A proposed housing development in Newton Aycliffe has acted as a pilot for a new profit-making housing venture which has been set up by Durham County Council.
The local authority says it has set up an “arms-length” private company with the aim of offering better choice for house-buyers and creating job opportunities.
Following recent cabinet approval, Chapter Homes will develop council-owned land for housing to be sold and rented at market values.
A contract has been agreed with Gentoo Construction to build the houses on behalf of the new company with Chapter Homes responsible for the development and subsequent management of the rental properties.
In addition to meeting need for good quality housing, building more affordable homes, creating jobs and boosting the local economy, any profits from the scheme will be reinvested into council services.
With the company now established, four possible development sites have been identified:
• Agnew 5, Woodham Drive, Newton Aycliffe – click here to read more about this application
• Cobblers Hall Site, Newton Aycliffe
• Former Civic Centre, Chester-le-Street
• Oakerside Drive, Peterlee
The Newton Aycliffe site has been chosen to act as a pilot for the scheme and a planning application for 125 properties has now been submitted.
Cllr Eddie Tomlinson, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for assets, strategic housing and rural issues, said: “We hope that the creation of Chapter Homes will see significant benefits for the people of County Durham. Potential buyers will have more choice and the county will be better equipped to meet the rising need for local housing, especially private rented accommodation where there is a known shortage.
“With housebuilding a key driver for the economy, Chapter Homes means investment in the construction industry and the wider supply chain to build quality housing and creating much needed jobs in the process.
“With the council facing savings of £260m by 2020, this innovative approach will also allow us to turn currently unused council land into welcome extra income that can be put towards council services.”