Scarborough Council proposes partnership to build affordable homes across the borough

Scarborough Council is looking to partner with the private sector in order to build hundreds of new affordable homes across the borough.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 9:41 am
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 9:42 am

The authority wants to create a fifty-fifty partnership in a Joint Venture, possibly with a registered social landlord (RSL) to help meet its housing targets.

Scarborough Council director Richard Bradley told a meeting of the authority’s Lives and Homes Overview and Scrutiny Committee yesterday that the proposal would give the council more say over the size, quality and environmental-friendly nature of the affordable homes in the borough.

Currently, just 30 per cent of properties built in the borough meet the Nationally Described Space Standards, which sets out the minimum size of new homes.

Since 2016 just 110 affordable homes have been built on average each year.

The plans are part of the council’s Better Homes initiative.

Mr Bradley told the committee: “We have undertaken a wide-ranging preliminary market engagement and there were a number of local as well as national operators of size and scale who were very interested in what we are trying to achieve here because the objectives members have tasked officers in delivering are really creative and innovative.

“So there is real interest from national operators.”

The committee heard that the council aims to create a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) where both the partners would have a 50 per cent share, meaning that no decisions on any development could be taken against the council’s wishes.

Last year, the cabinet gave the green light for the scheme which will work with providers of social housing and private developers to address a homes shortage due to the average house price in the borough being nine times the local average wage.

The council estimates that around 220 new affordable homes each year in order to meet the local housing waiting list, which currently stands at around 2,000 households.

Since 2016 just 110 affordable homes have been built on average each year.

Cllr Bill Chatt told the meeting that he feared that affordable rents and prices would not take into account the inflated prices on the coast, referencing a flat for sale in his Woodlands ward for £80,000 which he said was “far beyond the income of the people living in my area”.

Cllr Chatt added: “I think that if you are building a housing estate of brand new properties the price is going to be far too high for the people who need it, especially in places like Whitby where a dog kennel will cost you £500,000.

“It is phenomenally expensive in Whitby to buy land and property.

“I am just really concerned that we are not going to see any real value here. What we are actually going to do is build houses for a social landlord who will charge fair rent, not affordable rent.”

Last month, the council put 12 sites it owns out to consultation in order to gauge interest in the scheme.

The 12 site includes a parcel of land that encompasses two holes of Whitby Golf Club that could provide up to 60 homes.

Two large areas at Musham Bank in Eastfield are also in the scheme and are earmarked for up to 600 homes.

The sites classed as public open spaces, which will go out to consultation, include two pieces of land at Rievaulx Road and one in California Road in Whitby. Land at Prince of Wales Terrace, Sandybed Lane and Sandybed Crescent in Scarborough and open spaces in Clarence Drive, Filey and Moor Lane, Newby are also included.

Land at West End View in Cayton has also been earmarked for housing but is not a public open space.

The council sees the Better Homes project as critical to addressing the borough’s shortage of quality housing for local people, which is also affordable.

Approximately 37 per cent of jobs in the borough are paid below the Real Living Wage and around 41 per cent of employed clients of the local Citizens’ Advice claim in-work benefits.

A further report on the proposals will be presented later this year.