Councillors will receive an update next week on ongoing work to meet the need for affordable housing in County Durham.
Durham County Council’s cabinet will hear about the progress that has been made on the local authority’s Council Homes Programme, which aims to help bridge the gap between the number of affordable homes built each year and the number of homes required.
In 2017, the government established ambitious targets to deliver 300,000 affordable homes across the UK each year, with aims to build homes faster and in the right place, and to diversify the housing market.
In response to this and the annual shortfall locally, Durham County Council developed its Council Homes Programme and has been working hard on its strategy to deliver 500 new homes between now and 2026.
The development of the 500 new homes programme will result in an estimated capital spend of around £70m, with more than £18m of this coming in the form of government funding support through the Homes England Affordable Homes Programme.
This comes at a crucial time to support the county’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic within the local construction industry and supply chain.
The homes will be high quality and energy efficient, with around 65 per cent of these being bungalow accommodation to meet the needs of the county’s aging population.
Next Wednesday (December 15), cabinet will hear that preparations have now been completed for the development of seven sites within phase one of the programme. Construction work is planned to commence next year.
Councillors will be asked to approve further sites to allow for the assessment and investigation work of phase two to get underway within the set timescales.
Phase two of the Council Homes Plan will include determining how the council might deliver some affordable housing in the rural west of the county. It will also see the council undertake a pilot scheme using new building techniques whereby a large proportion of the home is premanufactured away from the building site.
Cllr James Rowlandson, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for investment, resources and assets, said: “The need for more affordable homes is widely acknowledged across the political spectrum.
“There is a national shortage of affordable housing and this is reflected at a county level. We need to increase the supply to help local people who desperately need a place to call home.
“In County Durham the Strategic Housing Market Assessment identified there is a need for additional affordable homes to be built each year between now and 2035.
“We are working hard with local house builders and housing associations to deliver these and the Council Homes Programme will help to ensure the county’s housing offer meets residents’ needs.”