welland Homes Ltd is separate from the council and its housing department, the company is helping to offset the fall in the number of homes for social rent caused by the sale of council houses through Right to Buy.

The company’s programme is a boost for people looking for homes they can afford to rent and for South Holland’s economy with local builders engaged in the construction.

Coun Coupland said the council holds just over 3,900 council houses but the stock is dwindling, which makes it harder still for people to find somewhere to live.

He said: “Probably, over the last three or four years, the council has lost more than 50 homes (through Right to Buy) and Welland Homes have to try to replace them as best we can and provide more social and market rental properties.”

Welland Homes Ltd was set up by South Holland District Council in July 2015 to invest in private, rented housing as well as build new homes for market sale and rent.

Other projects under consideration are:

• Severn Road, Spalding – building 24 homes, 12 for the council and 12 to be retained by Welland Homes for market sale/rent

• Parkside Crescent Spalding – building 10 homes to be retained by Welland Homes for market sale/rent

• Small Drove, Weston – building 34 homes in a phased development on behalf of the council

Another bonus from the Welland Homes property acquisition and building programme is that income generated by its activities can be used to support frontline council services at a time when the Government is slashing its financial support to local authorities.

Coun Coupland said by 2020, the council will have had about £2.25million “taken off us by the Government”.

He said: “We are looking ahead to try to cover that gap by trying to make a few shillings out of house building.”

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