‘Homes for locals’ bid welcomed after building plan announced for Berkhamsted

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New council homes could be built in Berkhamsted within 18 months – bringing accommodation in the town within the reach of ordinary people.

The 26 flats and houses are expected to be built by March 2015 and will be let to people on the housing register.

Mayor of Berkhamsted Councillor Ian Reay, who represents the town on three different tiers of local government, said: “Affordable homes are very much in demand – particularly in Berkhamsted, because prices are so high.”

“It is a lovely area, surrounded by beautiful countryside with a nice atmosphere and a good buzz – and good links to the capital.”

But he said all this pushes up the cost of property, making it less affordable for young people who grew up in the town to continue to live there.

He said: “It is a bad thing that young people have to move away.

“If people want to live locally where they grew up, they should be able to live there – and these council homes are to provide for local needs.”

There are now 5,900 people waiting in the queue for council homes in Dacorum.

According to Dacorum Borough Council’s website, the average cost of renting one of its two-bedroom homes is just £370 per month – compared to £953 in the private sector.

The average house price in Dacorum is now £317,464 and the average first-time buyer is aged 31, according to figures on the website.

Berkhamsted’s new properties will be in Farm Place – a cul-de-sac which sits between the High Street and Durrants Lane.

The blueprint provides for eight one-bedroom flats, 12 two-bedroom flats and six three-bedroom houses.

The new homes will provide a cheaper, permanent home for council tenants who exercise the right-to-buy.

There will also be 37 car parking spaces and two spaces for disabled drivers included in the development.

Dacorum Borough Council had originally commissioned Aldwyck Housing Group to build the affordable homes at the site after it won a design competition.

But the borough council later chose to make the site part of its own development plan to build more than 300 council homes in Dacorum in the next eight years.

The new homes will be built by award-winning firm Hill Partnerships and will be the most energy efficient in Dacorum, the borough council recently announced.

Borough council portfolio holder for housing Margaret Griffiths said: “This development at Farm Place will provide much needed affordable homes for local people.”