Better Homes project joint venture plans at Cabinet

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

A move to the next stage of a project to deliver hundreds of new affordable homes across the borough could be approved next week.

Councillors on our Cabinet will discuss proposals to tackle a shortage of high-quality housing which is affordable to local people and families.

A business case has been prepared to consider the options, including the creation of a company which would be owned equally between the council and another organisation – a ‘joint venture’.

This could be a housing association or another registered provider.

It would fund the construction of the new homes, sell them on completion and potentially buy suitable land from the open market.  

The joint company would allow the council to reinvest its share of any surplus money into future housing or development schemes.

We identified 12 sites in Filey, Whitby and Scarborough, including Eastfield, as potentially suitable for housing.

As several of these are classed as public open space, an extended consultation has taken place.

More than 700 comments were received and these will be considered by councillors before they make a decision whether to proceed.

If they do, the next stage of the Better Homes project would involve the legal work to create the joint venture and find a suitable partner organisation.

Our borough is facing an affordable homes crisis and double the number currently being built need to be constructed between now and 2038 if demand is to be met.  This means 3,300 are needed in a 16 year period.

Currently, 2,000 families are on the housing waiting list here which is compounded by an historical lack of one or two bedroom properties.

The average salary of £27,000 in the borough means a first time buyer will need seven times their earnings to buy their own home.

Cllr Carl Maw, Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities and Housing, said:

“Ensuring our residents have access to affordable homes is crucial, but they need to be designed better and be of a higher environmental standard.

“If not, we won’t be able to meet the ambitious targets we’ve set in response to the climate emergency.

“I encourage my fellow councillors to approve our work so we can meet the future needs of our communities.

Cllr Liz Colling, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, said:

“The Better Homes project is a real opportunity to make a lasting difference to our residents.

“We cannot overstate the case for more affordable – and high quality – homes across the borough.

“We are proposing an innovative way of tackling the challenge we face and I hope cabinet councillors are supportive of what we want to achieve.”