New homes to be added to Council’s housing stock
At least 15 new homes are to be added to the Council’s housing stock following a decision to participate in the Government’s Local Authority Housing Fund programme.
Initially the properties will be used to provide homes for families fleeing conflict via the Ukrainian and Afghan resettlement and relocation schemes. Once there is no further need to house these families the homes will be available for other households on the Council’s housing register.
Forty percent of the funding for the properties will come from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities which has introduced a £500 million capital fund – the Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF) to support selected local authorities to provide sustainable housing for those meeting the resettlement criteria. A Council Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 14 March 2023 agreed to release £3.2m of s106 developer contributions which, together with the LAHF grant, will be used to purchase a minimum of 15 homes.
Housing for rent at social rent levels
Hugo Pound, Cabinet member for Housing and Planning, said: ‘I am very pleased that the Council is able to increase its stock of available housing for rent at social rent levels. The Government has recognised the strain on housing in the Borough and many residents’ great efforts in accommodating displaced families fleeing war and tyranny. Obviously, we hope that many of these displaced families will be able to return home in the future but it is right that, in the meantime, they are housed in good-quality family homes and not in hotels, hostels or other temporary accommodation. In the future, being able to add a further 15 properties to our list of available properties will help to reduce our housing waiting lists still further.’
Focus on five
The decision to participate in the LAHF scheme is in line with one of the Council’s Focus on Five priorities – genuinely affordable housing and social rental housing.
Tunbridge Wells borough has a strong record in supporting families fleeing conflict and has welcomed more Ukrainian guests than other districts in the county and the Council has provided homes for refugee families from other conflict areas.