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First Sites Named for 5,000-Home Project in York

The City of York Council has revealed that 5,000 new homes could be built locally over the next 15 years, as it uses its own land to deliver much-needed housing to the market.

The council recently confirmed that it was examining new plans to reach deals with the Homes and Communities Agency and start constructing homes on its own vacant sites. The general plan is to build 5,000 new residences over the next 15 years, at the average rate of one per day. Work could start on some locations, such as the old Burnholme and Lowfield school sites, in just over a year.

Councillor Sam Lisle, housing and safer neighbourhoods executive member, said that more homes are needed in York. High local prices make it difficult, even for those earning an average wage.

Cllr Lisle said that the new agreement with HCA could help 1,000 homes get built over the next three years. If more investment is made that results in more affordable homes in York, future aspiring homeowners can get on the property ladder.

A report prepared for the ruling executive of the city council reveals that the scheme is also being regarded as a way to bring in an extra £1 million a year by building up a number of homes to rent privately as well as provide affordable housing.

Ruling councillors will be asked to give council staff the go-ahead to create business plans and examine partnership options with the HCA. They could also review ways of increasing the combination of homes to buy, rent, share ownership of, or assign for affordable housing.

 

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Rob Pearson, Homes and Communities Agency general manager, added that the group looks forward to working with the City of York council to ensure that brownfield land development becomes the preferred option for new home development in the city.

Mr Pearson said that a partnership with the council will mean that there will be a joint approach to future land purchases and providing of homes that people are desperately looking for.

Opposition Labour councillors welcomed the emphasis on housing, but said that the affordability factor will determine whether new homes help local people. Cllr David Levene, Labour housing spokesperson, said he was pleased to see that the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition was making plans to tackle the area’s housing crisis.

Mr Levene said that the real issue is about the move from genuinely affordable homes to what the government considers affordable. Even 80% of market rent is beyond many people in an expensive city like York.

He said that he awaited some real commitment to delivering viable options of an affordable home to York residents.

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