News - Construction News

Canterbury Council invests in social housing 

Canterbury Council has announced it is investing in social housing for its community, with a £23M deal designed to provide decent affordable permanent homes to families in the area.

The council has bought the freehold of 44 properties off Sturry Road in Canterbury, which will be converted into 63 self-contained flats and houses. With some 2,401 households on the city council’s Housing Needs Register, plus some 1,000 households a year fearing they may be made homeless, the need for affordable properties is critical.

Statistics show homes that are among the cheapest in the district, cost more than 13 times the income of the lowest earners. House-price-to-income ratios show most single earners and people on low incomes cannot afford to buy or rent a home.

The Council will now convert the properties in Parham Close, Riverdale House, Albert Mews, Stour Promenade and Glenside Avenue, from student bedsits into 52 self-contained homes, providing a mix of houses and flats for council tenants.

In total there will be 132 bedrooms plus generous living space and modern facilities.

Canterbury Council has chosen to buy and convert these properties, rather than building from scratch for a number of reasons. Firstly, it would be impossible to find a similar size site, negotiate its acquisition, get planning permission and develop 63 homes in anywhere near the same timeframe. Secondly, having a large number of homes in the same place makes managing them much easier when compared to 63 homes spread across the district. And, lastly, the council can tailor the existing 44 properties to suit its immediate housing needs.

Council leader Cllr Simon Cook said: “This deal has been a long time coming and is the result of a great deal of hard work by officers behind the scenes. We have not been able to talk about this earlier for fear of being gazumped by those with deeper pockets than our own.

“These properties, which are close to the city centre, will provide a massive boost in the number of socially-rented homes across the district. Local people tell us affordable housing is one of their key priorities and high house prices and market rents are an issue.

“This is part of an ongoing programme to increase the number of council flats and houses that started in 2015. By 31 March this year, we had already bought 47 homes. This deal will take the number to 110.”

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