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First council homes built for a decade

PUBLISHED: 16:47 04 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:10 23 August 2010

THE first council houses for 12 years are to be built as council bosses take advantage of a change in laws. Gravesham Borough councillor Anthony Pritchard, lead member for housing, is delighted to announce that five homes will be built at the former scou

THE first council houses for 12 years are to be built as council bosses take advantage of a change in laws.

Gravesham Borough councillor Anthony Pritchard, lead member for housing, is delighted to announce that five homes will be built at the former scout hut in Harden Road, Northfleet, which will be entirely owned by the council.

Government legislation in recent years has forced councils to form partnerships with housing associations to build homes, which are then managed and maintained by the association.

A change in the law has allowed Gravesham to apply to become a social housing landlord, and with this granted it can now apply for funding for developments from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Cllr Pritchard said: "Five bungalows may not seem like much but they are a sign of things to come. We can't stop people from using Right to Buy so the stock will continue to dwindle, but this is a very significant change for the council."

There are 2,240 people on the latest housing needs register for Gravesham.

A further benefit to owning the homes is all the rent is kept by the council.

Cllr Pritchard explained that rent from other council properties in the borough is subject to a levy known as negative subsidy which sees around £6 million of the £20 million revenue given to central government to be redistributed to other areas of the country.

He said: "These five will be built separately from that system so we can keep all the rent and don't need to give anything to the government. This is only the start. We shall be planning to build more in the near future."

The five buildings will be one detached, one bedroom bungalow, two semi detached two bedroom bungalows and two three bedroom bungalows.

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