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Plans for first council homes in decades

PUBLISHED: 13:34 10 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:59 06 July 2010

Council bosses are hoping to grab a slice of government cash so they can build what would be the first new council homes in Norwich and Yarmouth for decades.

Council bosses are hoping to grab a slice of government cash so they can build what would be the first new council homes in Norwich and Yarmouth for decades.

The Government announced 47 councils across the country, which had been successful in bidding for a share of £127m to build new council homes.

In East Anglia, only Cambridge City Council put in a successful bid, but officers at Norwich City Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council are hoping they will be successful when they apply for cash through the second tranche of funding.

At a meeting of Norwich City Council's executive on Wednesday officers will present proposals to apply for around £100,000 to build 13 new council homes.

One of the homes would be in Stafford Street, in the city's Golden Triangle, and would be an “examplar” eco-home, built to a high environmental standard.

A dozen more homes would be built on a site currently occupied by garages in Bowers Avenue, Mile Cross, and would be affordable homes.

Anne Bonsor, the city council's assistant director - city development, said in her report to councillors: “The council built its last housing in the early 1990s and has been restricted in increasing numbers of housing stock since then, largely due to the constraints of building within the Housing Revenue Account.

“By bidding to this round of local authority funding, the council could be in a position to build its first new homes for nearly 20 years.”

But the council is also hoping it can build new homes through an innovative deal the authority is working on with the Homes and Communities Agency.

That programme would see £7.5m invested in Norwich to enable residential development, which could be worth £80m over the next 12 years.

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, said he was determined to see new council housing built in Norwich and said: “We are looking to get any money we can get in from the pots available, especially if it means that the money will remain in Norfolk.”

Dennis Gilbert, head of housing management at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “We are intending to bid in the second round. We have had issues with identifying land, but we hope to have done that by the deadline for applications in October.”

The Government announcement of the cash for new homes came on the same day that public spending watchdog the Audit Commission said local authorities were focusing too much on building new homes and should pay more attention to improving existing housing in their area.

Are you looking for a new home? Get the EDP for our property section every Friday or visit the Homes24 website at www.homes24.co.uk

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