Barnet Council confirms first new council housing for over 20 years
Barnet Council is to build the first council houses in the borough for over 20 years. Three new family sized homes will be built at Alexandra Road in Coppetts ward, Muswell Hill.
The council’s Cabinet Resources Committee also agreed to support the building of 38 more council houses in the borough over the next few years at a further four sites.
The new homes will be built and managed by Barnet Homes, the council’s housing ALMO (arms’ length management company). Two of the houses will have four bedrooms and the other will have three bedrooms.
Cllr Richard Cornelius, Leader of Barnet Council, said: “Central Government now gives councils greater freedom to spend our housing income as we think is wise so we can create these new family sized homes along with a number of fully wheelchair accessible homes.
“There is no doubt that London needs new homes and I think council housing will be part of that mix.
“They will, however, be very different from council housing as we have known it in the past. I don’t see that there will be large estates and we plan that council housing will be available to a family for a particular period in their lives. It won’t mean a house for life.”
The properties will be let on new five year tenancies. The intention is that tenants will move to a smaller property when their family has left home, releasing the house for another family. The rent charged will also cover the financing cost for the properties.
Tracy Lees, chief executive of The Barnet Group (which includes Barnet Homes), said: “I’m very excited to be back in the business of building new homes. In particular I’m very hopeful that the second batch will cater for a variety of family needs, including wheelchair use.”
Barnet Council has adopted a number of innovative policies in social housing over the last two years. Supported by Barnet Homes, the council was the first in London to move new tenants onto an initial five year tenancy and was the first to give former members of the armed forces priority for council housing. Applicants for council housing also rise in priority if they work or undertake voluntary activity.
Cllr Cornelius added: “In the same way as the changes to tenancies that Barnet Council pioneered have become comparatively mainstream, I expect other councils to follow Barnet’s lead and to begin to use their new financial freedom to develop new council housing.”
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