Council can free up £40m bringing housing services back in-house

Newark and Sherwood District Council says the sum – as a 30 year total – will be reinvested in council housing and related services.

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Newark and Sherwood District Council is the latest authority to confirm a bid to bring housing back in-house – freeing up £40m for related re-investment over 30 years.

A consultation with residents is underway.

The council acknowledges its ALMO Newark and Sherwood Homes (NSH) – set up 15 years ago – is high performing having led an “impressive” programme of improvements to council stock.

But the council says the original case for an arm’s length housing management company no longer applies.

Now, the council’s policy and finance committee is being asked to back tenant consultation on ending the company and bringing the management of council housing back into the council.

Following a review undertaken by an independent adviser, it is expected that this change will save at least £1m per year.

Allowing for inflation, the council says this frees up an estimated additional £40m over the next 30 years, which will be re-invested in new council homes and related frontline services.

An independent resident engagement specialist called ‘Open Communities’ has been employed to manage the consultation process, which runs until August 21, 2019.

The results of the consultation will then be considered by the policy and finance committee in September – with tenants and leaseholders informed of the outcome by letter.

In addition to the Council’s own developments a range of approaches are adopted to secure the delivery of new affordable housing units in the district, through working with Registered Providers and developers.

The 2014 assessment indicated a total net affordable housing need in the district of 677 units a year.

After deducting the annual supply of housing, the shortfall for the next five years was 221 homes a year.

As of March this year, the council owned 5,460 homes, with 35 homes sold through the Right to Buy in 2018/19.

There are currently 3,287 applicants on the Council’s housing register –  an increase of 565 on the previous year.

Over the past fourteen years, a total of 1,312 additional affordable homes have been provided across the district, through S106 planning agreements, 100% affordable housing developments, exception sites, the Council’s own developments and the NSH Growth Programme.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, 115 additional affordable homes have been built across the district.

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