Council bosses have agreed to gift a development site to a not-for-profit company looking to provide housing for homeless people and armed forces veterans.
Building for Humanity (BFH) is looking to take on a site in Charter Street, Accrington, with a view to building a £3m-plus scheme including 15 one-bedroom apartments, 15 two-bedroom apartments, three four-bedroom townhouses and 12 two and three-bed semi-detached houses.
Hyndburn Council’s cabinet recently backed the move in a report recommending the site be given to Building for Humanity for free.
Because the firm has no track record in developing and managing rented accommodation, the council is asking for several assurances which, if not met, would see the council retain the land.
In return for the land, BFH will grant the council at least 50% nomination rights to the rented accommodation for all initial lets and re-lets.
Portfolio holder for housing and regeneration, Cllr Loraine Cox, said the council has valued the land at approximately £200,000 but can sell land at under value if doing so would promote the “social, environmental or economic wellbeing” of the borough or its residents.
Planning permission must be secured within the next nine months and construction must start within six months of permission being granted.
The council’s armed forces champion, Cllr Paddy Short, said it was estimated the development would make a profit between five and 10%, which would go back into the community through charitably donations.
He added: “The 20% put aside for armed forces veterans and their families is really important and the scheme also aims to get them involved in apprenticeships so they can learn skills to help them find work.
“I have been involved in this for more than two years and it’s more than £3million of investment.
“It will be a high-spec build even to the point that they are looking at making it zero or negative carbon on site.
“As the home of the Accrington Pals and all that great history, we should be leading the way on
Leader of the council, Cllr Miles Parkinson, said: “This is not going to be some tatty old development – it will be something Hyndburn can be proud of.
“We are not giving a blank cheque – the developers must deliver on their aspirations.”