New council homes are a first in two decades

editorial image

NEW council homes are to be built in Dacorum for the first time in 20 years.

Council bosses have done a deal with the government that will allow them to build 45 homes over the next three years.

And after that, Dacorum Borough Council plans to build another 30 new homes each year.

Cash is available to build new homes because of changes to complex housing rules that mean the council can keep rents and no longer has to hand cash to the government, in return for a share of the national housing debt.

Councillor Margaret Griffiths, cabinet member for housing, said: “These 45 new homes are just the start.

“We know there is a big demand for affordable housing within our borough and are determined to give more people the keys to their own front door.

“This April we take control of the way our housing service is funded and from now on we will be a proactive landlord with ambitious development plans.

“When we have completed the homes funded by the Homes and Communities Agency, we will use our own resources to build around 30 additional homes each year as well as making improvements to existing homes.”

There are currently 10,500 council homes in the borough and around 6,000 people are on the waiting list for one.

The council is also changing its housing policy so new tenancies last for five years rather than a lifetime.

Housing chiefs say there will be a ‘presumption’ that tenancies will be renewed, but critics fear that the move could create ‘unsettled communities’.

The shake-up, blamed on the shortage of council homes, does not affect existing tenants or those going into sheltered accommodation.

A consultation on the change will take place over the summer.